ADI targets 4G infrastructure with mixers, modulators

LONDON — Analog Devices, Inc., has started sampling the first devices in a range of highly integrated RFICs for fourth generation cellular basestations.

Dubbed the ADRF 660x and ADRF 670 series, the mixers and demodulators, respectively, are targeted at basestation cards capable of both LTE and other 4G functionalities.

The cards combine multiple discrete functional blocks into a single device, while meeting the demanding performance required by higher-capacity base stations.

“While the level of integration achieved here is outstanding, we have in no way sacrificed performance, and early indications are basestation manufacturers are able to achieve a 60 percent reduction in board space and significant savings on the bill of materials,” said Philip Halford, product manager at ADI ((Norwood, MA.).

The challenge in designing devices for basestations is to ensure the LO signal is maintained throughout and remains pure, added Halford.

The devices are based on ADI's PLL/VCO synthesizer, mixer and modulator technologies, which are said to offer excellent phase noise performance, power consumption and linearity for smaller form factor and higher density macro, micro, and picocell base stations.

ADI is also making available evaluation boards for the 670x.

Halford said ADI has delivered samples to, and is in talks with “all the major cellular infrastructure providers, as well as some doing microwave radios”, but would not identify the companies. “Now we are aiming to make the ranges available to a broader customer base.”

The ADRF660x and ADRF670x series each debut with four pin-compatible devices that cover the commonly used cellular 2G, 3G and LTE frequency bands.

The four ADRF670x mixers integrate a high dynamic range analogue I/Q modulator, RF output switch and PLL (phase locked loop) with integrated VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) in one compact RFIC. The modulator input bandwidth of 500 MHz is capable of supporting either a specified band or complex IF up-conversion transmit signal paths. In addition, the modulator output supports a linear high output power level for wideband multi-carrier LTE applications.

Meanwhile the range of modulators integrate a high-linearity active RF mixer; RF input balun for single- ended 50 ? input; and a PLL synthesizer with integrated VCO in one compact RF circuit. The active mixer provides a voltage conversion gain of 6 dB, alleviating the need for additional IF amplification over competing passive mixers.

The differential IF output is capable of supporting highest IF frequencies up to 500 MHz. The ADRF660x series can be used for receiver path down-conversion and transmit path observation receiver applications.

ADI is also readying a range of dual LVDS I/F transmit DACs, dubbed the 9122 series, that are said to support extremely high LVDS interface capabilities and DAC data rates.

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