NI Accelerates RF Design with 2.7 GHz PXI RF Vector Signal Generator

3/10/2004 - Engineers now have a complete platform for accelerating RF product design, validation and manufacturing test with National Instruments new 2.7 GHz NI PXI-5670 RF vector signal generator. The new module is the latest addition to the company’s RF product line, which also includes the NI PXI-5660 RF vector signal analyzer and Modulation Toolkit and Spectral Measurements Toolkit for LabVIEW 7 Express. The new PXI-5670 module offers true 16-bit resolution arbitrary waveform generation at 100 MS/s (400 MS/s interpolated), up to 256 MB of memory and 22 MHz real-time bandwidth giving engineers a highly precise, flexible vector signal generator with the performance required for rapid prototyping and automated test.

"The NI RF vector signal generator combined with the RF vector signal analyzer makes a flexible platform for wireless communication system development," said Professor Robert Heath, Jr., leading researcher for the Wireless Networking and Communications Group in the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Texas at Austin. "We have been using the NI vector signal generator, vector signal analyzer, Modulation Toolkit and LabVIEW 7 Express for both rapid prototyping of algorithms for multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) 4G wireless systems and for making wireless channel measurements. The capabilities of the NI platform make it exceptional for sophisticated research and testing while the intuitive LabVIEW interface also makes it outstanding for classroom use."

The new RF vector signal generator offers signal generation from 250 kHz to 2.7 GHz and can produce analog and custom digital modulation as well as standard digital modulation formats such as ASK, FSK, MSK, PSK and QAM. The module’s deep memory of up to 256 MB offers extended playback time for complex modulated signals, thereby addressing research and development needs for simulation of signal transmission in real-world conditions. With its advanced timing and triggering capabilities, the module is ideal for scientific research, consumer electronics, communications, aerospace/defense and semiconductor test applications. In addition, the software flexibility of the PXI-5670 module makes it an excellent fit for emerging applications including software defined radio, radio frequency identification (RFID) and wireless sensor networks.

"With the new vector signal generator, engineers can for the first time use one platform from design through manufacturing," said Joseph E. Kovacs, NI RF product manager. "Because of the PXI platform and LabVIEW, R&D engineers can link to simulation tools such as Ansoft Designer. When used with the NI Modulation Toolkit, they can access customizable functionality not available in traditional instrumentation that is critical to meet the fast-paced development needs of wireless applications. Manufacturing engineers will especially benefit from the speed, compact 3U form factor, high throughput and cost effectiveness of the PXI platform."

The PXI-5670 module includes the NI Modulation Toolkit for LabVIEW 7 Express and the NI-RFSG instrument driver. The Modulation Toolkit offers functions for signal generation, analysis and visualization of custom and standard analog and digital modulation. Some of the standard measurement functions include error vector magnitude (EVM), modulation error ratio (MER) and Rho. The toolkit also offers functions to inject impairments into a communications system including IQ gain imbalance, quadrature skew and additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN). Visualization functions include trellis, constellation and two- and three-dimensional eye diagrams. NI-RFSG is a fully functional instrument driver and works with a variety of application software including LabVIEW 7 Express, LabWindows/CVI and C.

The NI PXI-5670 RF vector signal generator is a combination of the NI PXI-5610 2.7 GHz RF upconverter, the NI PXI-5421 16-bit arbitrary waveform generator and the NI Modulation Toolkit. Each of these products can be purchased separately.

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation -- a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in more than 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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