by Glen Clark, VP of R&D for Custom ICs and PCBs, Cadence
MPD: Technologies such as direct RF sampling are reducing the number of analog components in receivers and, increasingly, transmitters as well. Do you feel that the “digitalization of RF” will have an impact on your business?
Specific to direct RF sampling, this trend has been happening for a range of applications for several years as A/D conversion technology continues to improve and move up in frequency. Receiver architectures may change with the elimination of some RF components such as down-converting mixers, but the retention of certain RF blocks such as low noise amplifiers (LNAs), filters and switch banks remain. With the proliferation of multichannel communications, there is a need for innovative and highly integrated power combining networks. While architectures and component lineups will evolve, there’s still a lot of high-frequency engineering taking place in the RF front end, with or without direct RF sampling.
While this year’s question talks about the shift of RF sampling from analog to digital, it could just have easily been a question about the perceived shift in our industry from III-V to silicon. Working to stay ahead of design trends is a continual task/ask at Cadence. We view design trends as inflection points that present opportunities for us and our customers to innovate. RF is pervasive and is in a wide breadth of markets from not only communications but also to aerospace/defense, automotive, IoT, biomedical and more. So, whether the RF facet of the design is found in the IC, PCB or module, Cadence software is there. Enabling customers to successfully design end products/electronic systems is where Cadence is strong. That includes designing from the integrated circuit (IC) and outward to the full system, whether that be the chip, the packaged chip, the chip on the board, or the board and its connector, or even beyond. The bottom line is that Cadence is prepared with a breadth of products that enable customers to adapt and adopt to such inflection points.