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WLAN 802.11ac Signal Generation and Analysis

26 June 2012 — Aeroflex announced that it has added IEEE 802.11ac capability to its S-Series RF signal generator and analyzer product line. First introduced in 2010, the S-Series offers top-of the-range performance at a mid-range price. Designed for use by engineers in wireless local area network (WLAN) research, design, and manufacturing, the new 802.11ac capability is available for the SGD RF digital signal generators (Option 119) and the SVA vector signal analyzers (Option 110).

The S-Series product line’s standard features include the industry’s widest bandwidth at 200 MHz; level and frequency settling times that are 5X faster than competitors at 100 μs; and very low phase noise performance (-135 dB/Hz at 1 GHz, 20 kHz offset). Combined with its 4U height and half-rack width, the S-Series is the most cost-effective combination of standard features and performance in a compact instrument.

The S-Series’ wide bandwidth is ideal for WLAN R&D. For manufacturing, the fast settling times enable rapid device throughput. The large touch-screen and Aeroflex Adds WLAN 802.11ac Signal Generation and Analysis Capability to S-Series Product Family innovative user interface make complex measurements quick and easy. Using Aerolock, the S-Series instruments can be locked together to build complex test setups.

Two instruments are combined within a width of 19”, allowing both transmit and receive functions in one small space. Customers praise the S-Series for reducing the total time spent—from setting up the measurement—to obtaining meaningful results.

“The need for increased device speed, data rates, network capacity, and wide bandwidth have put pressure on the instrument’s hardware to maintain modulation accuracy and increased bandwidth. The S-Series is highly accurate and with 200 MHz factory-calibrated bandwidth, we can easily cover the needs of 802.11ac with plenty of room for future technologies,” said David Asquith, Aeroflex’s product line manager for the S-Series.

SGD RF signal generator features new factory calibration technique SGD’s comprehensive WLAN signal generation suite is now updated for 802.11ac, supporting bandwidths of 20, 40, 80, 80+80 and 160 MHz and up to 8 spatial streams. Using an embedded version of Aeroflex’s IQCreator waveform creation software, 802.11ac waveforms are quickly created and played from within the signal generator. Modulation schemes up to 256QAM are supported with excellent residual EVM (Error Vector Magnitude) to help customers pinpoint the exact nature of their signal degradation and identify the source of the problem.

Testing 256QAM modulation demands lower EVM within the test system. To achieve the best possible EVM, Aeroflex created a new type of factory calibration to maintain its orthogonality (the 90 degree relationship between I and Q) as the baseband frequency increases. Aeroflex’s calibration mechanism creates an effective digital filter that pre-distorts the baseband signal before it is applied to the IQ modulator. This new method gives the SGD its 200 MHz of factory-calibrated signal bandwidth and enables testing of the very latest wireless devices.

WLAN analysis with the SVA vector signal analyzer

The SVA offers high linearity, low noise, excellent level accuracy, and includes a built-in spectrum analyzer. The SVA’s comprehensive WLAN Measurement Suite with Aeroflex Adds WLAN 802.11ac Signal Generation and Analysis Capability to S-Series Product Family 802.11ac capability includes measurement tools enabling analysis of WLAN OFDM, DSSS, and DSSS-OFDM RF signal characteristics in accordance with IEEE 802.11a, b, g, n, and ac. In addition to support for 802.11ac, generic measurement capabilities are included as standard, and a range of optional modulation analysis suites extend measurement support to a wide variety of communications standards within the same application framework. Measurement capabilities include power, spectrum, and modulation analysis with results displayed in two user-configurable windows.

A variety of trace and text displays are available for each communication standard, permitting close examination of signal parameters and performance. When used synchronously with the SGD, stimulus and response component measurements or complete transceiver characterization are accomplished with ease.

Price and availability

The SGD RF digital signal generator family includes: SGD-3 (up to 3 GHz) and the SGD-6 (up to 6 GHz). The SVA vector signal analyzer family includes the SVA-6 (up to 6 GHz) and the SVA-13 (up to 13 GHz). SGD Option 119 and SVA Option 110 are available for order with delivery in 8 weeks. IQCreator software supporting 802.11ac comes embedded in the SGD.

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