Tuesday, 11 January 2022

An Introduction to Minimization of Drive Testing (MDT)

Over the last few years, Ralf Kreher has done some fantastic posts on Minimization of Drive Testing (MDT) on this blog (links at the bottom of this post). To complement that, here is a basic introductory tutorial looking at what exactly is meant by MDT and how it's done. 

Video embedded below:

The slides from the presentation are available here.

Please check out our 3GPP SON Series videos here.

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Tuesday, 4 January 2022

What is RF Front-End (RFFE) and why is it so Important?

As more technologies, frequency bands, antennas, etc., are crammed in our smartphones and tablets, it becomes essential for these devices to keep performing despite what technologies and spectrum are in use at any instant of time. This requires specialist design of the RF front end in our devices. Wikipedia explains it as:

In a radio receiver circuit, the RF front end, short for radio frequency front end, is a generic term for all the circuitry between a receiver's antenna input up to and including the mixer stage. It consists of all the components in the receiver that process the signal at the original incoming radio frequency (RF), before it is converted to a lower intermediate frequency (IF). In microwave and satellite receivers it is often called the low-noise block downconverter (LNB) and is often located at the antenna, so that the signal from the antenna can be transferred to the rest of the receiver at the more easily handled intermediate frequency.

Qualcomm is very active in this area as can be seen from the chart in the Tweet above. Back in October, Qualcomm announced ultraBAW, their new generation of micro acoustic filter technology that expands their RF front-end (RFFE) portfolio and opens up new 5G services and applications. They have a short intro video explaining RFFE:

It is also interesting to see from the Tweet above that on an average baseband + RFFE + connectivity chips cost Apple nearly $55 per device.

The analyst firm CCS Insight have also done some good work explaining RFFE and their analyst Wayne Lam has written a few detailed articles on this topic. Here are the links if you want to read further:

  • Advances in RF Front-Ends Made 5G Phones Possible (link)
  • Advances in 5G RF Front-Ends Lead to Longer Battery Life (link)

Their RFFE videos playlist is embedded below.

Also worth noting that a good modem and RF front-end, especially with 5G, can make a lot of difference in what speeds and coverage you can get

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