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Archive for February, 2013

End-to-end Design and Realization of an X-band Transmission Analyzer

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013


The X-band frequency range has been designated for critical military and public safety applications such as satellite communications, radar, terrestrial communications and networking, and space communications. It is important to ensure that these signals deliver quality, reliable, and secure communications. This application note describes the design and realization of a complex X-band transmission analyzer for use in real-time material testing.

The purpose of this analyzer is to gather complex-valued X-band transmission coefficients at high update rates of greater than 100,000 measurements per second. This note describes how manufacturing costs were minimized by integrating the many RF components in the device onto a single printed circuit board (PCB), how coupling issues between the RX and TX paths caused by the requirement for high dynamic range were addressed, and how EM simulator based tuning was used for the numerous distributed elements on the board to ensure optimal performance.


Design and Optimization of a Board-to-Chip Transition

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013


Dr. John Dunn
AWR EM Technologist

3D electromagnetic (EM) simulators are commonly used to help design board-to-chip transitions. AWR now makes life easier for circuit designers with the introduction of Analyst, a full featured, 3D EM finite element method (FEM) simulator. The key advantage of Analyst™ over other available 3D simulators is its tight integration within the Microwave Office® design environment, AWR’s circuit design and simulation platform. This application note highlights the unique features of Analyst by demonstrating the optimization of the transition from a board-to- -chip signal path. The example shows how the ability to access Analyst from within in the Microwave Office environment saves designers time and provides ready access to powerful layout and simulation tools that are not available in typical circuit design tools.


Understanding and Correctly Predicting Critical Metrics for Wireless RF Links

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Understanding and correctly predicting cellular, radar, or satellite RF link performance early in the design cycle has become a key element in product success. The requirements of today’s complex, high performance wireless devices are driving designers to assess critical measurements—noise figure (NF), 1dB gain compression (P1dB), third order intermodulation distortion versus output power (IM3dBc), and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)—long before manufacturing begins. Traditional modeling methods such as rules of thumb and spreadsheet calculations (Friis equations) give limited insight on the full performance of an RF link in next-generation wireless products. This white paper highlights the advantages of using specialized RF system simulation software to accurately predict critical metrics for wireless RF links.

Figure 1: Traditional use of the spreadsheet as a system tool.

Simulation Software—A Novel Approach
Traditionally designers have used spreadsheets (Figure 1) to do calculations such as cascaded noise figure, P1db, compression point, and/or third order intercept point of an RF link. The advantages of using a spreadsheet are two-fold: data entry is simple and spreadsheet software is readily available. As wireless devices become more and more pervasive and complex, the limitations of spreadsheets become more apparent. In other words, spreadsheet responses are based on standard equations and therefore do not typically account for mismatch between components or noise at image frequency. In addition, spreadsheets do not normally support data files such as S2p, spur tables, etc., nor do they support yield analysis or optimization—techniques that are becoming increasingly important in order to produce high performance devices at a competitive price.


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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