It Takes Analog Performance to Make a Digital Radio

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  • Author: Gary Breed
New radio designs emphasize digital techniques to obtain operational flexibility—from multi-band/multi-standard wireless handsets to encrypted, frequency-agile military radios. In addition, demand for size and cost reduction has created a major effort to minimize the analog circuitry and replace it with cheaper, smaller digital circuitry. There are significant benefits from this move to a “nearly all digital” design. Digital circuits can be more complicated than their analog equivalents, but they are numerically pre-cise and easy to manufacture. The analog circuits being replaced may be conceptually simple, but they rely on precise manufacturing for consistent performance, sometimes including laser trimming and tuning.