Alciom

ALCIOM Cuts Design Time in Half for Complex Wideband RF Downconverter Subsystem
The top-down, iterative system and circuit design and simulation method enabled by AWR Software was a key factor in the success of this microwave downconverter subsystem design. It enabled us to go from specifications to working prototype in half the time it would have taken using traditional methods and disparate tools.
Robert Lacoste
Founder and CEO
Alciom

ALCIOM Cuts Design Time in Half for Complex Wideband RF Downconverter Subsystem

Company

ALCIOM is a consulting and design company specializing in innovative mixed-signal projects, from RF and microwave to high-speed electronics, signal processing, sensors, optoelectronics, and ultra-low-power devices. Based in Chaville, France, ALCIOM was founded in 2003 and has more than 100 customers ranging from startups to worldwide telecom companies and research organizations. 

Challenge

ALCIOM was challenged to develop a wideband RF downconverter subsystem for a custom measurement instrument with strict instrumentation-grade specifications. In particular, the downconverter was required to cover a wide bandwidth from 700MHz up to 6GHz, with stringent phase and amplitude stability constraints.

Due to these constraints, the design required a custom assembly of several frequency translations, filtering, and amplifying stages (with no less than three intermediate frequencies). The design team kicked off the project by defining the overall system architecture, followed by modeling the system performances, focusing in particular on spurious rejection and frequency-response flatness. The team finished with circuit-level design and simulation of the custom microstrip filters and couplers used within the downconverter subsystem.

Solution

Cadence® AWR® Design Environment®, specifically Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) software, was the backbone design tool for this project. As a first step, VSS was used to create the high-level system diagram with close-to-ideal mixers, filters, and amplifiers. This then enabled the team to validate the selection of the intermediate frequencies and overall gain and noise figure budgets allocated to each stage, and finish with a specification for each of the subsystems. 

To continue to read the full story, click to download the PDF document below...

Related customer stories

VSS gives us a deeper understanding of system aspects. Its flexibility and open platform means parameter optimization can quickly and easily be done. With VSS we were able to successfully realize our system.
Lars Pettersson
Research Engineer
Acreo
Read story
AWR Analog Office has provided the Epicom design team with a unified, easy-to-use, and fully integrated RFIC design suite, which enabled us to obtain our complex RFIC silicon tape-out on a short schedule.
Cindy H. C. Yuen
Vice President of Engineering
Epic Communications
Read story
VSS has increased my productivity by providing more accurate results while at the same time cutting design cycle time. The software offers an intuitive design flow that has allowed me to quickly evaluate modulation schemes and radio/RF/DSP architectures, and has helped us optimize our system engineering design flow.
Sy Prestwich
Vice President & Co-founder, Chief Scientist
S5 Wireless (now part of Recon Dynamics)
Read story