Agilent Technologies claims its latest Advanced Design System, the ADS 2001, supports front-to-back RF IC design and offers improvements in simulation capacity and ease of use
ADS 2001 links to Cadence Design Systems Inc's EDA environment and provides a complete design flow for RF IC design, said Jim Tabuchi, director of marketing at Agilent's design tools group. It includes models and design kits from major RF IC foundries, he said, and provides greater simulation speed, capacity and ease of use.
Traditional RF design tool users have included microwave engineers designing monolithic microwave integrated circuits. But new users include wireless and wireline equipment makers looking at high-frequency effects in advanced communications systems such as 10Gbit/s Ethernet and OC-768 (40Gbit/s) optical networks. These communications systems are demanding larger, more complex RF ICs, said Charles Plott, ADS product-marketing manager.
The ADS tools already include design libraries for 5GHz wireless LANs, and the various 2.5G and 3G wireless communications standards. The new version includes access to foundry models and design kits, including those from Anadigics, Atmel, Austria Mikro Systeme, IBM, Maxim, Philips, RF Micro Devices, STMicroelectronics, TriQuint, TSMC and UMC.
Because RF design depends on ultratight control of physical parameters, including device geometries, RF simulation has often required cumbersome extracting of electrical characteristics, feeding them to a Spice simulator and hoping for quick convergence. But the company claims the latest version of ADS improves simulation capacity and makes the simulator easier to use. The simulator will accommodate designs with thousands of active devices, Agilent said. ADS 2001 also includes support for VerilogXL and HDL co-simulation, as well as the Ptolemy system-level simulator.
Convergence, an issue for nonlinear designs, is now two to 16 times faster for designs with more than 1,000 transistors, Agilent said. Convergence improves with the use of what Plott called "preconditioners" for nonlinear circuit elements, and simulation speed improves by dynamic allocation of memory and multiprocessor resources. The simulator will automatically find the fastest available server on a network, shaving simulation times by a factor of 15, Plott said.
For novice RF IC designers, ADS 2001's ease-of-use features include an electronic lab notebook that creates Web pages for design documentation, a guided simulation user interface that gives designers a "fast start" and DesignGuide Developer's Studio, which helps design experts encapsulate their expertise into ADS. DesignGuide offers a way to share RF application knowledge with colleagues, novice designers and other business associates.
ADS 2001 is available now for Unix systems and for PCs running Windows 98, 2000 or NT 4.0. Prices start at $8,080.