Basics of Designing a Digital Radio Receiver (Radio 101)Brad Brannon, Analog Devices, Inc.Greensboro, NC
Abstract: This paper introduces the basics of designing adigital radio receiver. With many new advances in dataconverter and radio technology, complex receiver design hasbeen greatly simplified. This paper attempts to explain how tocalculate sensitivity and selectivity of such a receiver. It is not by any means an exhaustive exposition, but is instead a primer on many of the techniques and calculations involved in suchdesigns.
Many advances in radio design and architecture are nowallowing for rapid changes in the field of radio design. Thesechanges allow reduction of size, cost, complexity and improvemanufacturing by using digital components to replace un-reliable and in-accurate analog components. For this tohappen, many advances in semiconductor design andfabrication were required and have come to fruition over thelast few years. Some of these advances include betterintegrated mixers, LNA, improved SAW filters, lower costhigh performance ADCs and programmable digital tuners andfilters. This article summarizes the design issues with and theinterfacing of these devices into complete radio systems.
What is the radio?
Traditionally, a radio has been considered to be the ‘box’ thatconnects to the antenna and everything behind that, however,many system designs are segmented into two separate sub-systems. The radio and the digital processor. With thissegmentation, the purpose of the radio is to down convert andfilter the desired signal and then digitize the information.Likewise, the purpose of the digital processor is to take thedigitized data and extract out the desired information.An important point to understand is that a digital receiver isnot the same thing as digital radio(modulation). In fact, adigital receiver will do an excellent job at receiving any analogsignal such as AM or FM. Digital receivers can be used toreceive any type of modulation including any analog or digitalmodulation standards. Furthermore, since the core of thedigital processor is a digital signal processor (DSP), thisallows many aspects of the entire radio receiver itself becontrolled through software. As such, these DSPs can bereprogrammed with upgrades or new features based oncustomer segmentation, all using the same hardware.However, this is a complete discussion in itself and not thefocus of this article.The focus of this article is the radio and how to predict/designfor performance. The following topics will be discussed:1. Available Noise Power2. Cascaded Noise Figure3. Noise Figure and ADCs4. Conversion Gain and Sensitivity5. ADC Spurious Signals and Dither6. Third Order Intercept Point7. ADC Clock Jitter8. Phase Noise9. IP3 in the RF section
Single-Carrier vs. Multi-Carrier
There are two basic types of radios under discussion. The firstis called a single-carrier and the second a multi-carrierreceiver. Their name implies the obvious, however theirfunction may not be fully clear. The single carrier receiver is atraditional radio receiver deriving selectivity in the analogfilters of the IF stages. The multi-carrier receiver processes allsignals within the band with a single rf/if analog strip andderives selectivity within the digital filters that follow theanalog to digital converter. The benefit of such a receiver isthat in applications with multiple receivers tuned to differentfrequencies within the same band can achieve smaller systemdesigns and reduced cost due to eliminated redundant circuits.A typical application is a cellular/wireless local loopbasestation. Another application might be surveillancereceivers that typically use scanners to monitor multiplefrequencies. This applications allows simultaneous monitoringof many frequencies without the need for sequential scanning.
LNAXSelectFilter andGainXSelectFilter andGainBPFDSPFreq.Synth.Freq.Synth.ADC
Typical Single-Carrier ReceiverTypical Multi-Carrier Receiver
Benefits of Implementing a Digital Radio Receiver
Before a detailed discussion of designing a digital radioreceiver are discussed, some of the technical benefits need tobe discussed. These include Oversampling, Processing Gain,Undersampling, Frequency planning/Spur placement. Many of these provide technical advantages not otherwise achievablewith a traditional radio receiver design.
CHANNELS 1 – nNCOLPFLPFDSPINCLUDES:CHANNEL ENC.CHANNELDEC.EQUALIZATIONNETWORKINTERFACEAMPBPFNCOLPFLPFDSPINCLUDES:CHANNEL ENC.CHANNEL DEC.EQUALIZATIONNETWORKINTERFACEATTNMatrix