Look inside a mobile phone, or any home-entertainment control system that relies on the reception/transmission of wireless signals, and you’ll find an RF front-end, which is defined as everything between the antenna and the digital baseband system. These include filters, LNAs, and other circuits to help condition the signal received at the antenna into something ready for input into an ADC. A long-standing difficulty in the development of RF systems is that once the analog signal is digitized, further processing can be done on chips that continue to shrink in size. The same cannot be said for the front analog end; indeed, if analog chips get smaller they tend to perform less effectively.

Related: Packing More onto Smaller, Wireless Chips