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Design & Simulation Tool Reviews

SSS Online is proud to highlight our favorite design tools, software and reference books on this page. We have had many useful hours of faithful service from the tools / items listed below. We make our living developing new products for OEMs and as such have a detailed (if not intimate) knowledge of these tools. If you need any help designing circuits, systems or equipment / instrumentation with any of these tools, please call us at TEL: 865-717-9339, FAX: 865-717-9904 or email: -- to find out more about these tools, just click on one of these topics:

Editor's Note: These reviews were prepared by Randy Roberts of RF/SS Consulting (now retired), and were originally posted on this page in February 1999. As time permits, we will update the information and provide additional reviews on new tools.

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Related SSS-Online Pages

[Reviews: Meters & Hardware] [SPICE Page]
[PLD Tools Page] [CAD / CAE Page] [Tech Notes & Tips Topical Menu]
[EMI / EMC Page] [EE Page] [Radio Propagation Page]

Other Tools-Related Links

CalTech's PUFF Info & Ordering
Agilent EEsof EDA Home Page


Block Diagram Communications Simulator

Editor's Note: ICUCOM was purchased by Applied Wave Research in 2000. Acolade has been re-named Visual System Simulator).

ACOLADE is a software tool that enables the user to quickly and easily design and implement simulations for a communication system of arbitrary complexity. An invaluable feature of ACOLADE in such analysis applications is its overall flexibility. The simulation is based on the concept of Models; each Model corresponds to a typical component in a communication system (e.g., channel, transmitter, receiver, encoder or decoder). The architecture of ACOLADE is such that, within broad limits, Models can be interconnected at will to model any conceivable communication system. The ACOLADE Graphical User Interface (GUI) provides an intuitive and simple means to specify Model choices and interconnections; the components of the communication system are represented by blocks on the GUI "canvas" and data paths between these components by lines ("connections"). By using the Models packaged with ACOLADE, the user need not be concerned with the details of the simulation as an entire system can be designed by literally "pointing and clicking"; no coding is necessary.

DOWNLOAD ACOLADE (Advanced Communication Link Analysis and Design Environment) DEMO
Download ACOLADE ZIP Demo File (1.08 Meg)


Shown below is a screenshot of the analysis of a IS95a CDMA forward link consisting of Wireless Multipath Channel, Coherent Rake Correlator and Parallel Combiner.

Picture of CDMA forward link

For more information, including pricing and distribution information on current versions of this software, contact Applied Wave Research at:

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Elanix SystemView

screen capture of a System View Run
A Screen Capture From an Actual Run of SystemView on a PC.

New SystemView RF/Analog Library Provides Advanced RF Component Models for Windows Users

Editor's Note: as of August 18, 2005, Eagleware-Elanix has been purchased by Agilent Technologies. See more news about this aquisition here. Also, Elanix SystemView has been renamed simply 'SystemVue' as of April 2005, and information on this product is available here.

ELANIX, Inc. recently introduced a powerful new optional library for RF/Analog applications. We have been using these add-ons for SystemView and have found this version of the program and the complete libraries to be an excellant set of S/W Tools for the Wireless Designer.

The SystemView RF/Analog Library, the latest addition to the add-on SystemView Libraries, supports the important electronic components used in today's RF designs and completes the initial suite of SystemView Libraries.

For the first time, SystemView users will be able to incorporate actual analog circuits and components into their system simulations. For example, RF mixers and amplifiers actually create the spurious frequency components that engineers will encounter during final hardware development. Highlights of SystemView are:

SystemView by ELANIX Features

  • True dynamic system simulator.
  • Intuitive sampled data (z-domain) and continuous (Laplace domain) system specification.
  • Multi-rate systems, multiple parallel systems.
  • Mixed time-continuous and time-discrete systems.
  • Graphical FIR filter design, including lowpass, bandpass, highpass, band-reject, Hilbert (90 degree phase shift), and differentiators.
  • Extensive library of IIR filters including multi-pole Bessel, Butterworth, Chebyshev, and Linear Phase.
  • FFT types: magnitude, squared magnitude, spectrum analyzer (mWatts in 50 ohms), spectrum analyzer (Watts in ohms), power spectral density (mW/Hz, 50 ohms), power spectral density (W/Hz, 1 ohm), phase (modulo +- 180 degrees), phase (unwrapped) in degrees, group delay in seconds, real, imaginary.
  • Unlimited support for embedded, multi-level subsystems.
  • Full complement of logic functions, switches, and non-linear devices.
  • Complete libraries of Sources, Sinks, Functions, Operators, and MetaSystems.
  • External and internal signal sources and sinks.
  • Built-in system diagnostics and connection checks.

SystemView by ELANIX Applications

  • Signal processing, communication, and control systems, including analog, digital, and mixed mode systems.
  • Phase and frequency locked loops.
  • Modulation, demodulation, and channel modeling.
  • Complete DSP system design and test.
  • Analog to digital conversion systems, quantization, and sampling systems, including delta-sigma data converters. In-phase and quadrature systems.
  • Linear and non-linear system design and test.
  • Solutions to linear and non-linear differential equations, including Chaos theory.
  • Control system design and test.

Integrated System Flexibility

SystemView by ELANIX fully supports multi-rate systems, parallel simultaneous systems, and internal or external data sources and sinks. More complex systems may use SystemView by ELANIX's powerful new MetaSystem object, which provides unlimited creation, editing and interconnection of embedded subsystems.

Innovative Filter and Linear System Design

SystemView by ELANIX also provides a new approach to analog-digital filter design, discrete time linear system design, and continuous time Laplace linear system design. These systems are designed using SystemView by ELANIX's innovative and efficient graphical templates. Results of the initial design and any subsequent modifications are automatically computed by SystemView by ELANIX, incorporated into the simulation, and graphically displayed in the time, frequency, or phase domain.

Interactive Signal Analysis and Display

Beyond system design and simulation, SystemView by ELANIX also provides a truly interactive Analysis window for the detailed examination of system waveforms. Zoom, scroll, spectral analysis, scaling, filtering and much more, are only a mouse-click away

Intuitive and Powerful

SystemView by ELANIX is a completely intuitive personal simulation tool that presents a comfortable visual interface to the user. The power of SystemView by ELANIX lies not only in its simulation engine, but also in the remarkably quick way in which truly complex systems may be created and tested. SystemView by ELANIX is the preferred personal simulation tool for scientists, engineers, physicists, and mathematicians seeking significant increases in design productivity.

Optional Libraries

The SystemView by ELANIX environment includes a suite of optional libraries that enhance the function library with powerful additional functions for specific application areas. Current options include libraries of Communications, DSP, Logic and RF/Analog functions, as well as a user-definable extensible token library. These optional libraries allow users to affordably tailor their SystemView by ELANIX installation by choosing only those additional functions that they require.

This library includes such models as fixed and variable amplifiers, operational amplifier circuits (op-amps) double balanced mixers, several power splitter and power combiner types, couplers, diodes (including Zener diodes), resistor-capacitor differentiators, resistor-inductors, low-pass and high-pass RC and L-C filters, PLL filters, LC tank and quadrature circuits, coupled resonator pairs, and more.

"The SystemView RF/Analog library was developed by our engineers and scientists with the goal of providing accurate and useful models of the circuits and components commonly used in today's advanced RF and analog designs," said Geoff Chatfield, Director of Marketing. "With a single mouse click, designers can analyze the Bode (Gain and Phase) and Root Locus plots for their circuit designs. System designers now have access to sophisticated component models on the affordable, user friendly PC/Windows platform."

SystemView by ELANIX is the preferred Microsoft Windows-based alternative to high-priced workstation simulation tools. This dynamic system simulator running on i386 and higher IBM-compatible PCS with 4 MB RAM and 3 MB hard disk space features comprehensive tools for analog, digital, and mixed-mode design and analysis in a user-friendly visual design environment. Applications range from DSP, communications, signal processing, and control to general mathematical system modeling. SystemView Illy supports mixed mode (i.e. analog and digital) multi-rate systems, parallel simultaneous systems, and internal or external data sources and sinks. More complex systems may use SystemView's powerful MetaSystem object, which provides unlimited creation, editing, and interconnection of embedded subsystems, as well as continuous refinement of the system performance model.

SystemView also provides a new approach to analog-digital filter design, discrete time linear system design, and continuous-time Laplace linear system design. Users specify these systems using innovative and efficient graphical templates. Results of the initial design and any subsequent modifications are automatically computed by SystemView, incorporated into the simulation, and graphically displayed in the time, frequency, or phase domain.

SystemView version 1.8 is available now for $2450. Optional Communications, DSP, Logic, and RF libraries are available starting at $525.

ELANIX, Inc. develops advanced hardware and software signal processing and communications systems for defense and commercial markets. ELANIX introduced SystemView, its Microsoft Windows based design and development engineering software in 1993. ELANIX also designed and developed the Xmath Signal Analysis Module, a major signal processing software CAE system running under UNIX and other operating systems.

SystemView is one of the finest system modelling and block diagram simulation tools available today. Be sure to visit their WWW home page (press the link below), register and then download their evaluation S/W package. Try it -- I'm sure you will like it!

Elanix, Inc.
5655 Lindero Canyon Rd., Suite 721
Westlake Village, CA., USA, 91362
Telephone: (818) 597-1414
FAX: (818) 597-1427
E-mail: was
Website: previously http.//

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