How can ADI's devices covering the full spectrum simplify wireless communication design?
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How can ADI's devices covering the full spectrum simplify wireless communication design?

Posted Date: 2024-01-15

Wireless technology plays a key role in today's communication systems and has gradually become the core of emerging technologies such as smart homes, intelligent robots, autonomous driving and new medical equipment. At the recently held EDICON 2020, ADI not only brought several latest wireless communication system design demos, but also gave a wonderful speech by Mercy Chen, ADI's RF application manager, to tell the audience the in-depth knowledge of different bandwidth communication application scenarios and radio technology. connect.

The development history of wireless communication technology and new challenges in semiconductor materials and processes

According to Mercy, the history of wireless communications from 1G to 5G is not long. The world's first generation wireless communication system was born in the 1980s. It was a cellular wireless phone system based on analog technology, with "Big Brother" mobile phones as the typical example. By the second generation of GSM, the bandwidth increased to 200KHz. The third generation WCDMA is about 5MHz, and the fourth generation LTE reaches 20MHz. The current fifth-generation mobile communication technology already has Sub-6GHz channels with a bandwidth of 100M, and subsequent microwave 5G may even reach around 1GHz. It is not difficult to find that communication products are replaced from generation to generation, the bandwidth is getting wider and wider, and the data rate requirements for wireless communication are getting higher and higher. The bandwidth support capabilities of all wireless products also need to be continuously increased.

In today's life, wireless communication applications are ubiquitous, and their standard protocols are also in full bloom, such as the NB-IoT standard for cellular communication, the Bluetooth standard, the ZigBee standard, the WIFI standard and other communication protocols. According to the different bandwidth requirements of application scenarios, wireless communication applications can be divided into narrowband applications, broadband applications and ultra-wideband (UBW) applications.

Mercy further pointed out that with the continuous development of wireless communication technology, circuit applications from low frequency to ultra-high frequency are becoming more and more widespread, requiring different device characteristics and facing different challenges in the selection of semiconductor material processes. For example, silicon is the most mature material used in the semiconductor industry. Traditionally, transistors made of silicon mostly use BJT or CMOS. Since silicon material does not have a semi-insulating substrate, and the gain of the component itself is low, it is difficult to apply it in high frequency bands. In the manufacturing of wireless communication ICs, it is necessary to further improve its high-frequency electrical properties. In addition to improving the material structure to improve component performance, processes such as trench isolation must also be used to improve the isolation and Q value between circuits. In this way, The manufacturing process will be more complex, and the defect rate and cost will also increase significantly. Therefore, currently, mid- and low-frequency radio frequency module devices, such as mixers, modulators, demodulators, etc., are mostly based on the Si BiCMOS process with low noise, fast electron movement, and high integration. A silicon dioxide layer is embedded under the silicon surface of the SOI substrate. Compared with bulk silicon devices, this structure can greatly reduce leakage current and power consumption. It has obvious performance advantages and is very suitable for radio frequency module controllers. application.

Because the electron mobility of GaAs is much higher than that of silicon, it uses a special process. In the early days, it was a MESFET metal semiconductor field effect transistor, which later evolved into HEMT, pHEMT, and currently it is HBT. HBT is a gallium arsenide component that does not require a negative power supply. Its power density, current driving capability and linearity exceed that of FET. In addition, it can operate with a single power supply, thus simplifying circuit design and subsystem implementation. It is very suitable for radio frequency and intermediate frequency transceivers. The development of modules and circuits such as high-power, high-efficiency, high-linearity microwave amplifiers.

It is not difficult to see that to solve the size, power consumption and cost challenges of various wireless communication applications, we must start with hardware and system design. Mercy said that for ADI, it has the ability to provide full-spectrum solutions and can support the spectrum range from 0GHz to 110GHz, and it has absolute say in the field of wireless design. The complete product series can also support customer-related product development, and for different bandwidth application scenarios, several of ADI's latest products also reflect how systematic microwave RF R&D experience is integrated into its unique innovative design.

Perfect layout, ADI wireless communication technology solutions cover all aspects

High Dynamic Range RF Transceiver Perfectly Matched for Narrowband Applications

Narrowband applications require the use of multiple amplifiers to cover different frequency bands, which means more external passive components because each amplifier needs to be biased from a different power supply. Using multiple narrowband amplifiers means more bias circuits and low-dropout regulators are needed, which increases system cost, component count, and complexity. Higher complexity means reduced reliability and potentially longer equipment life. short.

The ADRV9002 is the industry's first high-performance, highly integrated transceiver IC that operates from 30 MHz to 6 GHz and is capable of processing narrowband or wideband signals from 12 kHz to 40 MHz. Designed for demanding high dynamic range (150dBc/Hz) and linear applications, the device can interpret and absorb useful RF signals in the presence of large blockers. The transmitter provides the highest linearity and output power with the lowest noise floor for optimal transmitter signal purity and range. "The ADRV9002's unique system features and power-performance trade-off configuration make it suitable for power-sensitive market segments and applications," said Mercy.

Small form factor, low power wideband RF transceiver for base station applications

ADI broadband amplifiers were first designed for wireless communication infrastructure, such as macro base stations and small stations, and later extended to relay stations and IoT gateways, including small stations, micro stations, etc. In recent years, ADI's wideband transceiver series has continued to introduce new ones, basically every year, and has successively launched AD9371/9375, ADRV9008/9, and ADRV9026. Each generation has stronger performance and wider bandwidth.

ADRV9026 is ADI's fourth generation broadband RF transceiver. It is a highly integrated, compact and low-power 4T4R solution with a small size and supports TDD and FDD applications. It has a 16Gbps JESD204B/JESD204C digital interface and is suitable for cellular base stations to send and receive signals. The BTS remote radio unit (RRU) meets the high-performance requirements of cellular infrastructure applications such as massive multiple-input multiple-output (m-MIMO), small cell base stations, and large-scale 3G/4G/5G systems. It supports up to 200MHz receiving bandwidth, covering frequencies from 650MHz to 6GHz, with a maximum observation receiver/transmitter frequency synthesis bandwidth of 450MHz, for multi-chip phase synchronization of all local oscillators and baseband clocks. “The ADRV9026 transceiver consumes 50% less power than previous generations, enabling increased radio density to support more antennas and supporting Open Radio Access Networks (ORAN) at lower cost and system power. ) small base station design. The transceiver adopts a common platform design for 3G/4G/5G systems, which helps reduce the cost and complexity of many applications. Its flexible design also supports modular architecture to achieve scalable radio solutions. ” Mercy stressed in her speech.

Another upgrade in call capacity and data throughput

Ultra-wideband wireless communication signals occupy an extremely wide frequency band and can share spectrum resources with other communication systems. The power spectrum can also be extremely low so as not to interfere with other communication systems. It is a hot topic in the field of short-distance wireless communication, such as smart phones. Transportation, fire protection, defense communications, etc., have huge research value and market prospects. ADI's mixed-signal front-end (MxFE™) RF data converter platform addresses the needs of 5G test and measurement equipment, broadband cable video streaming, multi-antenna phased array radar systems, and other broadband applications in low-Earth orbit satellite networks. The platform combines high-performance analog and digital signal processing capabilities to allow manufacturers to install multi-band radios in the same footprint as single-band radios, enabling 3x the talk capacity of today's 4G LTE base stations.

For example, the AD9081 and AD9082 MxFE devices integrate 8 and 6 RF data converters respectively, and are manufactured using 28 nm CMOS process technology. Both achieve the industry's widest instantaneous signal bandwidth, due to reducing the number of frequency conversion stages and relaxing filters. requirements, thereby simplifying hardware design. These higher-integration devices address the space constraints faced by wireless device designers by reducing chip count, resulting in a 60 percent reduction in printed circuit board (PCB) area compared to other devices. The new MxFE platform also enables wireless operators to add more antennas to their cell towers to meet the higher radio density and data rate requirements of emerging mmWave 5G.

Using radio frequency and microwave technology to work with customers to surpass all possibilities

In order to achieve low power consumption, small size and high reliability transmission of wireless communications under various frequency bandwidths, especially the three basic performance requirements of full spectrum access, high frequency band and even millimeter wave transmission, and high spectral efficiency, all require device raw materials and manufacturing. Process and performance indicators have higher requirements. A few solution providers like ADI have 'full spectrum' capabilities, and their layout across the entire radio frequency, microwave, and millimeter wave spectrum can meet applications in different scenarios. In addition, long-term and lasting R&D experience will also enable ADI to work with partners to explore new opportunities in more fields of application in the future.


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