RF transceivers are crucial in wireless radio systems, converting baseband signals to desired frequencies. With the emergence of 5G, the need for high-performing RF technology is even greater due to the requirement for wider bandwidths, higher frequencies, and higher order modulations. Designing RF solutions that maintain signal quality while reducing power consumption is critical to meet 5G network requirements, which aim to connect a million devices per square kilometer, a tenfold increase from 4G.
This requires reducing energy consumption in components while also solving challenges such as IQ imbalance, LO leakage, and non-linearity. ZIF architecture can improve signal quality, but it also increases power consumption. Analog circuits do not follow Moore’s law! They are not modular either and every circuit must be customized to the exact requirements. Arctic provides practical solutions through IceWings and SnowWings to address these challenges in RF-to-BB transceiver design.
best-in-class RF chipset
IceWings is an analog ZIF transceiver that is based on top-of-the-line RF circuit design. Utilizing Arctic-patented IP to develop various functionalities within the product including low noise amplifiers, analog mixers, and programmable baseband filters, this product can address various markets by enabling modems that contain data converters and require analog interface with the transceiver. On top of that, it supports any 5G band via dedicated circuitry to various ranges of RF frequency. Total power consumption of this 4×4 transceiver is below 1W, enabling extremely low power system design for any 5G radio applications.
SnowWings design is based on utilizing direct RF sampling and taking advantage of Arctic’s high-speed RF ADC and DAC with extremely low power consumption. This architecture allows an RF-to-digital sampling rather than utilizing analog mixers and analog baseband filters, thus performing mostly digital signal manipulations, and improving signal quality without increasing power consumption. The key challenge is to create a balance between circuit complexity and digital operations. Thus, sub-sampling is performed to utilize second or third Nyquist zones when sampling analog signals with ADC sampling rate below Nyquist rate. In the meantime, the patented transmitter and receiver architecture allows multi-band design and support for any 5G band and multiple bandwidths for various applications. This chip also contains digital pre-distortion (DPD) of well-known power amplifiers for optimized ACLR and EVM performance. The DPD design has utilized machine learningbased techniques to optimally define the power amplifier model and compensate for its nonlinearity with the lowest power consumption possible.
What is HIC™?
Arctic’s HIC™ (hardware intelligent circuits) is a patented design concept based on integrating and implementing hardware circuits. When combined with software, HIC™ enables the use of calibration methods and digital correction techniques to optimize and correct performance of customized low power analog circuits. Rather than increasing area and power consumption to reduce noise and increase linearity to meet the specifications of analog circuits, HIC™ technology enables low power circuit design and optimizes the performance through intelligent modifications. This is done via enhanced mixed-signal integrated circuit design where a digital signal is used to provide a true feedback and close the loop to correct analog circuit performance.