Nujira speeds envelope-tracking adoption with ‘EasyET’ design tool



Nujira, a leader in Envelope Tracking (ET) technology, has announced the availability of EasyET, a development toolkit that radically simplifies the deployment of ET and enables handset designers to achieve maximum RF front end system performance with minimal design effort. Nujira will be showing EasyET at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 24-27 February.

EasyET is a combination of PA characterization tools, reference hardware and a suite of software that reduces ET development time for platform vendors and handset OEMs by up to three months. By maximizing flexibility, EasyET enables rapid development and performance tuning of multiple region-specific RF front end platform configurations.

Julian Hildersley, VP of Applications at Nujira, said: "We know ET is a complicated technology to get right. The hardware challenges of ET have largely been resolved, but new demands on the RF front end have made software development much more complex. One of Nujira’s strengths is our system and software expertise and, with the introduction of EasyET, we are streamlining the design flow and removing the software bottlenecks for chipset vendors and handset OEMs.

“You can compare ET to the introduction of fuel injection in the automotive industry – while the additional system complexity initially lengthened the development cycle, the technology quickly became universally adopted because the ultimate benefits were too significant to ignore. The benefits of ET are apparent to everyone and EasyET makes unlocking them significantly easier.”

ET introduces a new set of variables into the low-level firmware associated with transmit power control, linearization and production calibration. The adoption of ET also coincides with the introduction of more complex multimode multiband (MMMB) power amplifiers (PAs), and the move from GPIO controlled PAs to MIPI RFFE serial control, which now requires vendor-specific programming sequences to control each individual RF front end component. As a result there has been a significant jump in complexity for low-level firmware development to support the RF front end.

Software complexity is further increased because platform vendors increasingly need to deliver and support multiple regional reference designs to handset OEMs, with each design supporting a different set of frequency bands and multiple sources of hardware components.

EasyET allows a single firmware build to support multiple RF front end configurations and components by simply modifying configuration tables stored in flash memory. EasyET also includes the device characterization and platform configuration tools allowing chipset vendors and OEMs to generate the required configuration tables.

Hildersley continued: “Everyone benefits if the adoption of ET can be accelerated, which is why we have always focused on simplifying ET implementation. Having a high performance ET IC simplifies the problem, but the increasing software complexity in the RF front end is a very real challenge for the handset industry. EasyET solves it.”

Hardware and software tools include:
-ET Surface Explorer - The world’s most advanced ET PA characterization system, which now supports a variety of third party test and measurement platforms, and can also be run on the target hardware platform;
-EasyET Configuration Manager - A set of software configuration tools, which make it easy for platform vendors and OEMs to mix and match RF front end components, and export the required control and calibration tables without rewriting any firmware.
-EasyET Universal RFFE Driver - A low-level software architecture for the RF front end driver, enabling chipset vendors to support multiple components and optimize performance with a single firmware build. All component-specific ET IC, PA and switch parameters (including RFFE timing and programming sequences) are stored together with calibration data in flash-based configuration tables, rather than being hard-coded into the firmware.
-A range of hardware reference designs featuring Nujira’s NCT-L1300, the world’s highest performance ET IC, and best-in-breed ET PAs from a number of tier 1 suppliers.

Nujira is currently deploying EasyET with a number of leading platform chipset partners, and will be releasing EasyET to selected OEMs in April.