New RF DAC Broadens Software-Defined Radio Horizon

High speed data converters have been used in communications applications for many years and can be found in much of the equipment that forms the basis of our connected world, from cellular telephone base stations to cable head-end equipment to radar and specialized communication systems. Recent technological advances have enabled clock rates on high speed data converters to move to higher and higher frequencies. In conjunction with the JESD204B high speed serial interface that enables practical management and transfer of output data, these higher clock rate data converters form a new class of converter called an RF (for radio frequency) data converter.

This article will focus on a new RF digital-to-analog converter (RF DAC) family of products, the AD9162 and AD9164, and their ability to broaden the software-defined radio (SDR) definition.