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Address 4G issues with SystemVue

Posted: 23 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE-Advanced? 3GPP? EDA tools?

3GPP is now developing LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), an emerging mobile communications standard being developed by. Specified as part of Release 10 of the 3GPP specifications, it is now approved for 4G IMT-Advanced. LTE-A leverages many existing LTE Release 8/9 parameters, while also incorporating a number of enhancements, including carrier aggregation, an enhanced multiple access scheme and MIMO transmission, multihop transmission, coordinated multipoint (CoMP) transmission/reception, and support for heterogeneous networks. These enhancements enable significant benefits, but they also create baseband and RF design challenges that further complicate the 4G physical layer (PHY) architecture development.

Next-generation electronic design automation (EDA) tools, with their array of new capabilities, offer a viable resolution to this dilemma. The trick is in understanding what these new capabilities are and how they can be used to overcome 4G challenges.

A number of EDA tools available on the market today can be used for LTE-based design; however, creating superior systems designs for the emerging LTE-A standard requires an entirely new set of functionality. Some of the key capabilities required include:

???An instrument-grade Standards Intellectual Property (IP) reference that can be used throughout the design process and enable algorithmic modeling that actually stays in touch with both RF and system-level performance;
???A modular top-down electronic system level (ESL) design approach that spans both baseband and RF domains;
???High-performance measurement and modeling techniques; and
???An open SW/HW platform, with single-vendor worldwide applications and support.

Figure 1: SystemVue acts as a system-level design cockpit, unifying a range of cross-domain capabilities into one environment, including the baseband algorithm design, baseband hardware implementatio, RF system architecture, RF hardware design, and system integration and verification.

To better understand how these capabilities enable designers to overcome 4G challenges, consider the example of the SystemVue EDA environment, an EDA environment for ESL design that offers the four capabilities previously identified (figure 1). Focused on the PHY of wireless communications systems, it enables system architects and algorithm developers to combine signal processing innovations with accurate RF system modeling, interaction with test equipment, and algorithm-level reference IP and applications. The W1918 LTE-Advanced library is an option to SystemVue that provides 100 reference models, coded sources and receivers, and testbenches for 3GPP Releases 8, 9 and 10.

Figure 2: SystemVue's W1918 LTE-A baseband verification library provides engineers with the algorithmic references they need for model-based design throughout the entire design flow.

Challenge 1
Gaining access to a working algorithmic reference that can be used throughout the design flow. Algorithmic or IP references are a critical component of model-based design. Virtually everyone involved in the design process requires access to some level of algorithm reference, whether it's an individual designer or different teams of engineers. The problem lies in finding a reference that can be used by the entire design team, throughout the entire design flow.

Solution: Answering this challenge requires an EDA solution that supports model-based design and is able to deliver IP to different teams of engineers throughout the design flow (figure 1). In the case of SystemVue, because it provides a cross-domain PHY modeling framework for model-based design, it can be used to create a working PHY that integrates real-world baseband and RF using any combination of software, hardware, simulation, and measurements. The W1918 library provides the open, "Golden Reference" for that model-based design (figure 2). The reference can be used throughout the design process and ensures that any algorithmic modeling is done with awareness of both RF and system-level performance.

Challenge 2
Ensuring flexible early verification and minimizing non-recurring engineering (NRE) cost. As an emerging standard, LTE-A can be difficult to verify. Standard-compliant test benches (e.g., TS 36.101-104) must be configured that require scripting and reference IP, and incur NRE cost. In addition, many verification associated tests (e.g., throughput testing) require a completed, operational system with closed feedback loop.

Solution: Meeting this challenge requires pre-configured, standards-based testbenches, a complete working reference PHY to start the design process with, and support for specialized measurements like throughput, EVM and ACLR. It also requires highly-parameterized sources that can be used as open block diagram references for algorithm developers, or to provide customizable test vectors for download to test equipment for hardware verification.

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