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RF generator accommodates larger waveforms

Posted: 03 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF vector signal generator? RF test and measurement? wireless communications?

Model 2910

Keithley Instruments Inc. adds a series of enhancements to its Model 2910 RF vector signal generator. The new capabilities included in the Model 2910 V2.0 include additional wireless signal generation waveforms, a new power calibration feature and increased ARB memory to accommodate more and larger waveforms.

Keithley's Model 2910 RF device has been recognized for a number of industry innovations, such as its Software-Defined Radio (SDR) Architecture, patent-pending synthesizer technology and unique power leveling circuitry. Model 2910 uses a highly versatile software architecture to adapt to the quickly changing test requirements of the dynamic wireless market. It provides a flexible RF test platform that reduces test times with fast frequency tuning, amplitude settling and waveform switching for half the cost of instruments with similar, or less, performance capabilities. Model 2910 can internally generate virtually any signal with up to 40MHz of modulation bandwidth and signals greater than 400MHz modulation bandwidth using external I-Q inputs. The Model 2910's continuous tuning capability from 400MHz to 2.5GHz covers the key ISM bands used for wireless communications.

The Model 2910 is claimed to offer the most intuitive user interface on the market, making it simple for even novice users to easily generate RF signals, said Keithley. With a combination of high accuracy and repeatability, speed, flexibility, ease of use and compact size, the Model 2910 V2.0 employs new approaches to RF test and measurement that enables users to get accurate measurement results quickly, reduce test times and decrease costs.

New modulation capabilities
The Model 2910 V2.0 features two new modulation capability options. The first of these, the Model 2910-DIG, is a flexible digital modulation option that allows users to create an extensive range of signal modulations used in modern RF communication products. The Model 2910-DIG allows users to create multiple permutations of all digital modulation signals including ASK, FSK, PSK and QAM, each with user-selectable symbol rates, filter types and data types. The Model 2910-DIG option is useful in R&D labs and in education for its ability to easily create different digital modulation signals.

The other new option is the Model 2910-GPS, a low-cost and flexible solution for GPS testing that is well suited for production test environments. The Model 2910-GPS option simulates the coded L1 signal of a GPS satellite with a variety of data types, including using an external user-file with up to 37,504bits (12.5mins) of actual satellite data. Comparable solutions cost at least twice as much as the Model 2910 V2.0 with GPS option. Together with other common wireless standards, such as GSM, Edge, W-CDMA, cdmaOne and CDMA2000, the Model 2910-GPS option expands the scope of the Model 2910's RF test and measurement capabilities to test mobile devices with integrated GPS functionality.

Improved power calibration
Keithley's Model 2910 V2.0 also features a new power calibration table that improves measurement accuracy by compensating for RF power losses in test fixture cables. The table stores power vs. frequency values of the cables obtained via a separate RF power meter. The Model 2910 then automatically adjusts the power, correcting for cable losses to an accuracy of 0.3dB. This lowers operator error when making manual measurements and eliminates the need to develop power correction programming scripts in the test executive for automated systems.

Calibrating the test fixture is simplified with a new SCPI command feature that allows an external PC connected to a Model 2910 V2.0 to control a separate RF power meter via a USB cable. The power meter is used to measure power at the RF cable connected to the DUT. Compensating for cable power loss is critical for production test environments to reduce measurement uncertainty, which helps increase product quality and yields.

Advance waveform features
Another enhancement to the Model 2910 V2.0 is its Arbitrary Waveform Generator (ARB) memory expansion to 100Msamples, allowing very large waveforms or many smaller waveforms to be loaded into memory. The 100Msample ARB of the Model 2910-ARB option supports multiple signal waveforms to be resident in memory and enables switching between these waveforms in less than 3ms using a remote-control SCPI command over the instrument's GPIB, USB or LAN interfaces.

A new ARB Sequencing feature further speeds up waveform switching times to support instant transition times. Here, the waveform sampler moves from the last point of an ARB waveform to the first point of the next waveform in one clock cycle. The ARB waveforms can be played in any sequence, providing added flexibility for speeding up measurements. Such fast and flexible testing is especially useful for production test applications.

Whether switching between frequencies, amplitude levels, or waveforms, the Model 2910 V2.0 delivers measurement speeds that are 2 to 20x faster than traditional instrumentsdelivering the fastest execution times for testing wireless devices and products.

Existing owners of the Model 2910 can download the Model 2910 V2.0 firmware with standard enhancements from Keithley's Web site at no additional cost. Units can also be upgraded with the optional Model 2910-DIG or Model 2910-GPS, or both. These can all be done in the field, do not need to be returned to a Keithley Service Center and require no hardware upgrade.

Units are now available with at least four weeks delivery. The base price for the Model 2910 V2.0 RF Vector Signal Generator is $13,400. The ARB option is $3,150, the flexible digital modulation option is $3,500, and the GPS option is $2,500. Firmware upgrade is free for existing owners of Model 2910 units.

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