5G Radio and Smartphone RF Architecture Fundamentals

Course 267

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Also available as a custom online course.


With an explosion of wireless mobile devices and services, Wireless system designers have been facing the continuously increasing demand for high data rates and mobility required by new wireless applications. Future challenges facing these potential technologies are the significant increase in the complexity of RF cellular handset communication systems that use massive MIMO and cognitive radio networks.

This course is intended for engineers wanting to learn about the fundamentals of handset RF and 5G radio architectures, including aspects of the radio design covering the entire signal chain from the RF input (High performance passive/active circuits for RF/mm-wave front-ends) to the A/D Digital interface. The aim is understanding system design methods to dissect the different radio architectures with emphasis on the physical layer (RF) for the most advanced commercial LTE and the new MIMO-5G systems.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Gain in-depth understanding of The trade-offs between Digital Modulation Techniques and RF Performance and how this relates to system level performance metrics (e.g. C/No, BER, EVM)
  • Interpret key RF parameters such as Noise figure (NF), Sensitivity, Spurious free Dynamic range, Intermodulation distortion, Calculations - P1dB - IM2 - IP2 - IM3 - IP3 - Cascaded IIP3, Power Added Efficiency (PAE), Adjacent Channel Leakage Ratio (ACLR), Peak-to-Average Power Ratio (PAPR)
  • Understand the trade-offs between block-level performance, choice of radio architectures and overall system performance (e.g. power, area and cost) in relation to a given communication standard
  • Appreciate the improved performance offered by MIMO techniques, advanced RF front ends and Smart Antenna Solutions.
  • Understand architecture trade-offs for Active/Passive circuits for RF/mm-wave front-ends

Target Audience

RF and baseband IC engineers, system architects, test and product engineers. Technical managers who would like to get exposure to RF smartphone technology.


Part One

Cellular Architecture Evolution
 • The 1G to 5G Evolution • Performance Comparisons • Architectures Differences • Key technologies for wireless networks • Advantages and disadvantages of high frequency networks for high speed data transmissions
Key Digital System Requirements for RF Handsets
 • Why Digital • Defining Performance Standards • Bit Error Rate (BER) and Block Error rate (BLER) • Data rates, symbol rates, Eb/No and C/N ratios Vs proportional Fairness Scheduling • The trade-offs between Digital Modulation Techniques and RF performance
Key RF System Requirements for RF Handsets
 • Noise figure (NF) • Minimum Detectable Signal (MDS)/Sensitivity • Spurious Free Dynamic Range • Intermodulation distortion • Calculations: P1dB-IIP2-IM3-IIP3 • Phase noise • RMS phase error and EVM • Impact of RMS phase error on BER • Desense/Blockers
 • Power Added Efficiency (PAE) • Adjacent Channel Power Ratio (ACPR) • Peak-to-Average Power Ratio (PAPR) • Static and Dynamic EVM • Optimizing IP3 and ACPR • Out of Band Noise (OOB) • Calculations: P1dB-IP2-IM3-IP3

Part Two

Transceiver Architectures and Integration Techniques
 • Distributed antenna arrays- massive MIMO systems • Ultra-Wideband (UWB) cellular architectures • MM-Wave communications • Handset architectures structures • Transceiver-designs - Heterodyne Receiver - Image Reject Receiver - Homodyne Receiver (quadrature mixing and DC offset) - Tracking Receivers • Transmitter architectures • Spectrum mask
The Future of RF Front- Ends (RFFE’s) in Handsets
 • MIMO systems • Frequency usage limitations (GaAs-CMOS-SiGe) • Promising RFFE technologies for 5G • Highly integrated single chip front end IC’s based on the SiGe-BiCMOS process • Architectures and circuits for carrier aggregation, massive MIMO, and full-duplex

Part Three

5G Key Technologies
 • Key Technologies needed to make 5G a reality • Implications for the 5G RF Front-end • RFFE Integration for high-tier phones and mid-tier phones • Examples of multiple architectures and design flexibilities • Circuit/System Co-simulations- RF Chain analysis • Active circuits for RF/mm-wave front-ends (PA, LNA, VGA, etc.) • High performance passive circuits for RF/mm-wave front-ends (antenna, filter, combiner, divider, coupler, switch, phase shifter, etc.) • Overview of test benches and measurement performance