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RF System Architecture and

Budget Analysis
Anurag Bhargava
Application Consultant
Agilent EEsof EDA
Agilent Technologies
Email: anurag_bhargava@agilent.com
You Tube: www.youtube.com/user/BhargavaAnurag
Blog: http://abhargava.wordpress.com
RF Architecture Design

During RF architecture design engineers determine how many,


what type, parameters, and the order of stages required to meet
system specifications

3 Coupler
IL=2 dB

or
1 2 CPL=20 dB

?
DIR=30 dB
Z0=50 ohm

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 2
The Architecture is Critical

• Architecture is the system foundation


• Poor architecture causes poor performance
• Poor architecture causes more design turns
• Poor architecture causes increased cost
• Poor architecture causes increased time to market

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 3
Traditional Method Limitations

• SPICE, linear, and harmonic balance simulators are designed


for components, not for complex system realization
• Programming spreadsheets is extremely difficult when image
noise, intermod filtering, mismatch effects and multiple paths
are considered
• Summary: traditional tools are ill-suited for analyzing RF
architectures

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 4
What is Required for RF Architecture Analysis?

Spur identification and resolution


• Identifying root causes is critical in systems with hundreds of leakage,
harmonic and intermod tones.
Noise analysis that considers the channel bandwidth
In-channel and out-of-channel intermodulation analysis
Accuracy: mismatch, phase, images, measured vs. ideal
models, etc.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 5
Typical RF System

LNA Attenuator Mixer IF Filter IF Amp

Antenna
RX Filter Demodulator

Synthesizer or PLL Buffer Amp

Switch or Duplexer

TX Filter Buffer Amp

TX Power Amplifer Mixer IF Filter Modulator

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


6
Typical RF System

How do you determine what types of


stages to use, the order to place
them, and the parameters for each
block?

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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How would you respond to the following questions?

1. How do you currently determine what and where spurious and


intermod products are being generated in the RF portions of you
design?
2. How do you identify possible leakage paths in your design?
3. Does your current method of designing wideband systems include
the effects of frequency dependencies of complex load
impedance?
4. How do you access the impact of phase noise on noise figure?
5. How do you do budget analysis in the presence of modulated
signals?
6. How do you compute noise figure of a path while other paths are
actively connected to this path?

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


8
Why was Spectrasys Developed?
• RF Architecture (or Systems design) are the titles used during
the design stage where engineers determine what types of
stages (filters, amplifiers, mixers, etc), the ordering of these
stages in the design, and their parameters.
• Cascaded equations are used during this phase.

G1 G2 G3
nf1 nf2 nf3
OP1dB1 OP1dB2 OP1dB3
OIP31 OIP32 OIP33

𝐺 = 𝐺1 × 𝐺2 × 𝐺3
𝑛𝑓2 − 1 𝑛𝑓3 − 1
𝑛𝑓𝑡𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 = 𝑛𝑓1 + +
𝐺1 𝐺1 × 𝐺2
1 1 1 1
= + +
𝑂𝐼𝑃3𝑡𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑂𝐼𝑃31 × 𝐺2 × 𝐺3 𝑂𝐼𝑃32 × 𝐺3 𝑂𝐼𝑃33
1 1 1 1
= + +
𝑂𝑃1𝑑𝐵𝑡𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑂𝑃1𝑑𝐵1 × 𝐺2 × 𝐺3 𝑂𝑃1𝑑𝐵2 × 𝐺3 𝑂𝑃1𝑑𝐵3

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


9
Why was Spectrasys Developed?: Continued

How do you use


cascaded equations on
this?

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


10
Why was Spectrasys Developed?: Continued

It would be nice if every


design was two port AND just
contained behavioral models.
But its not!

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


11
SPARCA

These needs led to the development of the SPARCA method,


an acronym for Signal Propagation And Root Cause Analysis.

• New method developed in 2002


• Based in the frequency domain
• Bilateral signal flow of all paths
• Magnitude and phase modeling (vector)
• Channel concepts integrated into the method

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 12
How SPARCA Works

Signal generation and propagation:


• All signal sources and noise sources propagate through all paths to all nodes
• Harmonic and intermod products are generated by non-linear models and
propagate to all nodes
Measurements:
• Power and noise are each is integrated across the channel bandwidth
• In-channel and adjacent channel measurements are calculated from the spectrums
at each node
Imperfections modeled:
• Devices are bilateral
• The true filtered and non-flat transfer function including phase is modeled
• Mismatch, reflections, and reverse propagation are accurately modeled

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 13
SPARCA Method

SPARCA does not replace other analysis methods (except


perhaps spreadsheets), it complements them. It is optimized for
RF architecture design.

Advantages • Identifies root causes


• Handles multiple paths
• More accurate than ideal model and scalar
methods
• Handles more signals & tones than other methods
• Handles channel concepts
• Integrates well with other software and lab tools

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 14
Example: Aviation Band Downconverter

RF BPF
FLO=105 MHz IFAMP1 IFAMP2
FHI=139 MHz G=9 dB G=20 dB
N=4 RF Mixer NF=3 dB NF=3 dB Detector
CL=8 dB CL=8 dB BASEBAND:
R=0.1 dB OP1DB=25 dBm OP1DB=30 dBm
LO=7 dBm LO=23 dBm 0.95 to 1.45 MHz

1 5 6 16 9 10 17 7 4
(1) R I R I (4)
L L
13 3
RF: 108 to 136 MHz RFAMP BASEBAND AMP
IF BPF
G=?9 dB G=46 dB
LO ATTN FLO=21.45 MHz (3)
NF=2 dB NF=6 dB
L=6 dB FHI=22.45 MHz
OP1DB=15 dBm BFO: 20.75 MHz OP1DB=36 dBm
IL=2 dB
2
(2) LO: 86.3 to 114.3 MHz

The analyzer uses a tunable 1st LO to convert 500 KHz segments


of the aviation band to 0.95 to 1.45 MHz for baseband processing.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 15
Simple Cascade Noise Figure

In this equation block, noise figure cascade


formula have been entered much like could
be programmed into a spreadsheet. This is
being done to illustrate the errors introduced
by spreadsheet system analysis.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 16
Results of the Cascade Calculation
RF BPF
FLO=105 MHz IFAMP1 IFAMP2
FHI=139 MHz G=9 dB G=20 dB
N=4 RF Mixer NF=3 dB NF=3 dB Detector
CL=8 dB CL=8 dB BASEBAND:
R=0.1 dB OP1DB=25 dBm OP1DB=30 dBm
LO=7 dBm LO=23 dBm 0.95 to 1.45 MHz

1 5 6 16 9 10 17 7 4
(1) R I R I (4)
L L
13 3
RF: 108 to 136 MHz RFAMP BASEBAND AMP
IF BPF
G=?9 dB G=46 dB
LO ATTN FLO=21.45 MHz (3)
NF=2 dB NF=6 dB
L=6 dB FHI=22.45 MHz
OP1DB=15 dBm BFO: 20.75 MHz OP1DB=36 dBm
IL=2 dB
2
(2) LO: 86.3 to 114.3 MHz

Here the block diagram of the downconverter


is repeated along with the resulting cascade
noise figure after each stage in the
downconverter. The resulting noise figure at
the baseband output is 5.28 dB.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 17
Results by Spectral Propagation

Shown at the left is a level diagram in SPECTRASYS. This


level diagram depicts the cascade noise figure in red, the
stage noise figure in blue and the percentage noise figure in
green. Numeric cascade noise figure data after each stage is
also given in the final column in the table at the lower right.
Notice that the noise figure after the final amplifier computed
using SPARCA is 7.83 dB, rather than the 5.28 dB computed
using classical cascade NF equations. The popular and
classical formula is in error by 2.55 dB!

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 18
Source of Noise Figure Error
What is the source of this error?
• Mixer noise figure assumes noise only exists in the desired signal channel. In reality, noise exists in
both the desired and image channel. Therefore, the true noise figure of a mixer is 3.01 dB higher than
the specified noise figure.

Why not just specify the mixer noise figure 3 dB higher than is normally done?
• Because in a system with gain and an image filter preceding the mixer, the effective noise figure of the
mixer approaches the specified value. In that case, using the higher noise figure would give the wrong
result.

The fact of the matter is, accurate assessment of system noise figure requires noise propagation analysis.
If the position of the input filter and the preamp are changed and the loss of the input filter was set to
zero. Simple cascade analysis would predict the same noise figure for both systems. In reality, the
difference with a 30 dB preamp with 8 dB noise figure is 2.7 dB. Approaching 3 dB. But look what
happens when the noise figure of the preamp is reduced to 2 dB. The difference is then 1.4 dB. Again,
accurate noise analysis requires noise propagation techniques.

In a similar way, spreadsheet analysis of intermodulation and dynamic range are also
flawed.
Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 19
Measurements

Different applications require different forms of output data. In


the next few slides, brief definitions and examples of
SPECTRASYS output data are provided.

There are over 85 built-in measurements.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 20
Measurements: Gain & Signals in the Channel

Cascaded Gain
Cascaded Gain (All Signals)
Channel Frequency
Channel Power
Channel Power (Desired)
Gain
Gain (All Signals)
Total Node Power

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 21
Example: Gain & Signal Level Diagram

Gain & Signal


50 130

DB[GAIN]
40 DB[CGAIN] 100

CF (MHz), DBM[CP], DBM[DCP]


CF (MHz)
DB[GAIN], DB[CGAIN]

DBM[CP]
30 70
DBM[DCP]

20 40

10 10

0 -20

-10 -50
1 5 6 R
L
I 16 9 10 17 R
L
I 7 8 4
Node

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 22
Measurements: Noise

Added Noise
Carrier to Noise Ratio
Cascaded NF
Channel Noise Power
Image Channel Noise Power
Image Noise Rejection Ratio
Minimum Detectable Signal
Percent Noise Figure
Stage NF

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 23
Example: Noise

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 24
Short Video

Removed due to size of


the Video……
Intermodulation

Cascaded intermod equations are NOT used by SPECTRASYS. Just as with


noise, cascade intermod equations are flawed because they:
• Assume interfering signals are not filtered and maintain the same gain as the
desired signal through all cascaded stages
• Assume all stages are perfectly matched
• Assume two equal tones
• Assume infinite reverse isolation

Signal propagation generates intermod signals as they appear in real


systems. Signals are not limited to two tones. All intermods are propagated
through the system using the system transfer function. Consequently,
intermod measurements are accurate for filtered and non-ideal systems.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 26
Measurements: Intermodulation & Compression

Cascaded Gain (3rd IM) Stage Output 2nd IM


Channel Frequency (Tone) Stage Output 3rd IM
Channel Power (Desired 3rd IM) Stage Output Saturation Power
Channel Power (Tone) 3rd Order Intercept (Input)
Gain (3rd IM) 3rd Order Intercept (Output)
Gain (All Signals) 3rd IM Power (Propagated)
Percent 3rd IM 3rd IM Power (Generated)
Stage Output 1 dB Compression 3rd IM Power (Total)

Page 27 Spectral Domain Techniques


Example: Intermodulation & Compression

Intermodulation & Compression


30 200

24 160

18 120

DBM[GIM3P], DB[SDR]
12 80
DBM[IIP3], PRIM3

6 40

0 0

-6 DBM[IIP3] -40
DBM[GIM3P]
-12 DB[SDR] -80
PRIM3
-18 -120

-24 -160

-30 -200
1 5 6 R
L
I 16 9 10 17 R
L
I 7 8 4
Node

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 28
Measurements: Dynamic Range

Spurious Free Dynamic Range


Stage Dynamic Range

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 29
Example: Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range
120 -120

90 -126
DB[SFDR], DBM[IIP3]

DB[SFDR]
60 DBM[IIP3] -132

DBM[MDS]
DBM[MDS]

30 -138

0 -144

-30 -150
1 5 6 R
L
I 16 9 10 17 R
L
I 7 8 4
Node

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 30
Measurements: Out of Channel

Adjacent Channel Power


Adjacent Channel Frequency
Channel Frequency (Offset)
Channel Power (Offset)
Image Frequency
Image Channel Noise Power
Image Noise Rejection Ratio
Mixer Image Channel Power
Mixer Image Rejection Ratio

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 31
Phase & Complex Models
The SPECTRASYS SPARCA simulator propagates signals using complex
multi-port transfer functions for the system.
• Phase data is retained and utilized
• Circuit models and schematics may be mixed with system models in the schematic
• The effects of mismatch are simulated
• Bilateral signal flow is simulated
COUPLER1_1 COUPLER1_2 COUPLER1_3
IL=1 dB RF_PHASE_1 IL=0.5 dB RF_DELAY_2 IL=0.5 dB
CPL=10 dB A=?10° CPL=24 dB T=0.53 ns CPL=10 dB
[DIR=30 dB] [Z0=50 Ω] [DIR=30 dB] [Z0=50 Ω] DIR=30 dB

1 4 5 11 6 8 8 10 10 2
(1) (2)

15 7 3
ATTN_VAR_1 RFAMP_1 RF_PHASE_2
IL=1 dB G=17 dB A=?10°
L=?0.25 dB NF=8 dB [Z0=50 Ω]
OPSAT=50 dBm 7

9 13 12 3

15 14 14

SPLIT2_1 ATTN_VAR_2 RFAMP_2


[IL=3.1 dB] IL=1 dB G=38 dB
RF_DELAY_1
ISO=100 dB L=?0.5 dB NF=8 dB
T=0.27 ns
PH3=0° OPSAT=43 dBm
[Z0=50 Ω]

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 32
X-Parameter Models are Supported

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 33
The Link to ADS

Schematics can be exported to ADS for further simulation.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 34
Digital / DSP & RF System Cosimulation
Modulation and Spectrasys (SystemVue)

The RF Link part is used in a


data flow schematic to point
to a Spectrasys schematic.

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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How RF Impairments affect Modulation Quality

Tunable Impairment List:


Gain Imbalance
Phase Imbalance
LO to RF Isolation
Noise Figure
Phase Noise
ADC (# of bits, clock, ref voltage)

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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Gain Imbalance effects on Constellation

Blue – Balanced Gain (Square)


Red – Imbalanced Gain

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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Phase Imbalance effects on Constellation

Blue – Balanced Phase (Square)


Red – Imbalanced Phase

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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LO to RF Isolation (DC Offset) effects on
Constellation

Blue – High Isolation (Square)


Red – Lower Isolation

The LO leaks into the RF and


appears as another RF input
signal

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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LO to RF Isolation (DC Offset) effects on
Constellation

Blue – High Isolation (Square)


Red – Lower Isolation

The RF can also leak into the


LO and this is used as another
LO signal

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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Noise effects on Constellation

Blue – No Noise (Square)


Red – Thermal and Phase Noise

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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Modulation Analysis Software (works with
Hardware)

Copyright © 2012 Agilent Technologies


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Summary

A new system simulation technique referred to as Spectral


Propagation and Root Cause Analysis (SPARCA) offers a new
set of tools for the optimization of system architectures
• Improved accuracy over conventional cascade analysis
• Rapid root cause discovery using spectral component display at any node
• Wide set of built-in as well as user specified measurements
• Complex, bilateral and mismatch analysis
• Integration of other spectral domain simulation and synthesis tools

SPARCA is optimized for system architecture development and


saves multiple architecture and component design turns.

Spectral Domain Techniques

Page 44
Looking Ahead..!!
Kindly send your requests on what we can cover in our future webinars to:

India:

Mukul Pareek

Marketing Engineer

Agilent Technologies India Pvt. Ltd

Email: mukul_pareek@agilent.com

Elsewhere:

Please contact your local Agilent representative.


Resources to help you..….

• Subscribe to the Blog: http://abhargava.wordpress.com to receive latest news, tips &


tricks on RF design and industry news..
• Subscribe to the You Tube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/BhargavaAnurag to
see various tutorial videos and learn the concepts better
• Agilent EEsof Home Page: www.eesof.com
• For software evaluation license or for any other queries:

– E-mail: tm_india@agilent.com
– Toll Free Number: 1800-11-2929
Q&A