Nanjing Ericsson Panda Communication Co., Ltd.

Nanjing Ericsson Panda Communications Reduces LTCC Footprint by 80 Percent
With AWR software we were able to optimize a novel LTCC quadrature hybrid design and achieve the difficult challenge of an 80 percent reduction in space, 40% wider bandwidth than conventional designs. AWR simulation results agreed well with measurements and the support from local engineers was outstanding.
Nick Zhou
RF Engineer
Nanjing Ericsson Panda Communication Co., Ltd.

Nanjing Ericsson Panda Communications Reduces LTCC Footprint by 80 Percent Thanks to AWR Software

Customer Background

Nanjing Ericsson Panda Communication Co., Ltd. is a joint venture company established by Nanjing Panda Electronics Company Ltd., Ericsson Sweden, Ericsson (China ) Co., Ltd., China Putian Information Industry Group Co., Ltd., and Yung Shing Enterprise, Hong Kong, to manufacture high-technology communications system products, including the design, production, sales, and installation of GSM/CDMA digital mobile communication systems and switches. Incorporated in 1992, the company has become the largest manufacturing base of mobile communication base stations and system equipment and is rapidly becoming the largest system supply center for Ericsson in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Design Challenge

The quadrature hybrid (or branch-line coupler), is a key component found within microwave circuits such as balanced amplifiers, balanced mixers, phase shifters, and beam-forming networks for array antennas. The conventional approach for a single section quadrature hybrid with 20dB return loss is limited to 10 percent bandwidth. While a broader bandwidth can be achieved using coupled lines, coupled line hybrids are difficult to implement on MMICs. Looking instead at branch line hybrids, the bandwidth can be increased greatly by using stepped multi-section impedance transformers and cascading the multi-sections, however, the increase to the size of the MMIC is a deterrent. Therefore, the challenge for the NEPCC design team was to develop a novel approach for a quadrature hybrid that would not only decrease the size of the MMIC but also improve the performance bandwidth.

The Solution

Nick Zhou, lead AWR user at NEPCC, used AWR’s Microwave Office® circuit design software combined with AXIEM® planar EM simulation to design a novel low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) quadrature hybrid device using a stacked multi-section structure based on a Ferro-A6 substrate. A bandwidth of 40 percent larger than conventional devices and a size reduction of 80 percent were achieved using a vertical stacked structure instead of the traditional cascaded method. The main advantages of this novel approach are miniaturized size and low interference.

Due to the large number of parameters, the optimization and verification would have been very time-consuming if simulated using only traditional FEM-based simulators. Because Microwave Office and AXIEM are closely integrated within the AWR Design Environment™ and share the same schematic/layout, Nick was able to combine the circuit-based simulator and EM-based simulator, which significantly enhanced his optimization efficiency as well as accuracy. In addition, there was no need to manually re-draw the layout, which saved even more time. The final simulated results versus measurements agreed very well and the design team was extremely pleased with the success of this difficult challenge.

Nick found AWR software to be easy to install, fast to learn, and very user friendly. He also appreciated the fast, proficient, and dedicated support by AWR’s local application engineers.

A more detailed application note related to this design challenge can be found on the IEEE Explore website at http://bit.ly/10tf4qt.

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

Related customer stories

The Microwave Office intuitive environment, the interaction of all of its simulation engines, and its integration with third-party design tools has enabled us to develop a seamless, first-time-right design process for our RF/microwave amplifiers.
Ivan Boshnakov
Senior Principal Engineer
Aerial Facilities Limited
Read story
The seamless integration of the Microwave Office and VSS software gave me more meaningful results because I was able to simulate my power amplifier circuit design’s response to the EDGE/GSM modulated input signal with one design platform. I used Microwave Office and VSS from circuit concept all the way through to product completion. I was exceptionally happy with the technical quality of the ACPR and EVM simulation results.
TriQuint Design Engineer
TriQuint (now Qorvo)
Read story
We were unable to EM this entire structure using any other EM solver and turned to AWR to give it a try. The insights gained as unveiled by AXIEM opens up new vistas in mm-wave design for Mimix.
Dr. Simon Mahon
Director of MMIC Design
Mimix Broadband (now part of M/A Com)
Read story