Wideband transceiver test reveals RF characteristics of mixed digital devices

To accelerate the design cycle, Keysight Technologies has introduced a digital wideband transceiver test system, which it claims unveils true radio frequency (RF) performance characteristics of mixed-digital RF devices.

Defense radars and satellite communications and 5G employ phased-array antennas (PAA) to meet performance and versatility requirements to millimeter wave frequencies. Digital signals are highly integrated into the RF front-end architecture of modern antennas used in defence radar, satellite communications and 5G. As a result, the antennas need a new measurement methodology for stimulus and response measurements, says Keysight.

Its digital wideband transceiver test comprises a vector network analyser, device measurement software and transceiver analysis software to compare digital and RF signals between device input and output and measures the transmitter and receiver responses independently from other test instrumentation. 

The test system uses Keysight’s N52xxB PNA/PNA-X vector network analyser. This is an integrated, flexible microwave test engine for measuring active devices, such as amplifiers, mixers and frequency converters. It also includes S94601B device measurement eXpert software, a configuration assistant that enables users to set up complex measurements for various types of devices. There is also S94610B digital wideband transceiver analysis software. This test waveform creator and configuration assistant enables users to set up mixed-digital RF devices.

Wideband stimulus waveforms are generated by Keysight’s VXG vector signal generator (M938xB) and the PNA-X device measurement eXpert software enables device characterisation and a control interface. The RF test equipment’s measurement and signal fidelity tests new mixed-digital RF devices, and is claimed to minimising errors to yield highest possible performance characteristics.

According to Dan Dunn, vice president of Keysight’s Aerospace & Defense Government Solutions: “Keysight’s digital wideband transceiver test solution enables true RF performance characterisation, while speeding measurements and data analysis that ultimately accelerate the entire design cycle.”

Keysight says the digital wideband transceiver test solution reduces weeks of in-house measurement and data analysis effort to a few minutes. It can be leveraged to component level, such as ADCs, DACs and transceiver ICs as well as sub-system level such as radar / electronic warfare transmit and receive modules, satellite communications transmitters / receivers. For system level, it addresses whole signal paths of 5G PAAs (phased array antennas) using massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology.

The system maintains high measurement accuracy of GHz bandwidth in mm wave frequencies and adapts to proprietary digital designs.


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