Automatic Design-Space Exploration of Integrated Multi-Standard Wireless Radio Receivers

University dissertation from Kista : Mikroelektronik och informationsteknik

Abstract: One of the main challenges posed by 4G wireless communication systems is achieving flexible, programmable multi-standard radio transceivers with maximum hardware share amongst different standards at a minimum power consumption. Evaluating the feasibility and performance of different multi-standard/multi-band radio solutions at an early stage, i.e. system level, is key for succeeding in surmounting this challenge. This entails formulation of the transceiver budget for several RF architectures and frequency plans with different degrees of hardware sharing. This task is complicated by the fact that transceiver blocks can have different implementations that lead to different performances. The tools that are available for use at present have only analysis capabilities or address only one standard and/or receiver architecture at a time.In the belief that a new approach to this problem is necessary, the work that has led to this thesis proposes a novel methodology that automates the design-space exploration of integrated multi-standard wireless radio receivers. This methodology has been implemented in a multi-standard RF Transceiver Architecture Comparison Tool, TACT. TACT helps surmounting many of the challenges faced by RF system designers targeting multi-standard/multi-band radio receivers.The goal of the algorithms TACT is built upon is to find a multi-standard receiver frequency plan and budget that meets or exceeds the specifications of the addressed wireless standards while keeping the requirements of each of the receiver blocks as relaxed as possible. TACT offers RF engineers a deep insight into the receiver behavior at a very early stage of the design flow. It models the impact of critical circuit non-idealities using a high level of abstraction. This reduces the number of design iterations and, thus, the time-to-market of the solution. The reuse of already available intellectual property (IP) blocks is also considered in TACT, what can result in a significant cost reduction of the receiver implementation.A case study of a WCDMA/WLAN multi-standard receiver designed using TACT is presented in order to illustrate the capabilities of the proposed techniques.