A Comparison of RF sampling and Intermediate Frequency Architectures with High-Speed Data Converters

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Digital transceivers have been used widely for the past decades for multiple purposes. In particular, they are the source of most of our communication capabilities today from radio transmission to satellite based communication including the future 5G network. Most radar systems are also using digital transceivers to generate and recover microwave frequencies in order to identify targets for surveillance purposes but also for earth observation and monitoring. With the expansion of high-speed data converters, these applications using microwave frequencies are looking more and more towards innovative architectures in order to bring new benefits and efficiency at the system level. These benefits are generally driven by SWAP-C requirements – that is reducing the size, weight, power consumption and cost of the system. But time-to-market and flexibility of a given solution are also critical factors. These are answered through a focus toward SDR (Software Defined Radio) and more recently SDM (Software Defined Microwave) in order to be able to address multiple end applications with unique system hardware capable of supporting multiple configurations and needs.

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