The product-development process is constantly being refined. In one recent trend, test and measurement is joining electronic-design-automation (EDA) tools to smooth development. An example can be seen in Applied Wave Research's (www.mwoffice.com) newly announced TestWave software. This software integrates test and measurement instruments into the AWR design environment.
The software works in conjunction with the company's Microwave Office and Visual System Simulator (VSS) solutions. With their backing, TestWave can offer wireless-system and radio-frequency (RF)/microwave-circuit designers a complete integration of the design process. It combines schematic simulation, test-signal generation, and test and measurement verification.
The process starts with the simulation of digital communications formats, such as IEEE 802.11a, GSM, or WCDMA. System components can then be simulated and exported from VSS software to a signal generator, which drives the device under test (DUT). The measured data from this DUT hardware can be imported back into VSS software and compared with simulation results of the hardware's model. From this direct comparison, the design can be refined quickly and thoroughly.
Beginning with hardware, vector-signal-analyzer measurements of real-world data can be imported into the VSS software. Simulation models may then be driven with data generated from actual test equipment (see figure). As a result, designers can now see the effects of test data on their designs before investing in hardware prototypes.
TestWave costs $5000 for a single-user, node-locked license. The product is currently in final test. First customer shipments are planned for April. For more information on the VSS software, contact the company.