Intensifying Technology Competition in the Acoustic Wave Filter Market

An article by Stéphane Elisabeth, System Plus Consulting, and Cédric Malaquin, Yole Développement (Yole) for Microwave Journal.

Until now, Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) and Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW)  filters were suited for distinct frequency bands. SAW filters are more suited to low frequencies and BAW filters for high. As Yole Développement has shown in its description of the state-of-the-arttechnology, SAW filters were well adopted in the low frequency range, from 0.4 to 1.2 GHz. In the middle (from 1.2 to 2.2 GHz), both SAW and BAW filters were struggling in the market. State-of-the-art BAW filters offered better performance whereas SAW filters were cheaper with acceptable performance. For high frequency applications (from 2.2 to 6.0 GHz), BAW filters were the leaders.

Nowadays, this allocation is no longer the standard in the market. Indeed, several companies have developed technologies that could disrupt the filter market. Several trends can be observed:

  • Asian based companies are offering their own SAW technology which is cost effective compared to competitors.
  • US based companies mainly offer high performances SAW filters .
  • Market leaders, with the development of new technology, are increasing the frequency range of well know devices such as SAW and FBAR-BAW filters.
  • With the rise of 5G and WiFi6E, almost all market leaders are looking for BAW solutions
  • In the middle  frequency ranges, SAW companies are looking for cost effective solutions with high performance  (Thermo-Compensated SAW (TC-SAW) filter, Thin-Film SAW (TF-SAW), …).

In this article, we will describe the acoustic filter technology currently available on the market with costs for both SAW and BAW devices. This will be followed by an overview of the upcoming technology, including structure and costs, where available, in order to position for the future… Full article