RF power amplifiers (PAs) are under pressure to perform as never before in a growing variety of applications. The technology is being called upon to support higher gain targets without adding cost, size, weight, or complexity. They’re also expected to deliver the necessary linearity and efficiency to accommodate higher order modulation schemes that are even more sensitive to distortion than their predecessors. Board space is at a premium, but until now the path to more compact solutions faced difficult peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) tradeoffs.
These challenges are being solved with a new generation of gallium-nitride (GaN) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) PAs that are seeing greater adoption where they’re needed most. With proper implementation, designers can maximize the value of these devices in applications ranging from space- and ground-based commercial and defense satellite communications to test equipment.
Expectations are particularly high for this technology’s use in 5G networks, none more so than in the unused millimeter-wave (mmWave) band that carriers are embracing for the most congested portions of their subscriber base.
The next generation of MILCOM platforms will need to leverage more modern communication technologies that have been developed to enable commercial platforms such as cell phones and Wi-Fi.
This article compares the benefits and challenges of three common receiver architectures: a heterodyne receiver, a direct sampling receiver.
This article reviews the strengths and weaknesses of two electronic beamforming techniques: phase shifters (PSs) and true time delays (TTDs).