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Highly integrated base station power management optimization solution

Base station power supplies must be designed with scale, efficiency and performance trade-offs. The new power solution based on digital telemetry is simple, flexible and scalable. Base station systems designed around the MAX15301 point-of-load (POL) controller will be more integrated and flexible.

Base station power supplies must be designed with scale, efficiency and performance trade-offs. The new power solution based on digital telemetry is simple, flexible and scalable. Base station systems designed around the MAX15301 point-of-load (POL) controller will be more integrated and flexible.

Base station power engineers encounter many design challenges. Wireless carriers want them to reduce power consumption and size. They are also proposed to minimize the complexity of performing sequencing, monitoring subsystems, and numerous other tasks. To optimize application requirements, they must make several trade-offs, including power conversion efficiency versus size and performance complexity versus cost. This article will explain how a new, highly integrated power solution offers flexibility and optimized performance, simplifying these design challenges.

Improve efficiency

The energy cost of operating a base station is significant for wireless operators, which makes the need for more efficient power solutions to reduce operating costs significant. In addition, lower power consumption reduces power consumption, so operators can use a smaller heat sink in radio equipment. A smaller heatsink, in turn, might allow a smaller unit to be implemented. Because these radio units are often mounted on one pole or on one side of the building, the overall footprint is reduced and the mechanical stresses involved are minimized.

A base station’s baseband unit provides fast signal processing capability to handle large amounts of data and voice network traffic. Baseband units require high currents and multiple rails with voltages and currents that can exceed 60A, leading to the need for multiphase power solutions and often telemetry.

Technologies to improve power conversion efficiency to reduce thermal conduction, switching and reverse recovery losses. Choose low (resistance) MOSFETs to reduce conduction losses. Higher gate drivers can also further reduce pair resistance (RDSON). The trade-off is the increased switching losses using higher switching voltages. Nonetheless, having the ability to set up gate drivers can be highly desirable. For higher currents, high gate drive voltage reduces conduction losses; for light load operation, gate drive voltage can be reduced. An automatic selection process optimizes the trade-off between conduction and switching losses for a better decision for base station design.

The MAX15301 digital point-of-load (POL) controller uses advanced algorithms to achieve a full range of operating condition levels of efficiency and transient response. It includes an advanced, high-efficiency external, adaptive gate driver MOSFET. Optimize efficiency by continuously adapting to changes in load, voltage and current.

Simplify power supply complexity and improve system reliability

If you can monitor the operating parameters of the system, then you can better manage the performance of the system. And better system management improves system reliability.

As mentioned above, the baseband unit must have strong signal processing capabilities to handle large amounts of data and voice traffic. Multiple high and low current voltages must be sequenced correctly at power-up/down. Current and temperature must be monitored throughout baseband operation to ensure the system is operating within tolerances and to provide warning or fault signals. , it is the telemetry and advance fault management function that enables the base station to achieve high reliability. Using an analog approach requires multiple devices to implement these functions requiring a power management. However, the digital approach reduces design complexity and requires a separate power management. (See Figure 1).

Base station power management tasks typically require a very complex power management controller for each function and multiple discrete components. The overall board space and design complexity grow accordingly. Base stations are designed to operate at extreme temperatures, and such designs must be robust over a wide operating temperature range. Unlike traditional analog power solutions, compensation is set at a unique operating condition that must address a wide operating range. At the same time, changes in passive components such as inductors and capacitors make the power supply more challenging to compensate.

There is an alternative approach, the system is based on a digital architecture approach. In digital architectures, automatic compensation capabilities can be achieved and optimized for bandwidth that is advantageous. Higher bandwidth improves load transient response, resulting in improved tolerances or the ability to eliminate output capacitors and increase solution size. In addition, passive components can change with temperature, but the automatic compensation function can adapt to these changing conditions. This provides the ability to optimize over the entire temperature range.

 Highly integrated base station power management optimization solution

figure 1. System design with analog (left) and digital (right). A digital approach is integrated into power management for each DC-DC conversion. The result is a flexible and scalable system. Digital telemetry system components are continuously monitored to ensure optimal base station performance.

Maxim InTune™ products such as the MAX15301 address these power management challenges. They can easily implement the design of high-performance DC-DC power supplies that require fewer filter capacitors and have higher efficiency. This digital power technology is based on “state space” or “model predictive control” rather than proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control, which is typical of most digital controllers. The automatic compensation procedure in the MAX15301 is based on a mathematical model of the parameters under test, enabling the building of internal power supplies, including external components. The result is a switching power supply that achieves the highest possible dynamic performance while guaranteeing stability. This technique also enables some proprietary algorithms to optimize efficiency for a wider range of operating conditions.

Reduce board space

Reduction of board space in radio equipment is important because antennas can be mounted to buildings, towers, or poles where their weight becomes an issue. For baseband units, larger, more powerful digital processors require more space, thus making it more challenging to maintain board size.

Integrated MOSFET solutions provide a smaller form factor for POL power supplies. This approach is acceptable for lower power levels, but it becomes more challenging to design with higher currents. Devices with integrated MOSFETs are optimized for efficiency under specific operating conditions. Controller-based solutions allow some flexibility for optimization, as you can optimize the choice of MOSFET for each specific condition. It also allows more heat to spread to the board for thermal management. The obvious trade-off here is the need for more board space.

Meanwhile, the current in the baseband unit, which can be as high as 60A per rail, requires a multiphase power solution. These higher rails, in this case, increase the number of passive components required for the output capacitor to meet the transient requirements. The MAX15301 can be configured as a standalone or in a multiphase solution.

The MAX15301’s digital controller, however, has a proprietary auto-tuning feature that simplifies design. Now, users don’t need engineers to make up the power supply and can be assured of compensation. Telemetry integration also reduces the need for external ICs, allowing for denser designs.


Base station power supplies must be designed to make tradeoffs between scale, efficiency and performance. The new power solution based on digital telemetry is simple, flexible and scalable. Base station systems designed around the MAX15301 will be more comprehensive and flexible. Constant component monitoring can be optimized and overall performance more reliable. , digital telemetry makes juggling tradeoff challenges simpler.

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