EPCOS and Pulse Electronics

AWR Software Is the “Backbone” in Designing indie, the World’s First Operator-independent RF Hardware Platform


Project Background

indie is the operator-independent hardware platform that enables global LTE smartphones. Co-designed and optimized by EPCOS, a TDK group company, and Pulse Electronics, indie builds on advanced EPCOS multi-feed RF front-end technology and cutting-edge antenna technology from Pulse Electronics. indie provides the single RF platform sought by the Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) operator alliance.

The Design Challenge

The design challenge was to create an operator-independent RF hardware platform that enables global roaming and downlink inter-band carrier aggregation for future LTE mobile devices.

The Solution

The solution relied upon AWR's software, specifically Microwave Office, for the design of a 3-feed antenna system and RF front-end module architecture. The software enabled exploration and resulted in the elimination of the need for the region-specific duplexer matching (necessary in single-feed architectures) such that universal operator-independent applicability resulted. Moreover, the 3-feed architecture improves the system performance by up to 2 dB, and facilitates WLAN interoperability given better intermodulation linearity.

Additionally, Pulse used AWR software to create circuit simulations of the antenna system and the matching circuits, as well as a general documentation platform. EPCOS used Microwave Office for the circuit simulations of the front-end module including couplers, switches, duplexers, filters and diplexers, as well as for the modeling of the nonlinear passive duplexer.

Key features in Microwave Office that enabled this success:

Easy to use tool.

  • Microwave Office is more intuitive to use than other tools on the market and the documentation is likewise well received.
  • Enables the easy set-up of a single schematic for the testing of a large number of carrier aggregation pairs within the antenna and front-end module simulation.
  • The AWR technical support is fast and friendly.

The accuracy of AWR circuit simulation.

  • The front-end module performance compared very well to measurements.
  • AWR's online user-defined nonlinear models are flexible and easy to implement.
  • Quality of library components: models match well with real life measurements.

AWR Microwave Office makes it possible to accurately predict the performance of the antenna system together with the RF front-end module. Without detailed circuit simulation it would not have been possible to design and optimize the performance of the new RF hardware platform and to show that the indie platform has significant benefits over traditional approaches. Using Microwave Office as a "backbone" for the circuit simulation of both the antenna and the RF front-end module resulted in breakthrough success with the first universal RF hardware on the market.

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