The modular PXI architecture offers key advantages for MIMO test, based on a recent product introduction from Agilent Technologies and the publication of a detailed white paper by ZTEC Instruments Inc.
Agilent, for its part, recently introduced a wideband MIMO PXI vector signal analyzer that enables R&D and test engineers to validate their MIMO 802.11ac designs with a combination of accuracy, speed, bandwidth, and scalability in a small form factor.
Agilent's wideband MIMO PXI vector signal analyzer consists of Agilent’s M9362A-D01 four-channel downconverter, M9202A 12-bit digitizer, M9302A LO, M9168C RF attenuator, and the M9352A IF amplifier/attenuator modules for one to four measurement channels. By adding Agilent’s 89600 VSA software, engineers can gain greater insight into their next-generation 802.11ac WLAN chips and devices, regardless of the 802.11ac format implemented.
Mark Pierpoint, VP and general manager of Agilent’s Software and Modular Solutions Division, noted the configuration provides up to 780 MHz of acquisition bandwidth to cover both today’s and tomorrow’s communication systems.
In addition, Christopher D. Ziomek and Matthew T. Hunter of ZTEC Instruments Inc. published a paper that discusses the practical constraints of testing RFICs employed in MIMO topologies. The paper focuses on MIMO compliance testing and characterization within a cabled RF environment without open-air antennas. The authors present an IEEE 802.11 WLAN protocol application as an example to detail the theory, specific use cases, and test scenarios.
The six-page paper provides an overview of MIMO, beamforming, diversity, and space-division multiplexing before focusing on WLAN test. The authors present a PXI-based example, noting, “One challenge of MIMO instrumentation setup is synchronization of the multiple instruments. Modular instruments such as PXI or PXIe are ideally suited to MIMO due to their easily integrated instrument-on-a-card architectures. A PXI/PXIe RF test set can be configured with multiple VSAs, multiple VSGs, or both.”
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