Realizing 5G and IoT RF systems with off-the-shelf components

June 29, 2017 // By How-Siang Yap, Keysight Technologies, Inc.
Architecting and building RF systems for 5th Generation (5G) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications to achieve the best performance at the lowest cost and in the shortest time places intense pressure on the engineers who are tasked to do the work. This article explains how the process can be performed efficiently through accurate RF system simulation with real off-the-shelf components and fast multi-stage impedance matching synthesis on a printed circuit board layout.

5G does not mean 5 GHz. 5G is the upcoming 5th generation wireless mobile network, operating from 24 GHz and up to 95 GHz. It promises extremely high data rate wireless connection such as 4k/8k ultra high definition TV streaming. The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is another fast growing application of wireless technology. IoT is the networking of things around us – from personal gadgets to industrial sensors and freight tracking around the world. By 2020, over 50 billion IoT objects are forecasted to be in operation. This means tremendous work and pressure for RF and microwave engineers to design and build 5G and IoT products quickly to compete for a share of the market.


5G 28 GHz RF system simulation

Designing and building RF systems to operate at 24 GHz and above is challenging due to the parasitics of interconnects, peripheral biasing and passive components, and the absence of simulation models of available system components. Calculating with spreadsheets and then breadboarding with actual hardware is very costly in terms of time, instrumentation, and effort for every ensuing iteration.

A more efficient approach in designing, prototyping, and realizing RF systems in one pass is now possible and is validated in the example below. Figure 1 shows the block diagram of a 5G system with 28 GHz RF input and two down conversion LOs at 22 GHz and 7 GHz to a 1 GHz IF. The block diagram is simulated in the Keysight Genesys Spectrasys system simulator with system blocks modeled as:
•  X-Parameter for nonlinear circuit data,
•  Sys-Parameter for system datasheet behavioral data with frequency, bias, and temperature dependence,
•  S-Parameter for linear circuit data,
•  Behavioral equation based models.

Figure 1:  28 GHz 5th Generation RF receiver system with dual down conversion to 1 GHz IF. Simulated with Keysight Genesys RF system simulator.

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