By Manuel Mota, Technical Marketing Manager for Data Converters, Synopsys, Inc.
Synopsys’ DesignWare® Data Converter IP portfolio is typically considered to be a pure “analog” IP function, but it can be argued that data converter IP is also “interface” IP – an interface to the real world. In effect, data converters are the foundation of the analog interfaces prevalent in most chips that interface with sensors and transducers (i.e., in microphones, speakers, camera sensors, accelerometers, thermometers, and pressure and touch sensors). In addition, data converters are also a critical element in wired and wireless communications transceivers where complex modulation schemes are used to overcome the limitations of harsh communication media: the air, power lines, and so on. Data converter IP can be described as another form of interface IP: “analog interface IP.”
As illustrated in Figure 1, analog interfaces can be grouped into two categories: ones that adhere to formal standards (e.g., WiFi, LTE, CDMA, Bluetooth, G.hn, MoCA, and PLC) and others that do not follow a formal standard (e.g., most transducers: temperature, accelerometers, and pressure and sound sensors). Both categories have trends and requirements that are common to all of its applications. By analyzing these common requirements, generally required data converter IP characteristics emerge for each application space.