RF techniques for IEEE 802.15.4: circuit design and device modelling

Abuelmaatti, Ali (2008) RF techniques for IEEE 802.15.4: circuit design and device modelling. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The RF circuitry in the physical layer of any wireless communication node is arguably its most important part. The front-end radio is the hardware that enables communication by transmitting and receiving information. Without a robust and high performance front-end, all other higher layers of signal processing and data handling in a wireless network are irrelevant.
This thesis investigates the radio circuitry of wireless-networked nodes, and introduces several proposals for improvement. As an emerging market, analysis starts by examining available and ratified network standards suitable for low power applications. After identifying the IEEE 802.15.4 standard (commercially known as ZigBee) as the one of choice, and analysing several front-end architectures on which its transceiver circuitry can be based, an application, the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is selected to examine the capabilities of the standard and its most suitable architecture in satisfying the application’s requirements. From this compatibility analysis, the most significant shortcomings are identified as interference and power consumption. The work presented in this thesis focuses on the power consumption issues.
A comparison of available high frequency transistor technologies concludes Silicon CMOS to be the most appropriate solution for the implementation of low cost and low power ZigBee transceivers. Since the output power requirement of ZigBee is relatively modest, it is possible to consider the design of a single amplifier block which can act as both a Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) in the receiver chain and a Power Amplifier (PA) on the transmitter side. This work shows that by employing a suitable design methodology, a single dual-function amplifier can be realised which meets the required performance specification. In this way, power consumption and chip area can both be reduced, leading to cost savings so vital to the widespread utilisation of the ZigBee standard. Given the importance of device nonlinearity in such a design, a new transistor model based on independent representation of each of the transistor’s nonlinear elements is developed with the aim of quantifying the individual contribution of each of the transistors nonlinear elements, to the total distortion.
The methodology to the design of the dual functionality (LNA/PA) amplifier starts by considering various low noise amplifier architectures and comparing them in terms of the trade-off between noise (required for LNA operation) and linearity (important for PA operation), and then examining the behaviour of the selected architecture (the common-source common-gate cascode) at higher than usual input powers. Due to the need to meet the far apart performance requirements of both the LNA and PA, a unique amplifier design methodology is developed The design methodology is based on simultaneous graphical visualisation of the relationship between all relevant performance parameters and corresponding design parameters. A design example is then presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the methodology and the quality of trade-offs it allows the designer to make. The simulated performance of the final amplifier satisfies both the requirements of ZigBee’s low noise and power amplification. At 2.4GHz, the amplifier is predicted to have 1.6dB Noise Figure (NF), 6dBm Input-referred 3rd-order Intercept Point (IIP3), and 1dB compression point of -3.5dBm. In low power operation, it is predicted to have 10dB gain, consuming only 8mW. At the higher input power of 0dBm, it is predicted to achieve 24% Power-Added Efficiency (PAE) with 8dB gain and 22mW power consumption.
Finally, this thesis presents a set of future research proposals based on problems identified throughout its development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: ZigBee, Front-End, CMOS, Transistor, Amplifier, LNA, PA, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Modelling, Linearity, ADS, Microwave, Circuit Design, IEEE 802.15.4, QPSK, wireless
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Thayne, Prof. Iain
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mr Ali Abuelmaatti
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-243
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 May 2008
Last Modified: 29 May 2017 13:42
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/243

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