Announced to cheers during Tuesday’s keynote address at NIWeek 2010, National Instruments’ NI PXIe-5630 (see the figure) is the industry’s first vector network analyzer (VNA) in a compact PXI form factor. The 6-GHz, two-port instrument supports full vector analysis of transmission and reflection (T/R) parameters.
Featuring precision automatic calibration and a flexible software-defined architecture, the VNA suits automated design validation and production test. Its modular PXI architecture and small, two-slot footprint make it possible for test engineers to incorporate vector network analysis into their test systems without the added cost and large footprint of traditional benchtop VNAs.
According to Richard McDonell, senior group manager in product marketing at National Instruments, the NI PXIe-5630 represents the company’s ongoing efforts to address emerging automated test needs in a decade that will be dominated by the proliferation of embedded wireless capabilities.
“The NI PXIe-5630 fills out our RF test platform,” says McDonell.
Traditional VNAs are too large and too costly to deploy in production-test environments. The PXI instrument answers those needs by combining elements of both low-end and high-end VNAs in a form factor that works in the production environment.
The NI PXIe-5630 is optimized for automated test with a mature feature set including automatic precision calibration, full vector analysis on both ports, reference plane extensions, and a flexible LabVIEW application programming interface (API) that suits parallel test.
The VNA also delivers advanced performance specifications including a frequency range of 10 MHz to 6 GHz, a wide dynamic range of greater than 110 dB, and sweep speeds of less than 400 µs/point over 3201 points. Because of its PXI configuration, engineers can combine up to eight NI PXIe-5630 modules in a single PXI chassis and perform multisite RF test in true parallel fashion.
Engineers can control the NI PXIe-5630 interactively using its full-featured soft front panel or programmatically using APIs for NI LabVIEW software and NI LabWindows/CVI ANSI C development environments. Both APIs are optimized for multicore processing to facilitate parallel test of multiple RF components, which provides a significant throughput advantage over sequential, switched testing.
The VNA will be available in October 2010. Pricing starts at $25,999.