RF System

Rapid system-level simulation of smart RF front ends

Modern RF systems consist of high-frequency analog electronics (the front end) and adaptive digital algorithms.

One of the primary challenges in RF system design is reducing the overall area, power, and cost for RF front ends - generally wireless transmitters and transceivers. For this reason, smart RF system design relies heavily on digital signal processing algorithms to optimize these performance factors and to calibrate and compensate for RF impairments.

Algorithms such as digital pre-distortion (DPD), automatic gain control (AGC), and adaptive filtering are an integral part of today’s communications and radar systems. These RF system algorithms need to be designed together with models of the analog/mixed-signal components and RF front ends. Rapid system-level simulation is an essential requirement to efficiently explore design trade-offs.

Spectral density (left) and constellation (right) of DVB received signal, including RF imperfections as shown in the example Wireless Digital Video Broadcasting with RF Beamforming.

In an integrated workflow, engineers use:

  • System-level simulation to build virtual testbenches and experiment with scenarios that test algorithms early, before physical prototypes are developed
  • Multidomain models at a higher level of abstraction to tune the algorithms and the RF front-end architecture for optimal performance

Modeling and simulating RF, analog, and digital systems together enables faster development and easier debugging. The simulation speed achieved with circuit envelope simulation is the key enabler to managing the complexity of today’s wireless systems.

For more on RF system design, see RF Blockset™.

Design and simulate RF systems with RF Blockset™.

See also: Simulink, RF Toolbox, MATLAB, wireless communication, software-defined radio, Phased Array System Toolbox™, Antenna Toolbox™, LTE System Toolbox™, RF Toolbox™, Communications System Toolbox