Radio Systems: RF Transceiver Design from Antenna to Bits and Back

Course 241

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 Sep 25-Sep 29, 2017 -  San Jose, CA / Waleed Khalil

$2,095 until 08/29/2017, then $2,295

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Over the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in the complexity of RF technology to meet the growing demand for fixed and mobile communication systems. Moving forward, we expect this trend to continue with emerging cellular and wireless standards employing complex modulation schemes and occupying higher bandwidth while emphasizing stringent spectrum efficiency requirements. These advances call for employing sophisticated design principles at both the circuit and system levels and hence the need for a comprehensive understanding of the radio modem.

This course is intended for design, application and test engineers as well as technicians interested in learning about the system aspect of the radio design space covering the entire signal chain from antenna to bits and back. The aim is to apply intuitive system design methods to dissect the radio modem at RF, analog and digital domains with emphasis on: a) physical understanding of the interaction between components and different radio architectures and b) quantitative performance evaluation using simple hand calculations and simulation. Throughout the course, students will be exposed not only to theoretical analysis but also to concrete examples of radio architectures from existing commercial systems (LTE, WCDMA, GSM, WLAN, Bluetooth, etc.). Emerging technologies of interest to the wireless industry such LTE and 5G will also be elucidated in the context of their impact on radio design. Towards the end of this course, students will perform various exercises using a commercial system design tool to analyze transmitter and receiver end-to-end system metrics such as bit error rate (BER), error vector magnitude (EVM), phase noise, spectrum emission, etc.

Students are encouraged to bring their laptop computers to class. CAD software will be used to simulate design examples. The design software available for use in this public course is from National Instruments (formerly AWR).

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Gain in-depth understanding of the different block-level specifications and impairments (e.g. noise, P1dB, IIP3, IIP2, gain, bandwidth, phase noise and spurs) and how to relate them to system level performance metrics (e.g. BER, EVM, modulation type, blocker performance, sensitivity and selectivity)
  • Traverse between block level specifications and overall system performance and backwards
  • Analyze and abstract (at block level) the most critical blocks in today’s RF modem (e.g. low noise amplifier, mixer, voltage-controlled oscillator, power amplifier and analog and digital baseband circuits such A/Ds, D/As and filters).
  • Evaluate the impact of different impairments in radio front-ends on performance, including interference, different noise sources, circuit nonlinearity and phase noise.
  • Understand the trade-offs between block-level performance, choice of radio architecture and overall system performance (e.g. power, area and cost) in relation to a given communication standard
  • Learn the major aspects of the digital signal processing chain at both the modulation and demodulation ends
  • Use simple back-of-the-envelope calculations and understanding of path loss and fading to predict RF system’s performance in terms of link budget and link margin.
  • Evaluate thru simulation (at block level) various modem design aspects involving RF, analog and digital impairments.
  • Traverse across legacy wireless standards (e.g. BT, WiFi, GSM,..) and emerging LTE, 5G, MIMO standards and tie back to the impact on radio hardware.
  • Tie between system level performance parameters and test equipment specifications
  • >More…

Target Audience

RF and baseband IC engineers, system architects, test engineers, product engineers and technicians. Technical managers who would like to get exposure to RF system technology


Day One

RF Basics
 • dB units (dB, dBm, dBW, dBV, dBHz, dBK and dBc) • voltage and power gain • transmission line properties (RL and VSWR) • S-parameters • Matching and power transfer • amplifiers and attenuators • cascaded gain
Radio Propagation
 • free space line of sight (LOS) propagation • atmospheric losses • NLOS propagation • multipath and fading • delay spread vs. Doppler spread • path loss calculation
 • antenna types • circuit model • antenna parameters - impedance, efficiency, bandwidth, pattern, beam-width, directivity and gain

Day Two

 • noise sources • noise in passive networks • noise representation in time and frequency domains • noise figure • cascaded noise figure analysis • sensitivity • link budget • combining noise sources • spectrum analyzer • attenuator NF
 • harmonic generation vs. intermodulation • 2nd order distortion - single tone and two tone analyses and filtering • 3rd order distortion - single tone and two tone analyses and filtering • gain compression • receiver desensitization and blocking • calculations - P1dB - IM2 - IM3 - IP3 - Cascaded IIP3 - spurious free dynamic range (SFDR)

Day Three

 • selectivity vs. sensitivity • mixer types • block vs. channelized conversion • the image problem
 • complex vs. real signals • properties of complex signals • frequency • phase and time representation of complex signals • noise types • frequency and time domain representation of AWGN

Day Four

 • channel parameters and capacity limits • constellation diagrams • IQ and polar representation • quadrature modulation • analog modulation types - AM, FM and PM • digital modulation schemes - ASK, OOK,BPSK, QPSK, QAM, BFSK • noise performance • spectrum limitation • digital pulse shaping • ISI • spectrum efficiency • raised and root-raised cosine filtering • Gaussian filter • digital modulation - step-by-step - ADC and DAC limitations
Aerial Access
 • multiple access vs. duplexing • time and frequency duplexing • multiple access techniques - FDMA, TDMA, CDMA • Multi carrier modulation • OFDM • mulit-carrier • carrier aggregation • MIMO systems types • emerging LTE and 5G standards

Day Five

Phase Noise
 • phase noise vs. jitter • phase noise definition • PSD of voltage and phase signals • phase noise measurement techniques • RMS phase error and EVM • Impact of RMS phase error on BER • Impact of far-out phase noise on receivers and transmitters
Transceiver Architectures
 • Heterodyne receiver • image reject filter, image reject receiver, image rejection ratio • Homodyne receiver • quadrature mixing and DC offset • transmitter architectures • transmitter performance parameters (spectrum mask, ACI, EVM)
Transceivers Case Studies
 • cellular radio evolution and frequency bands • transmit and receive impairment case studies