Architectures and Circuits for Cellular Receivers: an Industrial Perspective

The design of RFICs for Cellular Systems has always presented a unique challenge. The spectrum is highly regulated and also commercially valuable resulting in standards bodies, such as 3GPP, setting stringent requirements. The handset operators set even more demanding requirements and the systems must operate in numerous global frequency bands as well as maintaining backward compatibility to systems devised more than 30 years ago. This talk will discuss how industry is approaching the design of these receivers using examples from three different areas each of which poses its own unique challenges. Firstly, how the most advanced versions of LTE (LTE Advanced Pro) and the first versions of 5G New Radio (NR) utilize carrier aggregation to achieve in excess of 2Gbit/s of receive data rates. 5G mm-wave will then be discussed and the challenges these very wideband receivers present when combined with the requirement of still achieving very high levels of spectral efficiency e.g. 256-QAM. Finally, the area of Cellular IOT will be reviewed with a focus on the LTE NB-IOT standard where the emphasis is on achieving very low power consumption.