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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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NI AWR Design Environment Version 13 Now Available

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New features and enhancements improve RF and microwave design engineering productivity

NI AWR Design Environment Version 13 Now Available - RF CafeEl Segundo, California – January 26, 2017 - Version 13, the first major update in 2017 to NI AWR Design Environment, has been released. V13 provides key new capabilities and major enhancements to better address the design challenges associated with highly-integrated RF/microwave components commonly found in communications, phased-array radar and other electronic systems.

NI AWR Design Environment V13 introduces numerous innovations in design flow management and simulation, supporting monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC), RFIC, multi-chip module and printed circuit board (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, new support for OpenAccess (schematic) databases and APLAC co-simulation support for Spectre RFIC netlists, as well as simplified EM layout and port creation. For PCB design, a new import wizard supports ODB++ and IPC2851 databases to provide interoperability with mainstream third-party PCB layout tools. New layout editing capabilities have also been added, along with simplified multi-technology management. Furthermore, the new 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.

V13 addresses specific system requirements with highly accurate simulated RF front-end component measurements provided through new communication libraries for 5G candidate modulation waveforms and phased-array behavioral 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 new 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 new synthesis capabilities and powerful new optimization methods using proprietary genetic algorithms for more robust designs.

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

V13 New and Expanded Features at a Glance

Design Environment and Automation

  • ​Advanced multi-technology project support
  • New optimization methods
  • iFilter adds transmission zeros
  • OpenAccess schematic import/export
  • Graph marker improvements
  • Marching waveforms for HB/transient analysis
  • Additional synthesis wizards (passives and mixers)

Circuit/System Simulation and Models/Libraries

  • Transient and transient-assisted HB (TAHB) improvements
  • Expanded circuit envelope simulation
  • Passive model enhancements
  • Spectre netlist co-simulation
  • New 5G candidate waveform library
  • New system load pull (ACPR, EVM) and nested source/load pull
  • Enhanced LTE-A, radar and phased array model libraries

EM Simulation and Modeling

  • Simulation speed and solver improvements (meshing, ports and matrix solve)
  • Improved AFS algorithms
  • Improved EM ports
  • Analyst surface roughness model
  • New 3D editor commands
  • Enhanced bi-directional links to HFSS, CST and Sonnet

Physical Design and Layout

  • PCB layout import (ODB++ and IPC2851)
  • Expanded shape preprocessor modifier
  • Enhanced layout editing

User Support

  • New guided help (GH) interactive documentation
  • Enhanced online knowledge base (KB)

For more detail on NI AWR Design Environment V13 visit awrcorp.com/whatsnew, which provides documentation covering the hundred plus enhancements/additions to this latest release.

Pricing and Availability

NI AWR Design Environment V13 is available immediately for current customers. Contact your local NI AWR software representative for more information, as well as licensing and pricing details.

About NI AWR Software

The NI AWR Design Environment software portfolio includes RF/microwave electronic design automation (EDA) tools such as Visual System Simulator™ for system design, Microwave Office/Analog Office for microwave/RF circuit design, and AXIEM and Analyst™ for electromagnetic analysis. NI AWR software tools help design engineers to dramatically reduce development time and cost for components, circuits, systems and subsystems employed in wireless, high-speed wired, broadband, aerospace and defense, and electro-optical applications. Readers can learn more at ni.com/awr.

About National Instruments

Since 1976, NI has made it possible for engineers and scientists to solve the world's greatest engineering challenges with powerful, flexible technology solutions that accelerate productivity and drive rapid innovation. Customers from a wide variety of industries–from healthcare to automotive and from consumer electronics to particle physics–use NI's integrated hardware and software platform to improve the world we live in.


Sherry Hess
Vice President of Marketing
AWR Group, NI
(310) 726-3000



Posted January 27, 2017

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