RF Blockset

Design and simulate RF systems


RF Blockset™ (formerly SimRF™) provides a Simulink® model library and simulation engine for designing RF communications and radar systems.

RF Blockset lets you simulate nonlinear RF amplifiers and model memory effects to estimate gain, noise, even-order, and odd-order intermodulation distortion. You can model RF mixers to predict image rejection, reciprocal mixing, local oscillator phase noise, and DC offset. You can also simulate frequency-dependent impedance mismatches. RF models can be characterized using data sheet specifications or measured data, and can be used to accurately simulate adaptive architectures, including automatic gain control (AGC) and digital predistortion (DPD) algorithms.

The RF Budget Analyzer app lets you automatically generate transceiver models and measurement test benches to validate performance and set up a circuit envelope multicarrier simulation.

With RF Blockset you can model RF systems at different levels of abstraction. Circuit envelope simulation enables high-fidelity, multicarrier simulation of networks with arbitrary topologies. The Equivalent Baseband library enables fast, discrete-time simulation of single-carrier cascaded systems.

Get Started:

RF Budget and System Simulation

Compute the budget of a cascade of RF components in terms of noise, power, gain, and nonlinearity. Automatically generate system-level models for multi-carrier circuit envelope simulation.

RF Budget Analysis and Top-Down Design

Use the RF Budget Analyzer app to graphically build, or script in MATLAB®, a cascade of RF components. Analyze the budget of the cascade in terms of noise, power, gain, and nonlinearity.

Determine system-level specs of RF transceivers for wireless communications and radar systems. Compute the budget considering impedance mismatches instead of relying on custom spreadsheets and complex computations. Inspect results numerically or graphically by plotting different metrics.

Rapid RF System Simulation

From the RF Budget Analyzer app, generate RF Blockset models and testbenches for multicarrier circuit envelope simulation. Use automatically generated models as a baseline for further elaboration of the RF architecture. Simulate imperfections that cannot be accounted for analytically, such as leakage, interferers, direct conversion, and MIMO architectures.

Use the Equivalent Baseband library to quickly estimate the impact of RF phenomena on overall system performance. Model a chain of RF components and perform single-carrier simulation of superheterodyne transceivers, including RF impairments such as noise and odd-order nonlinearity.

Different simulation techniques supported by RF Blockset.

RF and Digital Wireless System Simulation

Model RF transceivers together with digital signal processing algorithms. Rapidly simulate adaptive RF transceivers at the system-level.

System Simulation of RF and Digital Signal Processing Algorithms

Build models of wireless systems including RF transceivers, analog converters, digital signal processing algorithms, and control logic.

Create system-level executable specifications and perform what-if analyses with different RF architectures. Alternatively, commit to a particular architecture and develop digital signal processing algorithms to control the performance or mitigate impairments.

Simulate digitally-assisted systems based on nested feedback loops such as RF receivers with automatic gain control (AGC), RF transmitters with digital predistortion (DPD), antenna arrays with beamforming algorithms, and adaptive matching networks. 

RF Component Modeling at the System Level

Model RF components at the system level, not at the transistor level, and speed up simulation. Use models of amplifiers, mixers, S-parameters, filters, and other RF components, characterized by linear and nonlinear data sheet specifications or measurements data.

Use tunable components such as variable gain amplifiers, attenuators, phase shifters, and switches to build adaptive RF systems with characteristics directly controlled by time-varying Simulink signals. Embed control logic and signal processing algorithms in the simulation of RF transceivers to develop models such as the ADI transceivers.

Author your own RF blocks using the Simscape™ language and build custom RF components (requires Simscape). 

RF Amplifiers and Mixers

Model RF nonlinear components using data sheet specifications and characterization data.

RF Amplifiers

Specify the gain, noise figure or spot noise data, second-order and third-order intercept points (IP2 and IP3), 1 dB compression point, and saturation power for amplifiers. Import Touchstone® files and use S-parameters to model input and output impedances, gain, and reverse isolation. Use the variable gain amplifier to model time-varying nonlinear characteristics.

For power amplifiers, use nonlinear characteristics such as AM/AM-AM/PM, or fit time-domain input-output narrowband or wideband characteristics using a generalized memory polynomial. 

Mixers and Modulators

Model up and down conversion stages using the mixer block. Specify gain, noise figure or spot noise data, second-order and third-order intercept points (IP2 and IP3), 1 dB compression point, and saturation power.

Use mixer Intermodulation Tables to describe the effects of spurs and mixing products in superheterodyne transceivers.

Model direct conversion or superheterodyne modulators and demodulators at the system level, including image rejection and channel selection filters. Specify gain and phase imbalance, LO leakage, and phase noise. Edit the system for further elaboration and customization.

Modeling a low-IF Hartley receiver.

S-Parameters, RF Filters, and Linear Systems

Simulate frequency-dependent linear system-level components using S-parameters or data sheet specifications.

S-Parameters Simulation

Import and simulate up to 8-port S-parameters data. Build arbitrary networks by connecting S-parameters blocks to other RF components and consider impedance mismatches and filtering effects.

Import Touchstone files or read S-parameter data directly from the MATLAB workspace. Simulate the S-parameters using a time-domain approach based on rational fitting or use a frequency-domain approach based on convolution. Model passive and active data with frequency-dependent amplitude and phase.

Automatically include the noise generated by passive S-parameters in the simulation. Alternatively, specify frequency-dependent noise parameters for the S-parameters of active components.

RF Filters and Linear Components

Design RF filters using Butterworth, Chebyshev, and Inverse Chebyshev design methods, evaluate the circuit topology, and simulate with circuit envelope. Alternatively, use ideal filters to select only the frequencies of interest or use RLC components and arbitrary complex impedances to describe any arbitrary linear network.

Model junctions such as circulators, couplers, power dividers, and combiners with different characteristics and data sheet specifications. Use phase shifters for modeling beamforming architectures.

Detail of a multi-antenna RF receiver.


Simulate system-level thermal and phase noise effects.

Noise Modeling

Generate thermal noise that is proportional to the attenuation introduced by passive components such as resistors, attenuators, and S-parameters.

For active components, specify the noise figure and the spot-noise data, or read frequency-dependent noise data from Touchstone files. Specify arbitrary frequency-dependent noise distributions for local oscillators and model phase noise.

Impedance mismatches affect the power transfer of the actual signal and of the noise, thus enabling the simulation and optimization of low-noise systems and the correct estimation of the SNR.

Effects of thermal and phase noise on a two-tone signal.

Measurement Testbenches

Validate the performance of RF transmitters and receivers using measurement testbenches before lab testing.

RF Model Validation

Measure gain, noise figure, and the S-parameters of the system in different operating conditions. Validate nonlinear characteristics such as IP2, IP3, image rejection, and DC offset. The testbenches generate the required stimuli and evaluate the system response to compute the desired measurement.

Automatically generated measurement testbenches from the RF Budget Analyzer app support both heterodyne as well as homodyne architectures.

RF Blockset measurement testbench for OIP3 measurement.