Electronic Design

Modular RF Instruments Deliver Fast Wireless Measurements

National Instruments claims its new RF vector signal analyzer, RF vector signal generator, and PXI Express 18-slot chassis can perform measurements up to 10-times faster than traditional instrumentation. The software-defined modular instruments—the NI PXIe-5663 6.6-GHz RF vector signal analyzer and the NI PXIe-5673 6.6-GHz RF vector signal generator—are complemented by the NI PXIe-1075 18-slot high-bandwidth chassis. The 5663 can perform signal analysis from 10 MHz to 6.6 GHz with up to 50 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, and the 5673 delivers signal generation from 85 MHz to 6.6 GHz and up to 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. PCI Express lanes are routed to every slot on the 1075 chassis, providing up to 1-Gbyte/s per-slot bandwidth and up to 4-Gbyte/s total system bandwidth.

The multicore-processor-based RF instruments are well suited for high-speed RF and wireless automated test environments. LabVIEW 8.6 is used to implement parallel algorithms on the multicore CPUs for extremely fast measurements. For example, NI claims the RF modular instruments can perform many individual WCDMA measurements more than 20-times faster than traditional instruments.

As new multicore processors are released, PXI-based RF measurement times will continue to decrease without requiring changes to the RF instrumentation or NI LabVIEW programming. In addition to performance, the instruments offer measurement flexibility through a completely software-defined architecture. Engineers can develop and test wireless protocols by reconfiguring the software using standard-specific LabVIEW toolkits or writing their own custom modulation algorithms. NI and National Instruments Alliance Partners provide LabVIEW toolkits for many current and emerging communications technologies, including WiMAX, GPS, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, broadcast video, 802.11, Bluetooth, OFDM, and MIMO.

The XIe-5663 vector signal analyzer is priced from $22,999; the NI PXIe-5673 vector signal generator is priced from $23,999, and the NI PXIe-1075 chassis is priced from $5,999.

National Instruments

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