Month: July 2016

Modular Smart Antenna-RF Front End System for Handheld Devices and Base Stations

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UCLA researchers in the department of Electrical Engineering have developed a novel modular implementation of a radio frequency (RF) front end system that simplifies the design of active antenna systems for base station applications and enables users to demonstrate the <a href=: and- blog/safe-antenna- is-the- answer-for- persistant-antenna- problems/”>seamless integration of an antenna to their

RF front end chipsets

As electronic devices are becoming smaller, systems components are being placed closer to each other in order to conserve space. From this, the problem of interactions among these electronic components arises. In transmissions systems, this interaction occurs between the antenna and the RF front end chipset. The current method of solving this issue is to design a wideband system that allows for such interactions. However, to realize stable, pure, long-range communication, the demand in narrow band frequency is increasing and systems are required to be highly efficient. It is therefore essential to provide isolation between different components of a system while conserving space in order to design more efficient products.

In current antenna and front end systems, each component is designed independently, with this isolation making it difficult to demonstrate effectiveness of chipsets. When these components are brought within working distance of the antennas, they may disrupt the mutual coupling within the antenna and cause detuning. Makers of RF front end systems thus only demonstrate their chipset as a standalone to their customers. A system that would enable companies to demonstrate to their customers the interaction of these chipsets with their antennas easily and without having to understand the remaining parts of the system could increase customer confidence and therefore increase sales and revenue.
UCLA researchers have developed a modular implementation of RF front end systems. This invention both enables users to demonstrate the seamless integration of an antenna to their RF Front End chipsets and simplifies the design of active antenna systems for base station applications. This system includes a transceiver for transmitting and receiving signals, a dual band antenna antenna, and a duplexer. The transceiver is capable of modulating outgoing baseband signals and demodulating received signals to baseband, and the duplexer is used to provide frequency selective distribution of the received signals and sends the transmitting signals to the antenna while providing isolation between transmitted and received signals. The transceiver system and the antenna do not couple with each other and as a result, do not distort the transmitted or received signals.


Chipset design and demonstration
Active and smart antenna systems for base stations


No coupling / distortion between the transceiver system and the antenna

Integration engineers do not need to know the details of the transceiver system or the antenna in order to demonstrate this system

But what do those bars really represent?

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We all check how many bars we have on our smartphones and assume it’s an accurate guide to how strong our

signal is. But what do those bars really represent?

There’s no standard. They do indicate signal strength, but it’s up to the handset manufacturer to come up with whatever algorithm they want. They certainly want to do something that is appropriate for the consumer, it needs to be meaningful information, but the details are up to them.

Nextivity makes processors and products that boost cell phone receptivity Its products have been approved by the FCC in the U.S. and by over 180 operators globally. The company also supplies the boosters that T-Mobile gives away to customers in the U.S. to improve the quality of their service. Consequently, Steve does a lot of signal testing.

How quickly do bars change?

Phones are complex and frankly, some phones may not update the bars on the screen very often. “We’ve seen in excess of 15 minutes without an update on the number of bars. What you’re seeing, versus what is reality, can be two very different things, and that can make it difficult sometimes to use a handset as a measuring tool.” That means, if you’ve ever walked around with your phone held in the air like a divining rod, staring at those bars, willing them to jump, you may be wasting your time. It depends on what kind of phone you have. An iPhone might show you two or three bars, because of lower signal-to- noise ratio, because of issues on the network, whereas an Android right next to it shows five bars. If one walks away from the booster, he/she would see the signal level drop on the Android, so the number of bars gradually decreases, whereas in that specific case of heavy loading, an iPhone might show less bars when one is right next to the booster, but as the person walks away it will remain relatively constant, because it’s heavily favoring this network loading issue.

How can you make emergency calls with no bars?

When you make an emergency call in the U.S., your phone uses any available channel from any operator, one could even be low on battery, where your phone wouldn’t normally let you make a phone call, but it will let you make an emergency call at all costs. It’s actually a legal requirement in the U.S. and many other countries, but it doesn’t relate to the bar system.

What can you do to boost your signal?

Booster technology has been restricted recently after the FCC brought in new regulations. The agency

has clamped down on some older amplifying technology because it was causing problems for the operators,

who pay a lot billions to license the spectrum from the government.

Nextivity’s boosters start at around the same price as a smartphone. But if you’re with T-Mobile and having

problems, call them and ask about Cel-Fi Signal Boosters.

Now that we know what the bars are really showing, and how to measure the signal strength for ourselves, we’re

off to check out that field test mode.