Paradigm Shift in Wireless Instrumentation? That’s What They’re Claiming

Richard Nass

August 7, 2012

2 Min Read
Paradigm Shift in Wireless Instrumentation? That’s What They’re Claiming

I'm at the National Instruments users conference this week in Austin, Texas, better known as NI Week. One of the key announcements made here by NI is the introduction of an RF vector signal transceiver (VST). According to the company, it's the first of its kind.

While announcing the new piece of equipment, Jeff Kodosky, NI's co-founder and technology fellow, made some interesting statements. I'm sure some of you would take issue with what he had to say: "Instrumentation hasn't changed much since the 1970s. It hasn't followed Moore's law, and frankly, it's embarrassing."

Kodosky claimed that the new VST provides a paradigm shift in instrumentation, and a step function in productivity.

Charles Schroeder, NI's director of test marketing, said that the company is taking a completely new approach to instrumentation for wireless devices. The PXIe-5644R RF VST combines a vector signal generator and vector signal analyzer with a user-programmable FPGA into one PXI modular instrument. The device makes measurements more than 10 times faster than comparable solutions while consuming less than 60W.

Using a software-centric architecture, the VST supports all the latest wireless and cellular standards, such as 802.11ac and LTE. This approach lets engineers use NI's LabVIEW to tailor open FPGA-based hardware for their specific needs.

Features of the PXI-5644R include up to 6.0GHz frequency coverage and 80MHz instantaneous RF bandwidth. It can expand to support multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) configurations or parallel testing. In addition, the tool is squeezed into a package that fit in Schroder's hand during the announcement. Hence, up to five I/O channels can be housed in a chassis.

Get another take on the new instrument form National Instruments.

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