Baseband vector signal transceiver "disrupts" RF/5G test

7th June 2017
Posted By : Mick Elliott
Baseband vector signal transceiver "disrupts" RF/5G test

A baseband model of the second-generation Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) has been unveiled by NI. The PXIe-5820 module is said to be the industry’s first baseband VST with 1GHz of complex I/Q bandwidth and is designed to address the most challenging RF front-end module and transceiver test applications, such as envelope tracking, digital pre-distortion and 5G test.

“In 2016, NI disrupted the industry by introducing the RF model of our second-generation VST with 1 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth,” said Charles Schroeder, vice president of RF and wireless at NI. “We’re continuing the disruption with the baseband model of our second-generation VST. Engineers can use the baseband VST with LabVIEW system design software to address the evolving and changing needs of transceiver test applications. Engineers can take advantage of the software-designed architecture of NI’s VSTs to helpaccelerate the pace of design, reduce the cost of test and solve measurement problems previously unsolvable through traditional test approaches.” 

The PXIe-5820 combines a wideband I/Q digitiser, wideband I/Q arbitrary waveform generator and high-performance user-programmable FPGA into a single 2-slot PXI Express module.

With 1GHz of complex I/Q bandwidth, the baseband VST suits a wide range of applications including baseband I/Q testing of wireless and cellular chipsets as well as envelope tracking of digitally pre-distorted waveforms for power amplifier, and generation and analysis of new wireless standards such as 5G, 802.11ax and LTE-Advanced Pro.

It offers measurement accuracy to measure 802.11ax error vector magnitude (EVM) performance of -54 dB and baseband 2-channel differential I/Q with 4 Vpp differential input and 2 Vpp differential output swing.

It also features FPGA-based measurement acceleration for measurements up to 10X faster and highly optimised measurement software.

Its compact size and tight synchronisation of baseband and RF VSTs allows for 2x2, 4x4, 8x8 or higher multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) configurations in the PXI form factor.

Excellent noise floor and spurious free dynamic range and a user-programmable FPGA that engineers can customise to add application-specific functionality are other highlights. 

“The baseband VST is a deliberate evolution of our original software-designed architecture,” said Ruan Lourens, chief architect of R&D, RF at NI. “We have managed to optimise in every possible domain, from thermal and electrical to digital signal processing, to successfully deliver 1GHz complex I/Q bandwidth in a small form factor. The baseband VST can be tightly synchronised with the PXIe-5840 RF VST to sub-nanosecond accuracy, to offer a complete solution for RF and baseband differential I/Q testing of wireless chipsets.” 

The baseband 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.

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