To provide key capabilities and major enhancements for addressing design challenges of highly-integrated RF/microwave components found in communications, phased-array radar and other electronic systems, National Instruments has released the Version 13 of its AWR Design Environment.

Design improvements

NI AWR Design Environment V13 covers numerous innovations in design flow management and simulation for monolithic microwave IC (MMIC), RFIC, multi-chip module and PCB technologies. Simulation capabilities have been expanded within the microwave office APLAC harmonic balance (HB) and visual system simulator (VSS) system-level simulation engines and speed improvements have been made to both its AXIEM planar 3D and Analyst arbitrary 3D electromagnetic (EM) solvers.

Design automation and simulation have been enhanced for multi-chip modules with greater support for multi-technology process design kits (PDKs) within a single project, OpenAccess (schematic) databases and APLAC co-simulation, Spectre RFIC netlists, as well as simplified EM layout and port creation. For PCB design, an import wizard supports ODB++ and IPC2851 databases to provide interoperability with mainstream third-party PCB layout tools. Layout editing capabilities have also been added, along with simplified multi-technology management. Furthermore, the EM Socket II architecture within V13 offers improved third-party EM simulation flows for AWR Connected partner solutions from ANSYS, CST and Sonnet, giving designers access to alternate EM simulators within NI AWR Design Environment.

Accelerates product development

V13 also addresses specific system requirements with accurate simulated RF front-end component measurements provided through communication libraries for 5G candidate modulation waveforms and phased-array behavioural model enhancements. RF power amplifier designers can now use the system-level load-pull analysis in VSS to generate contours for communication performance metrics such as adjacent channel power ratio (ACPR) and error vector magnitude (EVM). RF filter designers can take advantage of capabilities in the iFilter synthesis tool to accelerate their product development and designers of passive and control components such as transformers, couplers and mixers can benefit from the synthesis capabilities and powerful optimisation methods using proprietary genetic algorithms.

In addition to design automation and simulation enhancements, user support has been expanded to bring insight to the software in terms of interactive guided help and knowledge base content.