As part of the unveiling of its strategy to provide customers with flexible and cost-effective test systems, Aeroflex today launched the Aeroflex 3000 series, a PXI-based modular test suite for mobile phone and general-purpose wireless test.
"In June we announced our strategy to migrate to an industry-standard modular product development platform," said Bob Vogel, vice president, business development, Aeroflex Test Solutions. "The Aeroflex 3000 series PXI products are a first step in allowing us to leverage our modular designs into other systems and standalone instruments. The core functionality is portable, which allows us to quickly address the rapidly changing customer testing needs."
"Aeroflex is the first company to bring to market high-performance RF test capability for wireless applications in a PXI-based chassis, an inherently flexible and cost-effective platform," said Bill Burrows, product marketing manager, Aeroflex. "With a long history in systems development, Aeroflex is now extending its vast systems experience into the PXI instrumentation market."
The Aeroflex 3000 series encompasses four PXI modules and supporting applications for signal generation and signal analysis that meet the specific requirements for GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/UMTS mobile phone testing. Applications include automated measurement of parametric performance of terminal transmitter and receiver characteristics; terminal TX and RX alignment and performance characterization for manufacturing; and research and development. In addition, the Aeroflex 3000 series expands PXI's speed and modularity into the realm of general-purpose wireless testing. For example, the new high-performance 3020 2.5 GHz signal generator can be used for general-purpose continuous wave (CW) and digital signal generation for wireless device testing and characterization.
The Aeroflex hardware modules are configured and controlled by a device driver implemented using NI-VISA (National Instruments Virtual Instrument Software Architecture). Each PXI module is provided with a software driver as both a DLL (dynamic link library) for use within the standard environment, and as a set of source code. With the source code, customers can adapt device drivers to their needs. In addition to the driver DLL and source, a soft front panel is provided for each module.
The first in a series of PXI modules from Aeroflex, the 3000 series is designed to reduce the cost of test and provide fast, accurate and flexible test capability to the wireless market. A PXI-based test system is 100 times faster than rack-and-stack systems and allows customers to buy only the capability they need and upgrade to new standards in the future.
The 3010 RF synthesizer module is an industry first for PXI. It is a high-performance frequency synthesizer with a frequency range of 1.5 GHz to 3.0 GHz. The 3010 can be used as a standalone frequency synthesizer or as the core synthesizer for the Aeroflex 3020 PXI digital RF signal generator or the Aeroflex 3030 PXI RF digitizer module.
Using Aeroflex-patented technology, the 3010 synthesizer provides 1 Hz frequency resolution combined with phase noise performance and frequency agility previously only available in benchtop or rack instruments. The 3010's phase noise is typically -120 dBc/Hz. Its frequency settling times of typically 200 microseconds are ideal for use in high-volume RF component test systems or testing of frequency-hopping radios. The 3010 is supplied with a VXIpnp driver and soft front panel. A high stability variant to 3010, the 3011 includes an OCXO frequency reference.
The 3020 digital RF signal generator module is an industry first for PXI. It is a high-performance module designed for complex digital IQ waveform applications in communications systems test. The 3020 with the 3010 RF synthesizer form a compact digital RF signal generator in three slots in a 3U PXI chassis. For the first time, system engineers can fully integrate RF source requirements into PXI test systems. The versatile two-slot 3020 module produces IQ modulated or CW signals between 250 MHz and 2.5 GHz with an IQ bandwidth of up to 15 MHz, while the single slot 3010 module provides a low noise, frequency-agile local oscillator input.
The 3020's performance characteristics are ideal for generating complex modulated signals for research and development or manufacturing. Modulation linearity for UMTS WCDMA signals is better than 55 dB, providing a comfortable margin for measuring mobile transmitters. The internal arbitrary waveform generator has a 32 Msample capacity. It can be used to store a single long waveform or a collection of smaller waveforms up to the limit of the sample memory. The 3020 is supported by optional software applications for waveform design for common radio systems such as GSM, EDGE, UMTS, IS136, IS95 and CDMA2000, as well as waveforms for FSK, PSK and QAM modulation. The 3020 is compatible with Aeroflex's IQ Creator for design of complex modulation waveforms.
The 3030 RF digitizer module is a 3 GHz precision broadband RF digitizer. It is the most compact RF digitizer available in PXI. It also yields higher performance than any similar PXI product available today. When used in conjunction with the 3010 RF synthesizer module, the 3030 frequency down-converts and digitizes RF signals up to 15 MHz in the frequency range of 330 MHz to 3 GHz. The 3030/3010 combination offers high linearity and low noise performance designed for the analysis of radio signals including WCDMA. The 3030 outputs a set of amplitude and phase-corrected digital IF or IQ data samples with an amplitude accuracy of typically less than 0.5 dB. The 3030 is supported by a variety of optional signal analysis applications, supplied as measurement libraries for spectrum and vector analysis of common system personalities.
The 3060 RF combiner module is the first PXI module of its type designed specifically for RF component and radio terminal system test. It is a high-performance, four-port RF combiner covering 300 MHz to 2.5 GHz in a compact single-slot module. The 3060 is designed for use in RF test systems in conjunction with the 3020 RF signal generator and the 3030 RF digitizer. Together these modules enable the development of compact, high-performance, low-cost modular RF test systems. The RF combiner eliminates the need for extraneous RF combiner and signal routing development in the test fixture, simplifying test system design. The 3060 provides a single, combined port (UUT port D) from any combination of 3020 RF output modules and 3030 RF digitizer modules connected to ports A, B and C.
At launch, the 3000 series will include application-specific software suites for research and development and manufacturing test for GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/UMTS handsets.
The GSM/EDGE measurement suite is a complete set of OCX measurement functions to analyze GSM and EDGE mobile transmitter performance in conjunction with the 3030 RF digitizer module. The GSM/EDGE measurement suite is a library of ActiveX controls for use in application software development environments such as LabVIEW, LabWINDOWS, Visual C, Visual Basic and C++. With the 3030 RF digitizer module, it enables precision characterization of GSM/EDGE mobile station transmitters. The GSM/EDGE measurement suite provides ActiveX controls for analysis of all major GSM/EDGE signal characteristics, including average RF power, burst profile, modulation quality (either as phase error or error vector magnitude), frequency error and spectrum due to modulation and switching.
The UMTS measurement suite is a complete set of OCX measurement functions to analyze UMTS mobile transmitter performance in conjunction with the 3030 RF digitizer module. The UMTS measurement suite is a library of ActiveX controls for use in application software development environments such as LabVIEW, LabWINDOWS, Visual C, Visual Basic and C++. With the 3030 RF digitizer module, it enables precision characterization of UMTS mobile station transmitters. The UMTS measurement suite provides ActiveX controls for analysis of all major UMTS signal characteristics, including average RF power, ACLR, Peak Code Domain Error, Code Domain Power, EVM and frequency stability.
Aeroflex provides technology solutions to the aerospace, defense and broadband communication markets. The company's diverse technologies allow it to design, develop, manufacture and market a broad range of test, measurement and microelectronic products.