TI has announced two multiantenna wideband RF-sampling transceivers designed for radar, software-defined radio, and wireless 5G applications.

This week, Texas Instruments announced two new transceivers with a claim to industry-first claim, each featuring four 14-bit analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and four 14-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs) all on-chip.

The AFE7444 and the AFE7422 devices can each support up to eight antennae and 16 RF bands.

The units, known as Analog Front Ends (AFE) can sample nine gigasamples per second (GSPS) per DAC and up to three GSPS per ADC. Direct sampling of input frequencies well into the C-band range is enabled, and the need for additional frequency conversion stages is eliminated. Also made redundant are the oscillators, mixers, amplifiers, and filters that would otherwise be required.


The AFE7444. Image source: Texas Instruments


The units are designed for applications covering frequencies ranging anywhere from 10 MHz to 6 GHz. The transceivers’ architecture features an enhanced level of programmability, with flexible decimation options enabling optimization of the data bandwidth.

Both units measure a scant 17 mm by 17 mm. In addition, the fact that these units require no frequency conversion stages reduces the Bill of Materials (BOM) and frees up a lot of board space. This allows for the transceiver to be in close proximity to the antenna, enabling digital beamforming in high-frequency and high-density antenna arrays.

Both devices’ differential output paths have digital step attenuators (DSA), which enable tuning of output power. Each ADC input path includes dual DSA and RF and Digital power detectors. Flexible decimation options provide optimization of data bandwidth.


Important Specifications Common to Both Devices

  • NSD: –151 dBFS/Hz
  • AC performance at fIN = 2.6 GHz, –3 dBFS
  • SNR: 55 dBFS
  • SFDR: 73 dBc HD2 and HD3
  • SFDR: 91 dBc worst spur


The AFE7444

  • Four, 14-bit, 9-GSPS DACs
  • Up to 800-MHz signal bandwidth
  • Four 14-Bit, 3-GSPS ADCs
  • Up to 800-MHz signal bandwidth
  • Receives and transmits up to 800 MHz of information from each of the four antennae
  • Receive digital signal path:
    • Dual DDC per ADC
    • 3-phase coherent 32-bit Numerically Controlled Oscillators (NCO)s per DDC
    • Decimation ratio: 3x to 32x
  • Transmit digital signal path:
    • Dual DUC per DAC with 32-bit NCOs
    • Interpolation ratio: 8x to 36x


Functional Diagram for the AFE7444. Image source Texas Instruments.


The AFE7422

Features of this dual-channel, C-band device:

  • Two 14-bit, 9-GSPS DACs
  • Up to 1200-MHz signal bandwidth
  • Two 14-Bit, 3-GSPS ADCs
  • Up to 1500-MHz signal bandwidth
  • Receives and transmits 1.2 GHz from each of the two antennae.
  • Receive digital signal path:
    • Bypassable quad DDC per ADC
    • 3-phase coherent 32-bit NCOs per DDC
    • Decimation ratio: 2x to 32x
  • Transmit digital signal path:
    • Quad DUC per DAC with 32-bit NCOs
    • Interpolation ratio: 6x to 36x


Functional Diagram for the AFE7422. Image source Texas Instruments.


TI Support Speeds Up Time to Market

TI has made evaluation boards available for both of their RF transceivers. The AFE7444EVM supports development with the AFE7444, and the AFE7422EVM supports the AFE7422.

TI also provides its multichannel RF transceiver clocking reference design for radars and wireless 5G testers. Particularly useful for engineers designing radar and wireless 5G testers, this reference design demonstrates multichannel JESD204B compliant clock generation.

TI also offers an extensive series of thirteen videos entitled “Getting started with the AFE7444 and AFE7422”.



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