Can you hear me now (with 5G)?

By Sumit Vishwakarma

Remember the guy from the Verizon commercial “Can you hear me now”? The guy travels over and over many different locations across the U.S to check the cell coverage showing superiority of Verizon’s network coverage. Today, 5G can bring much relief to him, low bands of 5G can travel over hundreds of square miles and can pass through more obstacles, both indoors and out, providing better coverage and a stronger signal.

The baseband processing and radio frequency chips for the base stations behind new 5G networks require fast RF sampling using high speed ADCs. “RF sampling” is the technology of digitizing an RF signal with an ADC directly, without an analog frequency conversion to a lower IF (intermediate frequency) or baseband (Zero IF) before the signal is converted from analog to digital. [1]

5G is driving new wave of semiconductor chips

Sending RF signals directly to the ADC for conversion hasn’t been possible until recently. With advancement in process technology and design architectures, ADC sampling rates have increased to accommodate the higher RF frequencies. Direct RF sampling greatly simplifies the design and minimizes cost and complexity of base station receivers.

However, the design of these high sampling ADC is complex as the sampling rate must be at least twice the bandwidth of the signal being digitized. Our customers are designing and successfully verifying these ADCs with Siemens EDA Symphony mixed signal verification platform.

One example is from EESY-IC, a company based in Erlangen Germany, who used Symphony to verify their high-speed ADC which was designed for subsampling of RF signals for software-defined radio applications. Read the whitepaper here

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at