Thalia Design Automation
Thalia Design Automation

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.

Bluetooth analog front end block diagramIn 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 22nm 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
  • Mixers
  • Power amplifiers
  • Temperature sensing blocks

You can find out more about some of the projects we have completed by downloading the case studies below.

Analog schematic porting

Thalia deployed its unique schematic porting solution to accelerate and cost-reduce the process of  porting a customer’s Bluetooth design from a 28nm to a 40nm process node

Migration of a PLL to a 28nm process

As part of a wider process migration of a WiFi system, Thalia used a combination of design expertise and AMALIA design automation to retarget a PLL design to a 28nm process

Design centering of an LNA

Thalia achieved design centering for intermodulation and power reduction of a low-noise amplifier solution with savings in project cycle time of more than 50%

Rapid generation of a family of LDOs

Thalia saved one of its customers 60% in design time and substantial costs, by generating a complete family of LDO variants from a single 20mA design.