Menlo Micro and X-Microwave deliver modular RF switch design solution

1 min read

Menlo Microsystems has partnered with X-Microwave, a specialist in RF and microwave drop-in components, to deliver an X-MWblocks modular building block that means developers will be able to rapidly prototype RF systems based on Menlo Micro’s high-performance MM5130 switch.

Responsible for the “Modular Building Block System,” X-Microwave provides a complete modular building block ecosystem of RF and microwave drop-in components,

The new X-MWblocks module featuring the MM5130 switch is the first Ideal Switch offering in X-Microwave’s portfolio of modular building blocks. Designed for use in production applications, X-MWblocks can be connected together easily without solder to rapidly build RF and microwave assemblies.

The MM5130 switch has been designed to eliminate the compromises that engineers often face when it comes to using either RF mechanical relays or solid-state switches for RF designs. The MM5130 offers the best of both options in that it is able to outperform electromechanical RF relays across all application-critical metrics while offering the size, reliability and speed benefits associated with solid-state switches.

The highest density SP4T switch on the market, the MM5130 is able to handle power levels of up to 25W (CW) while operating across a frequency range from DC up to 26 GHz with an insertion loss of 1.3 dB at 18 GHz and switching speeds less than 10 µs.

“Partnering with X-Microwave will help Menlo Micro expand our customer base and extend Ideal Switch technology into new RF and microwave applications,” said Chris Giovanniello, co-founder, SVP marketing, Menlo Micro.

“Menlo Micro’s Ideal Switch technology is a welcome addition to our growing ecosystem of modular building blocks,” added John Richardson, president and founder of X-Microwave. “The MM5130-based X-MWblocks module combined with our advanced simulation tools provides customers with an easy way to simulate and prototype complex RF designs while reducing risk and speeding time to market.”

According to Menlo Micro characterization tests, the MM5130 switch offers an IP3 linearity of greater than 95 dBm, enabling significant reductions in distortion for RF systems. IP3 is a figure of merit used to determine how much distortion a switch introduces into an RF system, impacting the quality of transmitted or received signals. Enhanced IP3 performance results in size, weight, power and cost improvements as power amplifiers and other RF components in the design can be scaled back in power and size, enhancing overall system performance.

These improvements make the MM5130 switch a suitable solution for advanced RF systems including low-loss switched filter banks, tunable filters, step attenuators, RF and microwave switching in radio front-end systems, and phase shifters for beam steering and phased array antennas used in 5G networks.

High linearity means that the MM5130 can also be used for ultra-compact switch matrices and RF test and measurement applications.