Power Amplifier Performance Verification Essentials

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Challenges of Power Amplifier Characterization

5G implementation requires a revolutionary transformation in communication technology. As a result, the wireless communications industry’s emphasis on system integration, power efficiency, and device reliability continues to grow. Critical requirements for 5G infrastructure necessitate faster development of highly integrated, reliable RF devices capable of faster, ultra-low latency data rates.

The power amplifier (PA) is essential to modern RF communication chains, shown in Figure 1. As such, the PA is a critical determining factor of transmission quality and battery life for 5G transmitters.

To satisfy 5G system requirements, developers need accurate and repeatable testing to verify transmitter component performance. The wide bandwidth and complex modulation schemes required to implement 5G impose stricter component error vector magnitude (EVM) qualifications than previous generations of telecommunication systems. Developers face increasing challenges in shortening system development cycles while certifying PA conformance with a traditional EVM measurement and vector signal analyzer (VSA) setup, shown in Figure 2.

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