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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the November edition of the PXI Newsletter.  Our intent is to educate and inform you about how the PXI standard is being used in modular test systems for a wide variety of industries.

Our main article this month, A PXI Signal Conditioning Solution for Design and Verification of Wideband MIMO Signals, describes a reliable signal conditioning solution that provides measurement accuracy and system flexibility.

In the New PXI Products section, we are showcasing PXI products recently released by members of the PXI Systems Alliance.

Thanks to National Instruments, our sponsor for this month's issue.

Visit for more information.


Main Article


A PXI Signal Conditioning Solution for
Design and Verification of Wideband MIMO Signals

by Kim Yen Ang and Theng Theng Quek
Agilent Technologies

Whether you characterize new RF and microwave designs or validate wireless components, you need a reliable signal conditioning solution that provides measurement accuracy and system flexibility. Today’s wireless LAN readily enables distribution of high definition content in the home that must support high speed and high-data rate streaming, and must also be able to mirror high definition video from PC tablets to smart TVs. These requirements bring forth the need to extend RF bandwidth (up to 160 MHz), more MIMO spatial streams (up to 8), multi-user MIMO, and high-density modulation (up to 256 QAM). With this increased complexity in the corresponding test and measurement system, PXI has been one of the most rapidly adopted platforms, particularly in market segments that demand efficient but low cost-of-test solutions.

The key challenges faced by engineers today while optimizing their test solution include measurement accuracy enhancement in various scenarios such as overloading, gain compression and distortion. In such a situation, a step attenuator that ensures the lowest insertion loss at 0 dB state, lower standing wave ratio, and better linearity and stability across a wider temperature range is very much needed.

A step attenuator is a common approach to, or is generally used to, extend the attenuation range of test and measurement instruments. A common application would be to extend the output amplitude range of a microwave vector signal analyzer for wireless device signal analysis. Digital-modulation analysis is another application example. The RF modulated carrier signal needs to be demodulated into its complex components for further vector-modulation analysis, where the digital data bits will be detected and recovered. Digital demodulation provides modulation quality measurements. Ideally, the measurement system will expose very subtle signal variations to translate signal quality information. Without the right combination of test instruments and accessories which includes a step attenuator, the process of achieving accurate and precise measurements will become more elaborate and tedious, which inevitably leads to higher cost-of-test.




Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

NI sponsor

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New PXI Products

The PXI platform continues its explosive growth with many new product introductions. New products introduced in the last three months include (listed in the order received):

AIT ARINC 664 Part 7 Test and Simulation PXI Module

The AIT ARINC 664 PXI Module supports IEEE 802.3 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Full-Duplex Ethernet links; it utilizes SFPs to support both copper and optical interfaces.  It simulates multiple ARINC 664 End Systems, including VL traffic shaping and input VL redundancy management.

NI PXIe-5632 VNA

NI PXI Vector Network Analyzer Cuts Cost of Test for Semiconductor and Mobile Device Manufacturers
The NI PXIe-5632 VNA is optimized to help engineers meet increasingly complex RF test requirements at a fraction of the cost, size and time compared to traditional rack-and-stack solutions.

Agilent M9300A PXIe Frequency Reference

The M9300A PXIe frequency reference is a PXIe compatible compact modular instrument that can be used with the Agilent M9301A synthesizer, M9310A source output and M9311A modulator to create the world’s fastest vector signal generator, the M9381A.

Aeroflex Modular WLAN 802.11ac Test System with 160 MHz Bandwidth

Aeroflex’s PXI 3000 Series offers measurements over a 160 MHz bandwidth at frequencies up to 6 GHz. It is designed for making R&D, design verification, and production measurements on WLAN devices, extending Aeroflex’s market-leading 802.11ac PXI measurement capability to 160 MHz.

VTI CMX09 9-slot PXIe High Performance rugged 4U chassis

The CMX09 is a 9-slot PXI Express mainframe with 1 system controller slot, 6 PXIe Peripheral slots, 1 PXIe
hybrid slot and 1 PXIe timing slot. The PXI Express hybrid slot delivers connectivity to either a x4 PCI Express link or to the 32-bit, 33 MHz PCI bus on the backplane.

GuideTech’s GT668PXI CTIA

GuideTech’s GT668PXI CTIA “Continuous Time Interval Analyzer” family are the next generation of the reliable GT658CTIA, which are currently in use in customers applications worldwide ranging from Satellite Tracking, Semiconductor Test, Optical Test to monitoring of atomic clocks. 


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