Analog and RF design for Bluetooth
With its diversity of sub-standards, Bluetooth presents unique challenges to the designer of analog and mixed-signal circuits. Thalia’s analog / RF / mixed signal tools and methodology can help
Bluetooth: the analog and mixed-signal challenge
Bluetooth comes in many “flavors”. This presents a challenge for analog and mixed signal designers, particularly working at sub-40nm process nodes.
In addition to the familiar Bluetooth Classic we now have Bluetooth 4.0, which itself includes a standard high-speed mode, a low-energy mode with limited data rate, and a single-mode Bluetooth LE standard designed to keep power consumption to a minimum.
Now, more than ever, Bluetooth IP providers need to address these diverse requirements with a full range of solutions – and to give their customers absolute freedom to choose the right foundry partner and process node. With its unique combination of targeted design automation and experienced design resources, Thalia allows analog and mixed signal IP providers to do just that.
In multiple customer engagements, we have successfully reduced the burden of analog reuse and retargeting projects, shortening timescales and reducing costs by up to 50%. For example, we recently retargeted a customer’s complete Bluetooth RF solution from 28nm to 40nm technology, allowing them to provide a greater range of solutions balancing cost, performance and power consumption, and addressing multiple market ‘sweet spots’.
Increasingly, the market is demanding a more agile approach to analog IP creation and reuse. The aim is to deliver ‘IP on demand’; solutions that are an exact fit to customer requirements. This is only possible if the IP provider has invested in capabilities and is following a strategy that allows rapid performance optimization, variant creation and process retargeting of existing IPs.
At Thalia we take a “top-to-bottom” approach that encompasses the entire system – not only individual IP blocks. Every IP we work on is verified and optimized for specification performance in the target process. We can fine-tune the performance and power requirements of a complete Bluetooth front end solution against schedules that are measured in weeks.
At the block level, we have completed customer projects encompassing the full range of analog and RF blocks, including:
- Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs)
- Bandgaps & low drop-out regulators (LDOs)
- Digital-to-analog converters (DACs)
- Integer and fractional phase-locked loops (PLLs)
- Local Oscillators, XOs
- Low noise Amplifiers
- Power amplifiers
- Temperature sensing blocks
You can find out more about some of the projects we have completed by downloading the case studies below.