RF Design Fundamentals & Wireless System Techniques - Online

Course 137

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  -  On Demand, Besser Associates Online Academy / Rick Fornes


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This course provides circuit and system designers with the essential concepts needed to work effectively with high frequency electronics. Participants gain analytical, graphical, and computer-aided techniques to analyze and optimize RF circuits in practical situations. Essential analytical tools such as S-parameters and the Smith Chart are covered.

At the system level, this course combines theory with real-life examples to provide participants with a complete foundation in understanding overall system performance metrics such as sensitivity and bit error rate. Coverage of digital communication techniques and their effects on RF circuit parameters closes the gap between traditional RF engineering design and the needs of modern communication systems.

Recordings of instructor Rick Fornes two day classroom course can now be viewed online at your convenience anywhere you have internet access. This course is composed of over 12 hours of recorded video presentation material available on-demand over a 2 month period. The class has been professionally video recorded and edited into segments that can be played back on any device that supports a web browser and Vimeo video streaming (web browser is required to enable access to the video). During the 60 day access period, you can view the recordings as often as you like. You will also be able to download a PDF of the instructor's notes, so that you can follow along with the lecture.

This course is intended for registered individual students only. Please contact us for group rates at info@besserassociates.com or 650-949-3300. Recording, copying, or re-transmission of classroom material is prohibited.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Describe RF circuit parameters and terminology.
  • State the effects of parasitics on circuit performance at RF.
  • Use graphical design techniques and the Smith Chart.
  • Match impedances and perform transformations.
  • Use performance metrics such as SNR and BER to understand system performance limitations.
  • Analyze system degradation due to RF components.
  • Develop wireless communication system budget profiles.
  • Calculate propagation lossess and link budgets.
  • Assess cost vs. performance issues.
  • Evaluate the performance of differing RF wireless system architectures.

Target Audience

Professionals required to work in high frequency domains for the first time, as well as seasoned veterans, will benefit from this comprehensive overview of practical design techniques. An electrical engineering background (BSEE or equivalent practical experience) is recommended, as well as a familiarity with complex numbers.


Part One

RF Terminology and Fundamentals
 • Overview of fundamentals • Wave parameters: frequency, amplitude, and phase • Complex impedances and admittances • The basics of propagation • Understanding dB, dBm, and RF power • Characteristic impedances • Power-flow and traveling waves • Reflection coefficient, VSWR, Return Loss • Calculating mismatch losses
Overview of Smith Charts and S-Parameters
 • The Smith Chart • Impedance and admittance transformations • Scattering (S) parameters • The difference between Small Signal and Large Signal S-parameters • Cascading building blocks using S-parameters
RF Communication System Block Diagrams
 • The Basic building blocks of different radio architectures • Understanding the functions of each building block (Receivers) - Low Noise Amplifiers - Mixers - Down converters - A/D Interfaces • Understanding the functions of each building block (Transmitters) - Predrivers and Power amplifiers - Down converters - Modulators

Part Two

RF Communication System Architectures
 • Transceiver Architectures - System Architectures and Integration Techniques - Defining System Performance Requirements - Direct Conversion Vs. Up/Down conversion - Architecture Examples
Digital Performance Requirements for RF Radio Systems
 • Why Digital • Defining Performance Standards: Bit Error Rate (BER) and Block Error rate (BLER) • Data rates, symbol rates, Eb/No and C/N ratios • The trade-offs between Digital Modulation Techniques and RF Performance
Key RF System Requirements
 • Noise figure (NF) • Sensitivity • Spurious free Dynamic range • Intermodulation distortion (IP3/IP2) • System analysis techniques using RF simulation Software