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Software eases digital RF test signal creation

Posted: 31 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:waveform creation? editing software? RF signal generator? test signal?

Tektronix Inc. has rolled out an advanced software solution that performs RF/IF/IQ waveform creation and edits digitally modulated signals for its AWG5000 and AWG7000 arbitrary waveform generators. RFXpress targets design and test engineers who need to perform validation and characterization of prototype digital RF wireless communication designs.

The software package provides a user interface that makes creation and management of general-purpose digital RF waveforms far more intuitive, said Tektronix. It also provides specialized UWB-WiMedia plug-ins and a library of waveforms for testing new designs, transforming the AWG5000 and AWG7000 into easy-to-use and comprehensive IF/RF and IQ signal generators for testing emerging digital RF applications, including UWB-WiMedia.

Historically, signal generation for stress-testing digital RF product designs has been very complicated, often requiring many hours of tedious setup and requiring multiple instruments. With RFXpress software, this has been simplified by automating many of the repetitive and arcane functions typically found in competing signal generation solutions, according to the company.

The RFXpress application supports a variety of modulation schemes such as QPSK, QAM and GMSK. It also allows engineers to build their own modulation schemes. In addition, the RF/IF and IQ signals captured on a Tektronix Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer, or using an oscilloscope can now be modified by adding impairments, interference and distortions using RFXpress before they are replayed by an AWG7000 or AWG5000.

For many applications, fewer instruments and less complicated setups will be required through the inherent direct synthesis capabilities of the AWG platform combined with RFXpress, said Tektronix. Direct synthesis is a flexible and repeatable method for creating ideal or impaired waveforms that are then directly synthesized using an arbitrary waveform generator.

For example, the RFXpress WiMedia custom mode plug-in enables engineers to individually configure every part of the WiMedia frame/packet for characterization, limit and stress test of the receiver's PHY. With RFXpress and the AWG7000, customers can directly generate band-hopping signals for UWB-WiMedia Bandgroup 1 and Bandgroup 2 without the need for multiple instruments. The addition of Tektronix waveform libraries further increases usability and provides engineers with an intuitive shortcut for testing their designs.

Engineers are able to recall a setup file that encapsulates all the relevant standard mandated tests and signal impairments without the need for any additional external components or mixing required, reducing complexity and cost, said the company. AWG setup file deployment can be managed through electronic circulation of files, enabling test systems worldwide to have consistent settings and capabilities and with no external hardware dependencies.

The RFXpress software is currently available for order and runs as an integral part of the AWG5000 or AWG7000 models, or as a standalone application on an external PC.

The U.S. MSRP for general-purpose RFXpress is $5,000.The UWB WiMedia compliance plug-in for RFXpress is priced at $2,200 and the UWB WiMedia custom plug-in costs $7,200. The custom plug-in includes the compliance plug-in capabilities.

- Gina Roos

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