RF PCB Design
by NWES

We provide RF design and PCB layout services to aerospace and defense electronics companies, innovative telecom startups, ADAS radar developers, PCB manufacturers, and companies in many other industries. In addition to RF PCB design and layout services, we help our clients navigate the RF PCB manufacturing process through our network of manufacturing partners.

We're passionate about advanced technology. We work with innovative companies to design and build cutting-edge products that push the limits of RF PCB design. Whether you're a small startup with a great idea or a large enterprise, we'll take your design from idea to full-scale manufacturing. We look forward to working with you!


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RF Design Capabilities


We Build Advanced RF Products

Today's advanced electronics integrate multiple protocols and run at higher frequencies than ever before. As RF PCB design experts, we've built complex systems with multiple wireless protocols and digital circuit blocks, and we’ll ensure your new system will be fully manufacturable at scale.

  • High resolution long-range and short-range radar
  • PCBs with unique interconnects, emitters, and resonator structures
  • Cascaded and MIMO mmWave sensors and systems
  • IoT products and embedded systems with multiple wireless protocols
  • RF power systems, including power supplies, amplifiers, and power-over-RF


Atlium Designer

Cadence

Ansys

Simberian




Success in RF PCB Design


RF PCB designs carry important material requirements and component selection considerations that are not found in many other systems. Once your new design has passed review and is ready for production, we’ll engage with our manufacturing partners to get your design through production and bring you the most value:

  • Materials selection - Important operational requirements such as loss targets, operating temperature, exposure to moisture, and operating frequency range will drive materials choices and PCB stackup design. View our list of microwave PCB materials.

  • Primary component selection - Advanced RF systems use specialized components to implement the desired functionality, and these components must be identified and sourced early. In the event critical components can't be sourced or do not exist, some circuits may be printed or modules may be used to implement the required functionality.

  • Interconnect design - The primary frequency range where your system will operate, as well as the loss budget and available materials, will place constraints on interconnect design and routing. Pre-layout and post-layout simulations can be used to design and verify interconnect performance.

  • Floorplanning - Placement, routing, board shape requirements, and packaging needs must be balanced when planning the physical layout of an RF PCB. Successful floorplanning will help prevent mixed-signal interference, excessive losses, DFM challenges, and EMC failure.

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Application Areas

Our clients operate at the bleeding edge of technology, and our design expertise is critical to keeping our clients competitive. Some of the application areas where we operate include:

  • Radars for automotive, aerospace, and defense systems
  • Networking equipment for industrial settings, data centers, and more
  • Sub-GHz wireless products for embedded/IoT platforms
  • SATCOM products supporting maritime systems and commercial space

Our goal is to successfully transition you from concept to product with a fully manufacturable design that can be produced anywhere. Our network of manufacturing partners can help you produce RF systems at scale while staying compliant, sourcing efficiently, and ensuring high yield.

Some example application areas and their broad design requirements are listed in the table below. This list is not comprehensive, although the list does show some contemporary application areas for RF systems.

Application Area Frequency Ranges Design Requirements
Sub-GHz IoT • 800-1000 MHz • Standard FR4 laminates (Isola low-loss preferred)
• Highly integrated MCU or separate transceiver module
• Low-layer counts (usually 4-8 layers)
• Low power requirements
• Multiple low-speed and analog interfaces
GPS • L1: 1575.42 MHz
• L2: 1227.6 MHz
• L5: 1176 MHz
• Standard FR4 laminates (Isola low-loss preferred)
• Separate transceiver module typical for GPS
• Control with a moderate-speed MCU
• Low power requirements
Bluetooth/WiFi
products
• 2.4 GHz
• 5 GHz
• Standard FR4 laminates (Isola low-loss preferred)
• Highly integrated MCU or separate transceiver module
• Low-layer counts (usually 4-8 layers)
• Moderate power requirements
• Multiple low-speed interfaces, may require high speed Ethernet
Other 802.11
WLANs
• 3.65 GHz (802.11y)
• 5.8-5.9 GHz (802.11p)
• 6 GHz (802.11ax)
• 60 GHz (802.11ad/ay)
• Low-loss FR4 allowed, Rogers or equivalent sometimes preferred
• Digital block required for system control
• May include multiple high-speed interfaces and/or Ethernet
• Mixed-signal best practices used throughout
4G-LTE/5G • FR1: 0.45 to 6 GHz
• FR2: 24.25 to 52.6 GHz
• Low-loss FR4 or flex in FR1, Rogers or equivalent in FR2
• Highly integrated SoC and separate transceiver/modem
• Coexistence with other frequency bands (802.11)
• Digital block (SoC or FPGA) required for system control
Radar • 12.5-18 GHz
• 18-26.5 GHz
• 26.5-40 GHz
• 76-81 GHz
• Rogers, Arlon, Taconic, Megtron, or equivalent
• Moderate layer counts (usually at least 6)
• Integrated digital processor or external module for system control
• Multiple transmission lines and emitters w/coplanar routing
• Low-frequency clock distribution routing in MIMO/cascaded systems
ISM for Satellites
and Inter-satellite
• 24 GHz
• 61 GHz
• 122 GHz
• 244 GHz
• Rogers, Arlon, Taconic, Megtron, or equivalent
• FPGA typically used for system control
• Multiple analog interfaces and high-speed digital interfaces
• High power requirements at broadcast frequencies
• Rugged design and construction
VITA 67 Backplanes
and Daughtercards
• Varies • Rogers, Arlon, Taconic, Megtron, or equivalent
• High layer counts (18 or more layers typical)
• Multiple high speed digital protocols (max. baud above 10 Gbps)
• High power requirements (approximately 100 A is typical)
• High and low frequencies routed between daughter cards


Our RF Design Process

Our goal is to streamline the innovation process for advanced electronics and help clients scale to volume production.
  • Contact us for a consultation and quote.

  • Schematic capture begins and performance requirements for the important RF elements are determined. The stackup will also be designed during this phase to ensure performance targets are achievable.

  • Interconnects and printed RF elements are designed to ensure minimum loss and noise coupling. If needed, these structures will be evaluated in simulation (Ansys HFSS).

  • After qualifying your stackup and finalizing material requirements, we'll work through the PCB layout.

  • We perform a final DFM/DFA check and any other required simulations before sending you a complete PCB manufacturing deliverable package.


How We Work

Why Work With NWES?


  • Broad expertise - We're a digitally-driven remote-first organization with diverse talent and experience. We know your technology because we've used it and built it.

  • Manufacturing partners - We work with local and overseas CMs and EMS providers that are ISO-9001, AS9100, ISO-13485, IPC-A-610, NADCAP, and/or ITAR/JCP certified. We help you find the best option to produce prototypes and scale to volume production.

  • Supply chain management - We take a proactive approach on projects to ensure your design can be produced at the required volume. We'll manage procurement from major distributors or brokers throughout your project.


Get Started


Need a hand with a current or future PCB design project? Find out the difference our experts can make.


Contact us today for more information.


    

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