Mixed-Signal Front Ends (MxFE)

Scalable Software-Defined Radio Solution with 7.5 GHz Bandwidth

The mixed-signal front end (MxFE®) provides today’s system designers working in communication infrastructure, instrumentation, and aerospace and defense with a scalable software-designed radio solution with a very wide 7.5 GHz bandwidth. This solves several complex challenges including increasing bandwidth demands and signal chain complexity as system operation moves from the RF to the mmWave spectrum domain and as bandwidth demands move from megahertz to gigahertz.

MxFEs from Analog Devices offer smart integration of RF analog-to-digital converters (ADC), RF digital-to-analog converters (DAC), on-chip digital signal processing, and clock/PLL for multichip synchronization. This allows for the elimination of discrete data converters and traditional RF front-end components to reduce size, weight, power, and cost. Integrated digital signal processing supports the transition to software-defined radio platforms, creating a highly configurable, common hardware/software platform that can be used in multiple applications across a broad array of end markets.

Product Selection Table

ADI’s mixed-signal front end (MxFE) family offers a highly integrated device with four 16-bit, 12 GSPS RF digital-to-analog converter (DAC) cores, and either two 12-bit 6 GSPS or four 12-bit, 4 GSPS, RF analog-to-digital converter (ADC) cores.

MxFE: Simple, Scalable, Efficient

The MxFE platform of products tackles challenges with direct RF sampling and very wide channel bandwidth, all software defined, for a simple, scalable, efficient, and future-proof solution.

Download the block diagram

Detailed block diagram of the AD9081

Block diagram of the AD9081

The green block: Highlights the on-chip DSP including a programmable FIR filter and course/fine decimation filters on the receive path and course/fine interpolation filters on the transmit path.

The orange block: Shows the AD9081 offering four ADC channels at 4 GSPS and four DAC channels at 12 GSPS.

MxFE Key Features and Benefits

Integration of RF-Sampling Converters and DSP Blocks

MxFE integrates multiple GSPS ADCs and DACs combined with on-chip DSP to allow for a simpler RF front end and smaller FPGA reducing overall system size, complexity, weight, power, and cost.

Wide Bandwidth and High Dynamic Range

With an analog input bandwidth of 7.5 GHz, instantaneous bandwidth up to 4.8 GHz, and a spurious-free dynamic range of −70 dBc, MxFE offers true ultra-wide bandwidth performance.

Complete Software-Defined Radio Solution

MxFE is a highly configurable software-defined radio platform capable of supporting multiple product development programs through a common HW/SW platform, reducing time to market and future-proofing your designs.

Featured Products

Digital Simulation Models

Get a jump start on your development with Analog Devices digital simulation models. From DSP performance to frequency planning to optimizing your RF front-end signal chain, these simulation models will shorten your development time and accelerate your time to revenue.


Develop a draft frequency plan by modeling the performance of the on-chip DSP, harmonics, and external filtering needs.

Download the MATLAB model

MATLAB model support


The IBIS Algorithmic Modeling Interface (IBIS-AMI) is a modeling standard for SERDES PHYs that enables fast, accurate, statistically significant simulation of multigigabit serial links.

Get the AMI model

Download the IBIS model

Thermal Models

A Delphi model that accurately predicts the temperature of the package at a few critical points: junction, case, and leads.

Download the compact thermal models

S-Parameter Model

Scattering (S) parameters are used to model the matching networks for the ADC inputs, DAC outputs, and clock interface inputs to the MxFE. This helps users optimize their RF front-end signal chains to suit the frequency range of interest.

Download the S-Parameters

Product Evaluation

Analog Devices evaluation kits provide all of the hardware and software required to easily evaluate the incredible configurability and performance of the MxFE.

Simplified block diagram of the AD9081

Unboxing and Evaluation Setup

Watch the unboxing video

ADI engineer Umesh Jayamohan with demo setup

Installing the Fan Sink on MxFE Evaluation Boards

Watch the video to learn how

Hardware Requirements

To evaluate MxFE, you will need an MxFE evaluation board (part specific) and either the ADS8-V3EBZ or ADS9-V2EBZ FPGA controller board. These boards easily connect via FMC and can be brought up quickly and simply with our API/ACE software toolset.

MxFE Evaluation Boards

FPGA Controller Boards


Software Requirements

API Device Drivers


API Device Drivers

Application Programming Interface (API) C code device drivers allow the user to quickly configure the MxFE evaluation board using high-level function calls.

ACE Plug-In


ACE Plug-In

Analysis/Control/Evaluation (ACE) software works in conjunction with API to allow for the evaluation and control of MxFE through device specific plug-ins.

JESD204B/JESD204C IP Framework


JESD204B/JESD204C IP Framework

Analog Devices’ JESD204 Interface Framework is a system-level software and HDL package targeted at simplifying system development by providing a performance optimized IP framework that integrates complex hardware such as high speed converters, transceivers, and clocks with various FPGA platforms.


Analog Devices and our Alliances members provide MxFE reference designs to enable rapid evaluation and system-level prototyping to significantly shorten your time to revenue.

Analog Devices Reference Designs

Single MxFE HDL Reference Design by Analog Devices


Single MxFE HDL Reference Design by Analog Devices

The AD9081-FMCA-EBZ reference design is a processor-based (e.g., MicroBlaze) embedded system. The design consists of a receive and a transmit chain and supports the following Xilinx® FPGA carriers: ZCU102, ZC706, and VCU118.

Quad MxFE HDL Reference Design


Quad MxFE HDL Reference Design

The AD-QUADMXFE1-EBZ reference design is a processor-based (e.g. Microblaze) embedded system. The design consists of a receive and a transmit chain.


Alliance Members Reference Designs

Delphi Engineering Single MxFE FMC Module ADF-QMx44


Delphi Engineering Single MxFE FMC Module ADF-QMx44

The ADF-QMX44 is a VITA 57.1-2019-compliant FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) that leverages ADI’s AD9081 4T/4R MxFE and offers industry-wide platform compatibility with Xilinx UltraScale and UltraScale+ FPGA carrier boards, including DEG’s performance-leading PCI Express and 3U Open VPX carrier products.

Annapolis Microwave Dual MxFE WWQM60


Annapolis Microwave Dual MxFE WWQM60

This high performance WILD FMC+ QM60 ADC and DAC has four input bandwidth options, internal sample clock options, and internal 10 MHz reference clock options. This card allows for eight ADC and 12 DAC channels in one 6U OpenVPX slot (or four ADC and six DAC channels for 3U) when plugged into WILDSTAR OpenVPX FPGA mainboards. The QM60 also has speed grades up to 6 GSPS (ADC) and 12 GSPS (DAC) with a resolution of 12 bits (ADC) and 16 bits (DAC).

Featured Technical Articles

Graph of 16 simultaneous receive I/Q data captures

Considering GSPS ADCs in RF Systems

Next-generation radio platforms are moving to a direct RF sampling architecture. This can significantly reduce the size, weight, and power (SWaP) of the radio, but it can introduce additional challenges.

Learn more about direct RF sampling

Performance heat map of wideband digital receiver

SFDR Considerations in Multi-Octave Wideband Digital Receivers

Over the coming years, high sample rate analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and digital-to-analog converter (DAC) technology will usher in a wideband digital receiver architectural evolution.

Read the technical article

Close up photo of the Quad-MxFE platform

Using Multichip Synchronization in Integrated Wideband DACs and ADCs

The integration of multiple DSP blocks, wideband DACs, and wideband ADCs within a single monolithic chip is now enabling the offload of power-hungry FPGA resources.

See new capabilities