The following is excerpted from Chapter 8 from a new edition of the book, RF Circuit Design, 2e by Christopher Bowick. (If you order a copy of this book before March 30, 2008 you can receive additional 20% off. Visit www.newnespress.com or call 1-800-545-2522 and use code 91603. )
Click here for "What's in an RF Front End?"
Click here for "Understand Radio Architectures, Part 1"
Click here for "Radio Architectures, Pt 2: Receivers, LOs, and Mixers"
Click here for "Radio Architectures, Pt 3: Intermodulation and Intercept Points"
Click here for "Radio Architectures, Pt 4: Sensitivity, Noise, Front End Amps"
Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) are commonly used in receivers for wireless applications for either IF or baseband signal sampling. The choice of ADC is generally determined by the rest of the receiver architecture, and can be affected by the selectivity of the filters, the dynamic range afforded by the frontend amplifiers, and the bandwidth and type of modulation to be processed.
For example, the level or dynamic range of signals expected to be presented to the ADC will dictate the bit resolution needed for the converter. For example, in a double-downconversion receiver architecture developed for broadband wireless access (BWA) applications using the IEEE 802.16WiMAX standard, IF sampling can be performed with a 12-b ADC.
For cases where a single downconversion approach, with a subsequent higher IF, is used, a higher-resolution, 14-b converter is recommended in order to compensate for the less efficient
selectivity of the single-conversion receiver and to avoid ADC saturation in the presence of high-level interference signals.
Along with its input bandwidth (which should accommodate the highest IF of interest for a particular receiver design) and bit resolution, an ADC can also be specified in terms of its spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR). The ADC's sensitivity is influenced by wideband noise, including spurious noise, and often can be improved through the use of an anti-aliasing filter at the input of the ADC to eliminate sampling of noise and high-frequency spurious products.
To avoid aliasing when converting analog signals to the digital domain, the ADC sampling frequency must be at least twice the maximum frequency of the input analog signal. This minimum sampling conditionderived from Nyquist's theorem
must be met in order to capture enough information about the input analog waveform to reconstruct it accurately.
In addition to selecting an ADC for IF or baseband sampling, the choice of buffer amplifier to feed the input of the converter can affect the performance possible with a given sampling scheme. The buffer amplifier should provide the rise/fall time and transient response to preserve the modulation information of the IF or baseband signals, while also providing the good amplitude
accuracy and flatness needed to provide signal amplitudes at an optimum input level to the ADC for sampling.
Now let's consider an example using lowpass signals where the desired bandwidth goes from 0 (DC) to some maximum frequency ( fMAX). The Nyquist criterion states that the sampling frequency needs to be at least 2fMAX. So, if the ADC is sampling at a clock rate of 20 MHz, this would imply that the maximum frequency it can accept is 10 MHz. But then how could an FM radio broadcast signal (say, at 91.5 MHz) be converted using such a relatively low sampling rate?
Here's where the design of the RF front end becomes critical. The RF receiver must support an intermediate frequency (IF) architecture, which translates a range of relatively high input frequencies to a lower-frequency range output (at the IF band). Using the example of the FMradio, with a tunable bandwidth of 88 to 108 MHz, then the receiver's front end must process signals over that tunable bandwidth to a lower IF range of no higher than 10 MHz. Such a design would ensure that the previously mentioned 20-MHzADCcould handle these IF signals without aliasing.
Case Study: Communication Receiver
In this series we have introduced the design architectures common in most RF front-end receivers. We have defined a number of key parameters used to characterize the response of a receiver, including sensitivity and selectivity.
Now let's see how all of the concepts and parameters fit into the development of a typical modern communications transceiver. Such a communication front-end/back-end could be used to support a common US air interface like second generation (2G), narrow-band Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) or third-generation (3G), multimedia enabled wideband CDMA (W-CDMA) systems. By changing the RF tuning, this same architecture could be used for dual"band GSM (used in Europe) or TDMA systems in the same radio band, since the processing and demodulation is performed in the post-baseband, digital section.
This last point is important, since this chapter has focused on traditional analog receiver design as are used in TDMA designs. As the name implies, Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technology divides a radio channel into sequential time slices. Each channel user takes turns transmitting and receiving in a round-robin fashion. TDMA is a popular cellular phone technology since it provides greater channel capacity than its predecessorfrequency division multiple access (FDMA). Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), an established cellular technology in Asia and Europe, uses a form of TDMA technology.
In this case study, though, we focus on code division multiple access (CDMA) designs for two reasons. First, the basic receiver architecture is similar to TDMA. Second, CDMA receiver designs are predominant in the U Sand are gaining global
In CDMA systems, the received signal occupies a relatively narrow channel within a 60-MHz spectral allocation between 1930MHz and 1990 MHz. W-CDMA channels operate on a wider bandwidth (3.84 MHz) than standard CDMA systems. All CDMA users can transmit at the same time while sharing the same carrier frequency. A user's signal appears to be noise for all except the correct receiver. Thus, the receiver circuit must
decode one signal among many that are transmitted at the same time and at the same carrier frequency, based on correlation techniques.
The CDMA reception process is as shown in Fig. 8-12. Several mixer stages are required to separate the carrier frequency and the code bandwidth. Once complete, the desired data signal
can be separated from the "noise" (other user channels) and interference.
Click for larger image
In a modern receiver front-end communication system, the received signal is amplified, mixed down to IF, and filtered before being mixed down to baseband where it is digitized for demodulation (see Fig. 8-13). A double (multi-mixer) superheterodyne architecture is typically used in a CDMA receiver.
Click for larger image
The RF front-end consists of the typical duplexer and low-noise amplifier (LNA) to provide additional signal gain to compensate for signal losses from the subsequent image-reject filter and then the first mixer. Two downconverter stages are used between the RF and baseband subsystems. The first mixer downconverts the signal to a first IF stage of 183 MHz. The
second mixer completes the downconversion from the IF stage to baseband. The I/Q outputs from the second mixer stage are digitally decoded and demodulated in the baseband DSP
The receiver architecture contains an I/Q demodulator to separate the information contained in the I (in-phase) and Q (quadrature) signal components prior to the baseband input
Recall earlier discussion on direct conversion techniques. Overall key receiver requirements (derived from the IS-95/IS-98 standards) for a CDMA system are defined by (see Fig. 8-14):
- Reference sensitivity is the minimum receiver input power, at the antenna, at which bit error rate (BER)<>'3. This results in an acceptable noise power (Pn) within the channel bandwidth of -99 dBm.The acceptable noise power (-99 dBm) within the channel bandwidth results in a receiver noise figure (NF) of 9 dB. Recall that the noise figure of a receiver is the ratio of the SNR at its input to the SNR at its output. It characterizes the degradation of the SNR by the receiver
- Adjacent channel selectivity (ACS) is the ratio of the receive filter attenuation on the assigned channel frequency to the receiver filter attenuation on the adjacent channel frequency.
- Intermodulation results from nonlinear modulation of two pure input signals. When
two or more signals are input to an amplifier simultaneously, the second-, third-, and higher-order
intermodulation components are caused by the sum and difference products of each of the fundamental input signals and their associated harmonics. Of particular importance to CDMA receiver design is the third-order intercept point (IP3).
Click for larger image