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Jobs difference btw RFIC and RF Systems - RF Cafe Forums

Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.

Post subject: Jobs difference btw RFIC and RF Systems Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:03 pm


Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:37 am
Posts: 6
Location: SoUtH EaSt of AsIa

I would like to ask the general job scopes difference between RFIC design and RF systems design.

As far as what I know:
1. RFIC design
Tx/Rx chain components' transistor circuits design, such as mixer, LNA and PA circuits by extensive use of software simulations.

2. RF Systems design
Transmitter and receiver chain architectures design on blocks level, performance analysis on selecticity, sensitivity, dynamic range, system IP3, etc. Link budget analysis also falls under this specific job scope.

What are the rest of difference between these 2 positions in terms of RF knowledge required and daily engineering jobs?

I realize that the trend is shifting from PC boards to transceiver system on IC, but I like to know how these 2 positions differ in these contexts. Say, how is RF System designer's job scope in transceiver system IC design?

I have been working as engineer in RF/wireless industry for about 3 years, and most of my experience are test and measurements. I have strong interest on RF/Wireless communications and I am thinking it's time for me to move into RF design environment by pursuing MSEE.

Thus, I need some directions on RF design job natures. Appreciate the helps.


Post subject: Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:21 pm


Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:14 pm
Posts: 10
An RFIC Design Engineer will be doing transistor level design of circuits, working to meet block level specifications established by the RF System's Engineer.

An RF Systems Engineer will be reading the 2000 page specification to determine what the relevant RF specifications are, and selecting a transceiver architecture that will meet the specifications. Once the Transceiver architecture is selected, he will work to establish the block level specifications that the RFIC design engineers need.



Post subject: Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:33 am


Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:37 am
Posts: 6
Location: SoUtH EaSt of AsIa
Thanks RFDave, other questions I would like to ask about RF Systems are:

1. Do RF Systems engineers use some softwares to perform block level architecture designs and simulations?
2. How are the general process flow for architecture design/selection and for block level specifications formulation?
3. Another thing is decision on selection of digital modulation technique falls under RF Systems as well?


Post subject: Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:44 pm


Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:14 pm
Posts: 10

1-I generally use a combination of Excel and ADS to do the block level work.
2-The design process flow is really driven by cost and die size. I'm working in a high volume market, so it's really a decision between a Zero IF and a Low IF receiver. On the transmitter side, it's a similar approach.
3-Modulation is driven by the specification that you are working with.



Post subject: Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:15 am


Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:37 am
Posts: 6
Location: SoUtH EaSt of AsIa
Thanks again for the answers.

My last question is what are the aptitudes and qualifications (field of knowledge) a person must have in general in order to become a good RF systems engineer?

Anyone's inputs are most welcomed.


Post subject: Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:35 pm

Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:02 pm
Posts: 373
Location: Germany
Hello WaveRider,

A good System RF Engineer must have a good system knowledge not just in the field of RF but in other fields as SW, Digital Design etc. His knowledge should encompass the entire system aspects and at the same time he should be able to dive into each block that is part of the system. The RF System Engineer should be familiar and up-to-date with the newest technologies availabe in the market.

Hope this answers your question!

Best regards,

- IR

Posted  11/12/2012
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