Phased-array beamforming software module for 5g, radar, EW systems

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By Graham Prophet

The software will, Keysight says predict performance degradations in 5G, satellite and radar, and electronic warfare (EW) systems that use RF-, digital- and hybrid-beamforming architectures, using model-based design and verification from nonlinear RF and baseband algorithms up to complete, moving system scenarios.


The W1720EP Phased Array Beamforming Kit is an add-on software simulation personality for the SystemVue 2016.08 design environment. The software enables researchers and system architects working on platforms using beamforming algorithms for 5G, satellite, NewSpace, radar and EW applications, to reduce interference and power consumption, while increasing physical range.


AESA systems can range from 16 to 256 elements for 5G applications to hundreds of elements in satellite systems, and many thousands of individual baseband and RF signal paths in military systems. Keysight says its EEsof EDA W1720EP Phased Array Beamforming Kit overcomes two key challenges facing AESA systems:


– Engineers can model highly parallel architectures across multiple simulation domains, including nonlinear RF simulation, as well as a dataflow system level. This allows multiple teams to use the same tool and make architectural trade-offs not previously possible.

– Engineers can also model the signals as single beams, or maintain access to the individual signals passing through the arrays. This enables multi-function, 3D conformal arrays to be validated in higher-level system scenarios using active signalling between multiple transmitters and receivers.


By incorporating MathWorks’ MATLAB Script, SystemVue integrates existing algorithms and extends array design tools to the RF and system design communities. This allows system modellers to explore realistic performance of baseband and RF beamforming architectures to save cost and complexity, and streamlines R&D design efficiency across disciplines.

The kit, Keysight adds, aids ease of design, with a simple use model and ability to quickly simulate sophisticated multi-function arrays and adaptive beamforming algorithms. Its enhanced 5G and EW accuracy derives from the software’s ability to allow beam width, direction and sidelobe levels (e.g., system performance) to account for underlying analogue nonlinearities, using measured X-parameters, S-parameters and mismatch; noise, frequency dependence, quantization effects and 3DEM patterns of the RF design

Lower unit cost can flow from accounting for statistical variations, more aggressive design margins for a given delivered performance, and estimates of power dissipation


“Organizations delivering products with phased-array subsystems typically use five to ten different, unconnected design tools; not counting spreadsheets,” said Daren McClearnon, system-level marketing manager with Keysight EDA. “By bringing together algorithmic research with superior RF, application reference IP in 5G and radar, and links to the latest wideband test and measurement equipment, SystemVue’s new software module allows users to cross-validate both the RF and baseband from proposal to test, using a common framework.”


Keysight EDA’s W1720EP Phased Array Beamforming Kit complements any SystemVue environment. The Keysight W1905 Radar and W1906 5G baseband libraries will include the beamforming kit when SystemVue 2016.08 is released. For SystemVue users in other beamforming applications, including satellite communications, Keysight suggests the W1467 SystemVue Array Architect bundle.


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