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Small vector signal transceiver boosts bandwidth 5x

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By Jean-Pierre Joosting


The FPGA programmable instrument combines a 6.5 GHz RF vector signal generator, 6.5 GHz vector signal analyser, high-performance user-programmable FPGA and high-speed serial and parallel digital interfaces into a single 2-slot PXI Express module. With 1 GHz of bandwidth, the latest VST is ideally suited for a wide range of applications including 802.11ac/ax device testing, mobile/Internet of Things device testing, 5G design and testing, RFIC testing, radar prototyping and more.

The PXIe-5840 provides 1 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth for advanced digital pre-distortion (DPD) test and wideband signals such as radar, LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G. Its excellent measurement accuracy enables the second-generation VST to measure 802.11ax Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) performance of -50 dB. Further, the instrument boats measurement speeds up to 10X faster than traditional instrumentation using FPGA-based measurement acceleration and highly optimised measurement software.

The small size and tight synchronisation fo the VST enables up to 8×8 multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) configuration in a single 18-slot chassis, while a user-programmable FPGA allows engineers to easily design with LabVIEW.

“Although engineers can use the second-generation VST to solve many advanced RF test applications right out of the box, its software-designed architecture enables engineers to uniquely customise the user-programmable FPGA,” said Charles Schroeder, Vice President of Product Marketing, RF at NI. “Using the intuitive LabVIEW system design software, engineers can transform the VST into exactly what they need it to be at the firmware level and ultimately address the most demanding test and measurement challenges. This instrument is an unparalleled example of a product that delivers the RF performance required for traditional test and measurement and the flexibility of a software defined radio.”


The VST is a vital part of the NI platform and ecosystem that engineers can use to build smarter test systems. These test systems benefit from more than 600 PXI products ranging from DC to mmWave. They feature high-throughput data movement using PCI Express Gen 3 bus interfaces and sub-nanosecond synchronisation with integrated timing and triggering. Users can take advantage of the productivity of the LabVIEW and NI TestStand software environments, along with a vibrant ecosystem of partners, add-on IP and applications engineers, to help dramatically lower the cost of test, reduce time to market and future-proof testers for tomorrow’s challenging requirements.

“The combination of the industry’s widest bandwidth and low latency software-designed instrument allowed us to discover our automotive radar sensors as never before, and even allowed us to identify problems very early in the design phase that were previously impossible to catch,” said Niels Koch, Component Owner Radar Systems, Audi AG. “With the VST and FPGA programmable by LabVIEW, we were able to rapidly emulate a wide range of diverse scenarios, thus influencing safety and reliability aspects in autonomous driving.”

www.ni.com/vst


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