Wearable Technology

With the introduction of 5G mobile handset into market, there are many new features that can be sought of. One of these new features is sensor technology that provides health and/or well-being monitor of the user.  This technology idea is not new and being used in space programs since 1960’s.  However, now it is becoming part of commercial applications.

Apple, Adidas, Google, Nike are among many more mid and small size companies which are designing and developing consumer products which embed Wearable technology in to their product lines.

All of these Wearables utilize wireless connectivity, i.e. radio, to transfer data from the sensor, e.g. human breathing, pulse, sweat, organ’s information to mobile handset device for further analytics and display.

Partner with ORTENGA to capture constraints and requirements into appropriate product definition before designing and developing your new Wireless Wearable product.

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Posted on May 18, 2019

What are Radio Link and Line-up Budgets?

Radio communication link between any transmitter to receiver needs to be designed for:

See figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Radio Communication Link

Radio communications systems like 4G, 5G, WiFi/802.11, BT, 802.15, LEO SATCOM, radar, microwave links all have Link Budget.  The Link Budget is more than just the engineering analysis and system design, it also impacts the bottom line via systems throughput.

Keep in mind, given 5G Standard, that does not imply the Link Budget is unique and the same for every system.  It depends on the constraints and use cases for your particular application.

That communication link depends on additional parameters such as:

  • Wavelength or operating frequency
  • Transmit antenna
  • Receive antenna, i.e. G/T
  • Characteristics of the receiver, Line-up Budget
  • Whether it is Line of Sight, LOS, or Non Line of Sight, NLOS
  • Objects between the transmitter to the receiver, natural or man-made, which cause fading
  • Modulation and Coding Scheme, MCS, i.e. required BER and Eb/N0
  • Whether there are any other Radio nearby, i.e. radio coexistence or interference by other users

Once the Link Budget is analyzed and determined the required transmit power, range, and receiver SNR, then the Line-up Budget must be done to design that transmitter and/or receiver.

The Line-up Budget is the analysis that determines the required component specifications which are needed to meet the Link Budget, see figure 2 below.

Figure 2: Typical Radio Transmitter and Receiver

The Line-up Budget consists of thermal noise, phase noise, quantization noise, I/Q imbalance, non-linearity, dynamic range, overhead, AGC, Exact number of bits analysis for the overall system.

Each component in the radio front end must be defined in a way to meet the required noise and unwanted signal level at its input as well as output.  In other words, the SNR is not constant and is function of the each node and dependent on the component selection and performance.

Keep in mind that if you expect your radio to work under any environmental circumstances, then all of the above analysis and component selections must work over Part to Part, Voltage, Temperature, aka PVT variations.

Not all of vendors’ component will meet the Link and/or Line Budget of your system; that is what differentiates any radio system from another, a prototype against robust radio.

The difference between prototype radio and a robust radio is not about functionality of the radio, it is about maintaining the performance of the radio under all of the above environmental variations and in presence of other users which interrupt the radio performance if it is not properly designed and budgeted.  The robust radio meets end user need in actual environment, whereas the prototype radio demonstrates functionality under limited conditions.

Various Standards require different architecture, system analysis, and appropriate components’ selection.

Partner with ORTENGA for your new radio systems design and developmentORTENGA provides architectural, system analysis, design, and validations to meet the end user requirements based on your constraints and requirements.

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Posted on May 13, 2019

Which Waveform should be utilized for LEO SATCOM, DVB-S2, 3GPP, or CDMA Waveform?

Commercial GEO SATCOM MODEMs are based on SoC DVB-S standard.  On the other hand, CDMA waveforms are utilized for Governmental and Proprietary GEO applications.

LEO SATCOM application is targeting higher throughput and feasibility studies and simulations are being done to look for alternative waveforms which are more spectrally efficient.  One of these waveforms is 3GPP LTE and/or its derivatives.

Both CDMA and LTE waveforms provide higher sensitivity MODEM relative to DVB-S2.  Additionally LTE MODEM can support higher bandwidth and spectrally more efficient at high SINR, MCS13/14/15, than CDMA.  LTE SoC MODEM and appropriate test equipment are also available in the current market.  Many companies are working to tailor and optimize new family of LEO SATCOM SoC MODEM.

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Posted on May 11, 2019

What is the importance of G/T?

G/T stands for receiver Antenna Gain to Thermal Noise ratio.  It turns out that C/N is directly proportional to G/T for any receiver.  Therefore, the data rate or throughput is directly proportional to G/T.

For instance in SATCOM link, the receiver C/N reference to antenna terminal is directly proportional to G/T.

By carefully looking into the G/T metric, it becomes clear that just optimizing the antenna for its gain does not necessarily yields to a better C/N, as there is a trade-off between antenna gain and its thermal noise.   Consequently, G/T is the metric to be optimized during antenna design.

Antenna temperature is function of its physical and brightness temperatures, as well as radiation efficiency.

Appropriate systems and architecture design takes into account the trade-offs and inherent relationships between these metrics to arrive at appropriate link budget and system behavioral model for computing C/N and throughput.

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Posted on May 5, 2019

LEO Down-Link Throughput

According to FCC regulations for Satellite EIRP, PFD on Earth, and analyzing, LEO Ku band User Terminal, UT, DL can have better than 10dB Eb/N0.  By adding 8dB Turbo coding gain, that is ~18dB, conservatively.  In other words, UT DL link can operate up to 256QAM Modulation and Coding Scheme, MCS, with existing MODEM SoC in the market.

The frequency reuse could be eight 250 MHz DL Channels for users in Ku Band, 10.7 – 12.7 GHz.  Therefore the antenna requires 2 GHz bandwidth, albeit it could be dynamically tunable. Each of these 250 MHz channel is divided into multi access depending on the BW allocated by the network for each user.  The user band selection occurs in the digital domain via MODEM SoC time slot partition.  That is each UT process the 250 MHz band through RFFE and in the MODEM the data parsing and dedicated user data is selected.

Partner ORTENGA in designing and developing of your LEO SATCOM User Terminal.  ORTENGA will work with you to define Throughput/Availability of Network Resources, Assignment of Resources to each Customer, Coordination of Spectrum with regulatory organizations, FCC and ETSI, and other users of the spectrum, Optimization of Link budgets and System Trade-Offs. ORTENGA will down select components such as SoC MODEM and Transceiver RFIC and required filtering which account for Thermal, Phase, I/Q imbalance, Nonlinearity, and Quantization noise, and Top Level Architectural documents for the Wireless System, AGC Algorithm and Gain Line up.

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Posted on May 4, 2019

Successful Electronic Consumer Product

Successful electronic consumer product can be introduced in to market and become common name within its first year of introduction.  Looking back for example, iPhone (smart phone), Thumb drive (USB memory) are good examples.  Now they are must have for anyone in high tech industry and doing business within electronic industry.

How did the original version got to be recognized by consumers?

  1. Identify the need/pain point.
  2. Out of Box product was conceptualized.
  3. Technical feasibility was verified.
  4. Appropriate components and vendors were selected.
  5. Diligent works were done to build the new product prototype.
  6. Manufacturability of the prototype was analyzed.
  7. Production was launched.

In all of the above, it is outward looking and taking calculated risk.  If your company is not willing to invest on new ideas, then don’t expect disruption.

Disruption requires systems engineering with vision and business acumen to architect any successful electronic consumer product.

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Posted on April 30, 2019

The impact of Antenna Efficiency on Antenna Temperature

Radio Communications Systems Engineers budget the noise impairments of each block in the system to limits it and design for adequate SINR.  In spite of that, there is not much can be done to limit the noise contribution of the antenna itself, so it must be well understood before claiming design completion.

Antenna noise temperature is function of physical and brightness temperature.  The physical temperature of the antenna is dictated by the antenna surrounding or ambient temperature.

Brightness temperature is the temperature that is seen by antenna based on its radiation pattern as well as environmental condition, profile or distribution of background temperature.

For instance, if the background temperature is constant, then the brightness temperature is background temperature.  In SATCOM, the brightness temperature is not constant and depends on the pointing angle of the UT antenna.

As the antenna efficiency increase, the antenna temperature can converge to brightness temperature.  In fact, if the radiation efficiency is 1, then antenna temperature is brightness temperature.  On the other hand, when the radiation efficiency is zero, the other extreme, the antenna is a matched load and the antenna temperature is its physical temperature.

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Posted on April 29, 2019

5G Phone ODM Players

Amazon, Apple, Google, Nokia, LG, Samsung, and many more are working toward 5G UE, i.e. phone.

High Tier UEs are based on Qualcomm X55 5G MODEM (i.e. Qualcomm 2nd generation 5G SoC MSM) and RF360.  The only exception is Samsung which are having two distinct designs, one utilizes X55  and the other uses Samsung 5G MODEM.

Partner ORTENGA for designing the feature and architectural of your wireless new product to be competitive in the market.

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Posted on April 27, 2019

LEO SATCOM Architecture of Choice

Amazon, Facebook, Oneweb, and SpaceX all utilize Super Heterodyne LEO SATCOM radio architecture.  The difference is that Amazon and SpaceX rely on legacy intermediate frequency, IF, while, Facebook and Oneweb are not.  This implies difference frequency planning and capabilities of RF front ends, RFFE.  Facebook and Oneweb architecture allow for higher datarate/throughput, ~7x. This is a significant advantage which could the data cost to the end user as well as bottom line difference, hence ROI.

AT&T seems to be relying on beamforming architecture for the electronically scanned antenna, ESA.

Almost all startups utilize Super Heterodyne radio architecture and legacy IF.  This is due to the fact that they rely on COTS RFFE components.

Partner with ORTENGA to analyze LEO SATCOM Link Budget, identify Radio Front End, Transceiver, and MODEM chip sets/vendors, and design HW with down selected ASICs and appropriate algorithms to control beamforming architecture for your mobile product.

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Posted on April 15, 2019

Who are LEO SATCOM Players?

Amazon, Facebook, Oneweb, and SpaceX are all have jumped into the race for LEO SATCOM market to bring wireless connectivity across the globe for consumers.

What remains to be revealed is that which of the major U.S. carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile/Sprint, and/or Verizon, and International carriers NTT docomo, CMCC, and/or Vodafone have realized this untapped market and are also making progress in their network planning technology.

In addition to the above companies, there are many startups which are working on part of LEO network ecosystems.

The market opportunities are significant and the technology is new.

LEO Network will be launched as early as mid-2020 for Early Adaptors, EA, and 2021 for Rest of Worlds, ROW.

Partner with ORTENGA to analyze LEO SATCOM Link Budget, identify Radio Front End, Transceiver, and MODEM chip sets/vendors, and design HW with down selected ASICs and appropriate algorithms to control beamforming architecture for your mobile product.

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Posted on April 12, 2019

Why DSP Algorithms are implemented via Fixed Point in FPGA?

Currently, typical HW simulators such as Matlab use 64-Bit representations for numbers.

1 Bit can be defined as distinguishing an in-distinguishable.

Typical DSP algorithms do not need such wide, 64-Bit, word for its variable to arrive at acceptable computation tolerances.  In fact, implementing 64-Bit Algorithm could be costly in terms of power consumption, required memory, and computation time, critical algorithm metrics.

On the other hand, lack of adequate Word Length could cause convergence issue, inaccurate results, and erroneous decision makings.

Proper Algorithms are optimized for all of the above metrics.

Algorithm designer can calculate the required number of Bits, Word Length, for tolerable error in computation.  This calculation is called Floating Point to Fixed Point Conversion.

There are many techniques to make the conversion and even Matlab can do that for you.

However, there is more efficient technique which will be faster to make the conversion and ORTENGA utilize that.

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Posted on April 3, 2019

Wireless Communication Systems Decomposition Flow

The following diagram illustrates the flow of any wireless communication systems decomposition.

The missing component of the above diagram is competitive landscape and new technologies’ capability, feasibility, and their applications into new products for cost reduction and performance enhancement.

At ORTENGA, we take into account both the competitive landscape as well as introducing new technology with calculated risks.

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Posted on March 27, 2019

Automotive Hidden Antenna

Fig.1 Tomorrow’s autonomous car with various communication gadgets.

Autonomous driving is the current emerging trend that is disrupting the traditional transportation market philosophy. Among all manufacturer, USA is leading in the development of autonomous vehicles followed by Europe and Asia. Electric (EV) or hybrid vehicle is the part of the autonomous vehicle, which most of the car manufacturer are dreaming to manufacture throughout the world. In addition to that, they are also interested in a cost-effective and fuel-efficient vehicle with attractive styling including the latest communication gadgets. All these ideas lead to lightweight design, sleek and reduced aerodynamics features. This market preference and technological advances have significant contribution in driving the development of automotive antennas. Today’s production vehicle is fitted with numerous antenna systems for different services; AM/FM radio, satellite radio, cellular band (4G: 690MHz—5 GHz); digital audio broadcasting (DAB: 200 MHz); remote keyless entry (433 MHz); tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), GPS (1.1—1.9 GHz); collision safety radar (77 GHz) etc. as shown in Fig.1, and the gain/polarization requirement matrices in Table 1.  With the 5G system, the low band frequency of the LTE band has been reduced to 617 MHz. It is well known that the antenna is the key element in achieving greater performance matrices in all communication system. A full feature vehicle will have more than 15 antennas installed on board.  With all these antenna elements in operation, the space available for each antenna element is getting shorter and shorter. Today there are greater challenges in the design and development of automotive antenna system compare to previous generations vehicles.

Table 1: Gain and polarization requirement for different applications.

Freq Band Gain/CLAG:

(Composite Linear average gain)

Polarizations:
FM:

76—90 MHz(JP)

88—108 MHz (US)

DAB: 168—240 MHz

(passive CLAG)

> -21 dBd

> -10 dBd

> -15 dBd

H/V
DAB: 168—240 MHz > -15 dBd H/V
SDARS: CP
LTE:

LB;MB;HB

> -7— -13dBi (CLAG) H/V
GNSS/GPS:

L1/L2/L5 band

> -3.0 — 3.5 dBi (LAG) CP
WiFi Antenna:

2.4 GHz

5.5 GHz

-10 dBi (LAG) H/V
Radar cruise:

76-81 GHz

Gain: 10-30 dBi

(depending on applications)

H/V

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Posted on March 25, 2019

What is Interleaving and Why it is used?

Interleaving is the process of placing/shuffling bits within a symbol in such a way that decrease the chance of “Burst Errors” due to fading.

There are two class of interleaving, Block and Convolutional.

Block interleaving is when the symbol is written into row of a matrix and transmitted along the column of that matrix.

Pseudorandom Block interleaving is subclass and when the symbol is written into row of a matrix and transmitted in the pseudorandom mechanism.

Convolutional interleaving is when the symbol is multiplexed in and out of fixed number of shift registers.

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Posted on March 21, 2019

Rayleigh vs. Rician Fading

Terrestrial Radio Link analysis consists of Line of Sight, Large Scale fading, Small Scale fading depending on the frequency, and Atmospheric Loss.

Large Scale Fading

Large scale fading refers to environment where the radio signal bounces of objects that are “much larger” than operating wavelength.

Large Scale fading is deterministic and it’s part of the Radio Link Budget Analysis.

Small Scale Fading

Small scale fading refers to fading environment where the radio signal bounces of objects that are “smaller” than operating wavelength.

Small Scale fading is random in nature, yet it can be introduced in the Radio Link Budget via Fade Margin.  The fade margin represents the level of robustness for the Radio Link.

Small scale fading is typically modeled either by Rayleigh or Rician probability distribution function profile.

The radio signal is modulated by fading profile.

Rayleigh model reflects a channel with many multipath between transmitter and receiver which occurs in many Terrestrial radio applications, such as Cellular, i.e. 4G/5G, and WiFi, i.e. 802.11.

The probability distribution function describes the probability of occurrence as a function of radio signal envelope.  The larger number of multipath between the transmitter and the receiver, the more spread the envelope radio signal envelope profile.

Rician model reflects a channel with one dominant, aka specular, path between the transmitter and the receiver.  Obviously, the radio signal envelope for dominant path occurs with higher or distinct probability with respect to other multipath.

Rician model approaches Rayleigh probability density function as the dominant path becomes less and less in reflecting signal strength, therefore less pronounced.

In the case of 5G and WiFi applications, appropriate large and small scale fading terms must be included in the Radio Link Budget for robust radio design.

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Posted on March 19, 2019

WiGig 802.11ad Data Rate vs. Range

The following graph illustrates Data Rate vs. Range for 802.11ad, aka WiGig, for OFDM signaling and Line of Sight, LOS, for mmW back haul applications.  The mmW back haul can be realized with HGBF architecture.

It takes into account the Atmospheric and path loss.

The system can be realized with Holograhpic Beamforming Architecture, HGBF.

ORTENGA can model and compute the impact of Large and Small Scale fading as well.

In addition, similar modeling is available for mmW 5G Waveform and applications.

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Posted on March 11, 2019

WiGig, 802.11ad Packet Format

The following diagram illustrates 802.11ad Packet Format.

Preamble

Short Training Field, is STF used for receiver Automatic Gain Control, AGC, and synchronization, Automatic Frequency Control, AFC, whereas, Channel Estimation, CE is used for receiver assessment and adjustment of parametric depending on the channel behavior.  Overall that is the purpose of “Preamble”, STF and CE.

Header

The Header is different for various PHY.  It contains Modulation Coding Scheme, MCS, and the length of data, aka Checksum.

Data

Data is function of modulation and coding, MCS, and the length can vary depending on the PHY.

TRN

This an optional field meant for beamforming.  It allows the beamforming algorithm to be trained and optimized via the User Equipment, UE, and/or Customer Premise Equipment, CPE.

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Posted on March 8, 2019

MIMO OFDM Systems Architecture

MIMO and OFDM are two essential technologies for many radio systems communication new applications, such as 5G and WiGig/802.11ad.

The following diagram illustrates MIMO OFDM Systems Architecture for Tx and Rx, bits to bits.

The number of antennas can be scaled up to meet desired performance, power, size, weight, and cost requirements.

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Posted on March 4, 2019

Water Fall Curves for BPSK, QPSK, 16, 64, 256, 1024, and 4096 QAM

Water fall curves represent BER vs. Eb/N0.

Eb/N0 is used so that BER is independent of BW and data rate.

N0 represents Additive White Gaussian Noise, AWGN density.

The following diagram illustrates BPSK, QPSK, QAM 16, 64, 256, 1024, and 4096 BER.

Observations

  1. BER is function of minimum Euclidean distance between constellation points. That is why QPSK and BPSK are performing the same.
  2. In the above chart, within the steep section of BER curve, small changes in Eb/N0yields large changes in BER, hence “Water Fall Curves”. Consequently for achieving BER performance, adequate margin needs to be considered in the design of the system.
  3. Forward Error Correction, FEC, can be utilized to improve BER in expense of spectral efficiency. In other words, the FEC shift each curve to the left.
  4. In practice, there could be irreducible error noise floor due to fading where exponential becomes linear decay in the above chart. In other words, no matter how much Eb/N0is improved the error remains constant above certain level when there is fading channel.

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Posted on March 3, 2019

Which should be used, SNR or Eb/N0?

SNR stands for Signal to Noise Ratio and typically is figure of merit for signal quality in the RF domain.

Whereas, Eb/N0 stands for bit Energy to noise density ratio and typically is figure of merit for digital domain.

Radio System Engineers deal with SNR for quantifying signal quality in the analog/RF domain and the instrumentation is made to capture that.  Radio Systems Engineers, however, aware that the SNR changes as the signal propagates through the system and is not necessarily a constant at each node.  This is an important distinction which can be misleading, if not fully understood.  If you plan to purchase a component, then it is imperative to understand this fact and how to use datasheet numbers for your systems, otherwise you would run into shortcoming issues at the systems level.

Digital System Engineers prefer Eb/N0 because it is independent of data rate as well as signal bandwidth, yet function of Modulation and Coding Scheme, aka MCS or MODCOD.

This metric, Eb/N0, is of prime interest at the input of the detector for obvious reason and stated in various standard documents without explicitly mentioning the reference plane.  It should be transposed back to SNR when referred to receiver input port for the link budget and/or system line up model.

There are some related metrics such as Es/N0, BLER, FER, PER etc.  Es/N0 stands for Symbol Energy to noise density ratio. BLER refers to Block Error Rate and it is the same thing as Frame Error Rate or Packet Error Rate.  BLER, FER, or PER are metrics of L3 or Packet Layer, whereas Eb/N0 is PHY metric, L1.

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Posted on March 1, 2019

802.11ad EIRP and Transmit Power

FCC dictates EIRP (or max Tx power), frequency band, and out of band unwanted emission for North America.

The following diagram illustrates FCC requirements for EIRP and Maximum Transmit Power for 57-71 GHz Unlicensed Band, also known as WiGig .

Observe that the EIRP and Transmit power is function of Transmit antenna gain.  It is clear that as the transmit antenna gain is increased the EIRP allocated can increase, therefore allowing for longer range in the case of pencil beam radiation pattern.

Partner with ORTENGA to capture the radio communication systems requirements and constraints, design and develop feasible architecture, down select components from multiple vendor options, design and bring up the required HW, and validate the design of your new product.

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Posted on February 25, 2019 

5G Infrastructure and 802.11ad Access Point Opportunities for Holographic Beamforming, HGBF, mmW Architecture

Both ABF and DBF 5G mmW infrastructure and 802.11ad Access Point architectures suffer from scaling for large antenna arrays.

ABF although less expensive than DBF, requires analog domain characterization and calibration over frequency, temperature, power level, prior to operation.

DBF although does not need extensive calibration requires redundancy of dedicated baseband and radio transceiver components with additional power consumption and BOM/cost.

Holographic beamforming, HGBF, offers cost effective compromise between ABF and DBF.  The following architecture can be scaled to higher number of antenna elements which is function of the number of data streams as well as required gain.

The MODEM SoC provides multiple data streams, each data stream dedicated for single user, UE.

Metamaterial phase shifter could consists of Diodes, MEMS, or LCD, see related Blog below for comparison.

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Posted on February 23, 2019 

Open Source Interconnections, OSI, Layers

System level understanding of OSI layers is important for any architect who designs communication system.  The following table summarizes PHY up to APP layers.

It should be noted in practice, RF Systems, Communication Systems, Network, and Application Engineers own all 7 layers.

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Posted on February 21, 2019 

4G vs. 5G Waveform Characteristics

3GPP release 16 to be published later this year with complete 5G systems information.  In spite of that, the following table summarizes some of the key Waveform parameters for comparison with 4G.

5G covers sub 6GHz as well as mmW, therefore some of the metrics such as; Subcarrier spacing, CP, Symbol duration, slot length, and overheads will be scalable based on the availability of network and operating frequency.

Observations

CP will be smaller to increase spectral efficiency compare to 4G, in particular in mmW.  CP also helps in channel estimation of known signal.

Subcarrier, SC, spacing will be larger to mitigate Doppler shift due to time variant fading channel.

Both CP and SC will be scalable.

ORTENGA provides link budget analysis, transceiver line up behavioral model and/or simulation.  MODEM interface definitions and algorithms.

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Posted on February 20, 2019 

Fading Manifestations and Mitigation Techniques

The phenomenon of fluctuating signals at the receiver is called Fading.  In practice, the signal fluctuation or fading could be up to 30dB.  The fading is function of frequency, environment or channel, symbol rate, etc.

The following diagram illustrates fading manifestations to large and small scales.  Large scale fading occurs due to Non-Line Of Sight, NLOS, reflection of signal off objects much larger than wavelength.  Whereas, small scale fading occurs by objects which are in order of wavelength or smaller.

OFDM addresses Flat and Slow fading by radio architecture and waveform metrics.  Fast and frequency selective fading are addressed by receiver equalizer.

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Posted on February 17, 2019 

Antenna Tuners

Historically antenna tuners meant any passive interface impedance matching device between the antenna and the RF front end.  This terminology has carried over to UE and/or mobile devices.  In addition, as the need for multiple bands antenna increased, the need for antennas that can operate at multiple bands became prime interest of ODMs.  Nowadays, antenna tuning could either imply antenna impedance tuning or antenna aperture tuning.   The aperture tuning mechanism is part of antenna structure and changes antenna resonance frequency, hence operating at multiple bands.

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Posted on February 15, 2019 

5G Use Cases Decomposed to Communications Platform

5G next generation Wireless Communications Standards is shaping to 3 distinct use cases, namely;

mMTC = massive Machine Type Communications

uRLLC = ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications

eMBB = enhanced Mobile BroadBand

mMTC is Very Low Throughput, VLT, communications between machines and data centers which collect and analyze data for either consumers and/or enterprises. This is the definition of NB-IoT, Narrow Band Internet of Things.

uRLLC is connecting mission critical end points.  This could be communications between medical operating table and remote surgeon.

eMBB is Very High Throughput, VHT, mobile applications, what is known today as UE.

Each of the above use cases has specific applications and distinct target, therefore would require different HW/FW/SW to operate in its environment.  In other words, decomposing the Application Layer down to distinct NET, MAC, PHY layers.

The following diagram illustrates the high level decomposition of the above 5G use cases.

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Posted on February 14, 2019 

5G Beamforming Architectures

The BeamForming architectures can be categorized into ABF, DBF, and HBF.

Analog Beamforming, ABF, controls the required phase shift in the RF front end in analog domain.  Due to the nature of analog components and variations of part to part over frequency and temperature, each device has to be calibrated before operation.

Digital Beamforming, DBF, controls the required phase shift in the digital domain at BBU/MODEM.  Due to nature of digital process tight control, the calibration requirement is relaxed significantly if not all.  However, the price for that is multiple transceiver units, therefore, additional power consumption.

Hybrid Beamforming, HBF, controls the required phase shift in both Analog and Digital domains.  Analog and Digital are used for coarse and fine tuning, respectively.  The HBF is typically chosen for large arrays in order to optimize Calibration vs. BOM and Power consumption.  This is the architecture of choice when scaling for large array is required.

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ORTENGA services will include but not limited to analyze trade-offs for new product architecture, line up and behavior model, down select ASIC or budgeting blocks within the ICs (in case you are semiconductor business), define interfaces, analyze self-interfering, filtering, intermodulation, phase noise, thermal noise, quantization noise, I/Q imbalance, headroom, dynamic range, frequency planning, and/or validating the design.

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Posted on February 8, 2019 

5G Beam Forming Options, Diodes, LCD, MEMS Comparison

In order to achieve very high throughput, VHT, high SINR for high M-ary QAM has to be achieved.  That implies actively beamforming connectivity between transmitter and receiver.  Beamforming is a product of antenna array design, where inter element phase shifting occur during the operation.

Ferrite phase shifters have been used in legacy Phased Array Antennas for military applications and are very expensive.  Commercial market has been using Diodes, MEMS and LCD for 5G beamforming.  The following table summarizes the comparison between these options.

Diodes, LCD, MEMS 5G BF Comparison

The comparison above table is based on the current technology and there are innovative techniques that can overcome some of the shortcoming depending on appropriate trade-offs.

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Posted on February 6, 2019 

Plan for Success

Are you designing and developing a new product for future wireless market?  If so, do you have to anticipate what the market look like in couple of years?

You are not alone in this journey and anyone with this challenge has to make some calls now and wait to see it bears fruit.

Unless you are part of big corporation with returning customers with specific request which allows you to design those feasible requirements into the new product roadmap, you have some blind views which would impact your new product.

Many new products do not make it to volume productions or global market with target ROI just because of over or under specifications.

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Posted on January 7, 2019 

What are the Criteria for Startups to be acquired by a Bigger Company?

In high tech industry, every year many small startups companies are being acquired by bigger and profitable organizations.  What triggers these big companies to acquire Startups can typically be summarized in 3 major criteria.

Technology

First the startup has to have a new technology which would have use cases in the market space and uniquely positioned to surpass any other competitor that may exist.

Timeline

The new technology should bear fruit by less than 2 years.  This timeline includes from acquisition to final product in the hands of end users and customers.

Cost

The new technology development should increase the bigger company bottom line with healthy margin and be synergic by complementing big company products portfolio.

In practice, many of the big companies have already invested into the startups prior to acquisition and know them inside out.  The big company knows the issues/challenges and already have concrete plan in addressing them while acquired.

Startup Valuation

Obviously for this acquisition to be successful and smooth transition, the founders of startups must be on board.  Every startup has venture capitalist that owns a significant portion of the organization, both people on top and new Intellectual Properties, IP.  The investor has to be satisfied with the return of their investments plus expected profit while they know by prolonging the transaction would not bring them any more value on their investments.  The biggest assets of any Startup are its IP.  The IP consists of existing and incoming patents and most importantly the engineering that designed and developed the new product.

The preparation prior to acquisition could take between 3 to 6 months.

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Posted on January 5, 2019 

Product Over and/or Under Specifications

Do you have a new product that does not sale as it was anticipated?

If so, you are facing an issue which many companies especially startups has.  The new product is either Under Specified for features and metrics that the market needs, or if it costs more than what market wants to pay, it is Over Specified for some other parameters.

In case of many startups with a new product, they can both miss the required feature sets as well as over specifying some parameters such that the unit cost is much more than what the market is willing to pay.  Therefore, they are facing with the product that does not sell and even with marked down prices and/or discounts, the product can’t be sold with any margin, therefore it is bottom line loss and drives the product to extinction.

You can always fix a design issue with another revision, however product mis-definition cannot be fixed with another revision.

Product definition is the most important part of any new product, especially for new technology and/or market.  It requires system engineering with business acumen to research and define marketable feature sets with specific use cases and cost target in mind.

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Posted on January 2, 2019