Analysis and design of an intra-coaxial reflected-power telemetry system

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Title: Analysis and design of an intra-coaxial reflected-power telemetry system
Author: Kemp, Jeffrey
Abstract: Failures of connectors used in radio frequency (RF) systems cost the telecom industry, mainly cellular phone providers, billions of dollars annually. This cost is incurred because the integrity of the connectors cannot currently be monitored in-system and failure results in catastrophic signal loss. The Smart Connector project aims to solve this problem by designing a connector with the capability to sense and report its own integrity. An integrated sensor chip has been developed that mounts on a molded inter-connect device inside of a coaxial cable connector. The current prototype system uses a direct connection to the chip to send the sensor data. However, for the system to be feasible in the target environment it must communicate sensor data wirelessly down the coaxial cable. The sensor chip uses a small loop coupler to inductively couple RF energy from the center conductor of the coaxial cable. The loop coupler is used to wirelessly receive power and to send and receive data from the sensor chip. Because the sensor chip is completely passive (it has no power source) the power available to transmit data is limited. The goal of this thesis is to develop a low power, wireless telemetry system for the Smart Connector sensor disk. This work investigates the analysis and design of an intra-coaxial cable reflected power communication system for use in the Smart Connector system. Theoretical analysis and experimentation proved the plausibility of using an intra-coaxial reflected power communication method for the telemetry system. Design guidelines were derived through the theoretical analysis which highlight many trade-offs and requirements for use in a final Smart Connector system. A simulation model of the communication link, which closely matches results from the theoretical model, was developed using the Cadence tool set. Finally, a complete prototype system capable of sending and receiving data packets via intra-coaxial cable reflected power communication was implemented.
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Date: 2010-07

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