Wireless connectivity is entering all corners of the applications space from phones and
computers to every day items like door bells as well as a plethora of new ideas
surrounding the internet of things. This comprehensive course is focussed on
understanding the essentials of RF communications from a system block diagram
perspective and showing how key, block level, parameters can be related to the system
specification to appreciate the radio systems as a whole.
The course builds from some basic concepts up to understanding the essentials of
sophisticated systems such as WiFi and 5G. It is intended to give designers a thorough
view of all key elements, from circuit blocks through the system level to network
concepts. Also, having an emphasis on practical aspects helps participants relate to
Dr. Ranson is a recognised expert in this field, running a successful consultancy for the
last 15 years, has >40 years experience in the RF and microwave industry and is a life
fellow of the IEEE. He is an established lecturer to industry with more that 50 courses in
Europe and North America and has been a visiting professor at Leeds University.
The course explains essential system performance from base band to RF and back.
Itexplains the basics of system performance from constituent component block characteristics, block interaction and the relation to the top-level system specifications.Various tools are used to provide accurate initial estimates of performance while others show the relative contribution of different elements. Together they help isolate criticalperformance parameters, giving designers tools for cost effective solutions with an understanding of the interrelated aspects.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
This is intended for system designers, those interested in adding radio communications functions to existing products and component specialists wanting to understand more about how the whole system works. It is suitable for established radio technology companies as well as those with new applications wanting to understand the opportunities available.
Day 1 – Fundamental Limits
The essential feature of any RF communications system is successfully detecting a small
signal against the background of noise whilst minimising the interference from other
signals and distortion. The first day introduces, or refreshes, standard concepts such as
noise figure and intermodulation (IM), showing the sources and ways to evaluate these
key concepts. It expands typical analyses with consideration of temperature,
compression and the evaluation of ADC performance in modern digital receivers. These
concepts are illustrated with practical examples and by developing a comprehensive,
multi-stage spreadsheet to solidify the calculations and better understand how the
performance of a cascade of system blocks is evaluated.
Day 2 – System Considerations
The second day describes issues associated with frequency translation, necessary to
convert the base band signal to an RF carrier for transmission, reception and
demodulation. The previous IM concepts are expanded to explain mixers with
illustrations of radio architectures using an intermediate frequency (IF) as well
important concepts associated with low IF, direct conversion and frequency translation
as part of the ADC process. There is an introduction to the RF link budget to understand
the key antenna and propagation concepts as well as channel impairments such as fading
and delay spread that lead to substantial variability in radio propagation. Also, since
filters are required at various parts of the signal chain, there is a discussion of standard
terminology, fundamental principles and ways to estimate complexity from the just
Day 3 – Examples of Implementation
In the final day, key concepts of modulation and access technologies are described with
relative merits illustrated by reference to established wireless standards such as
WCMDA, WiFi, LTE/5G and digital broadcast standards. Looking at these solutions helps
to illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches from basic QPSK,
through CDMA to the modern ideas using OFDM and MIMO. It shows how signals can be
designed to combating channel impairments, as well as optimising various resources such
as frequency re-use, RF bandwidth and power. Other important design choices such as
combining and sharing resources between many users and how concepts like MIMO are
used to achieve network throughputs that actually challenge the traditional idea of the
The course finishes with some perspective on the latest trends in radio communications
with a view on how they might be best utilised. It covers key concepts relating to
software defined radio (SDR) with a practical demonstration. As well as developments
such as those in, 5G / New Radio, full duplex and ideas triggered from the incredible
capabilities of the latest generation of RF ICs
Throughout the lectures, various practical tools including spreadsheets are used to
illustrate key issues and to provide information for future analysis and design. A copy of
all the Excel examples, many useful application notes, and alphabetic list of
abbreviations and other material is provided to each student on a memory stick. This is
made more accessible via an innovative wiki based hypertext structure that allows
easy access using a standard web browser.
Said about the course from previous participants:
"Extraordinary broad technical oriented systems overview."
"It was related to reality. A lot of examples. Useful hints, links. Presented tools that can be used for radio designing."
"Not only the dry math, but visually anchored (pictures, diagrams) etc."
"Getting insight into the more recent developments of radio design."
"Gives insight (many pictures / animations using the tools/black board) into the theory of radio."