A number of thermal/power design challenges are found when PCB Designers evaluate the use of fixed attenuators.
It is helpful to explore and understand relationships of applied power, dissipated power and the factors involved across multiple dB values of attenuators whether fixed in a component network or created using discrete individual resistors on a PCB.
Understanding all factors involved with properly rating attenuators offers a useful insight into practical challenges. Further, understanding the best practices on how to self-evaluate applications and apply them to the components required to realize designs becomes even more beneficial to designers. Some factors explored here include, termination style, pad and via sizing, operating temperature, component substrate, resistor size, trim style and tolerance as they relate to power/thermal performance. Some insights into balancing RF and power performance will also be explored.