Modeling of the signal distortion that occurs when high-speed ICs are connected to backplanes and pc boards is made easier through use of The MathWorks' RF Toolbox 2, a set of functions that's based on the Matlab modeling environment. The functions enable users to design, model, analyze, and visualize the networks of RF components typically found in high-speed data transmission.
The alternative is transmission-line models that are manually built from measured data, which are tedious to arrive at as well as often inaccurate. RF Toolbox 2 makes it easy for users to quickly model transmission lines as rational functions, a type of behavioral model that's faster, more accurate, and provides greater insight into transmission-line characteristics than alternatives such as fast-Fourier transforms.
RF Toolbox 2 offers added capabilities that complement the existing product's support for designing, modeling, and analyzing RF components. Applying the same workflow, the new version helps users design for signal integrity by using network parameters to specify RF filters, transmission lines, amplifiers, and mixers. This can be done either directly or through use of physical properties.
Network parameters can be generated from within Matlab or read in from external data. When data describing the response of a backplane is imported into RF Toolbox, it generates a rational function model that can be exported as a test environment either into the Simulink simulation environment or directly into a Verilog-A-compatible simulator from an EDA vendor. RF Toolbox also provides Smith charts and rectangular and polar plots for visualizing data.
RF Toolbox 2 is available now for the Windows, Unix, Linux, and Macintosh platforms. Prices start at $1000.