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Cost-Effective Testing of RF Semiconductors
07 July 2016 - Advantest introduced its Wave Scale generation of channel cards for the V93000 platform, which delivers unprecedented levels of parallelism and throughput in testing radio-frequency (RF) and mixed-signal ICs for wireless communications. Designed for highly parallel multi-site and in-site parallel testing, the new V93000 Wave Scale RF and V93000 Wave Scale MX cards substantially reduce the cost of test and time to market for today's RF semiconductors while creating a path for testing future 5G devices.
The new cards target the RF and wireless communication market segments by providing highly efficient test solutions for the semiconductors that drive LTE, LTE-Advanced and LTE-A Pro smart phones as well as LTE-M, WLAN, GPS, ZigBee, Bluetooth and IoT applications. The new cards can handle today's market requirements and also projected technology changes for 5G networks.
V93000 Wave Scale cards are architecturally advanced compared to current market offerings. Traditional RF test solutions have been using multi-site testing for RF devices, such as quad- or octal-site testing, but they test one RF standard per site at a time. Wave Scale RF and corresponding Wave Scale MX cards can simultaneously test multiple standards or multiple paths within each RF device, achieving in-site parallelism and high multi-site efficiency to significantly reduce the cost of test for these complex RF devices.
The Wave Scale RF card has four independent RF subsystems per board with individual stimulus and measurement frequencies to allow testing of LTE, GPS, Bluetooth and WLAN devices at the same time. Each subsystem has eight individual ports, which simultaneously fan out the RF signal, and up to four independent measurement instruments. This enables each RF subsystem to be used for up to eight sites for running both RX (receiver) and TX (transmitter) tests simultaneously, delivering as many as 32 sites per card. The Wave Scale RF can support up to 6 GHz with each of its 32 RF ports per card. Along with its 200-MHz bandwidth and various other features including internal loopback and embedded calibration, this ensures a wide application range extending toward future 5G semiconductor devices.
Optimized for analog IQ baseband applications and testing of high-speed DACs and ADCs, the Wave Scale MX high-speed card has 32 fully independent instruments per board and an additional parametric measurement unit (PMU) at each pogo for highly accurate DC measurements. Its 16-bit AC source and measurement functions provide optimized performance for dedicated baseband communication standards. With its 300-MHz bandwidth, this card can handle the latest advanced modulation standards including out-of-channel measurements on aggregated baseband channels. A flexible I/O matrix reduces loadboard complexity and boosts multi-site testing capabilities, providing full functionality at every pogo. No dedicated calibration equipment is needed, with only IQ calibration requiring a separate board.
Both new V93000 cards, Wave Scale RF and Wave Scale MX, feature a hardware sequencer that controls the parallel, independent operation of all instruments.
"Wave Scale allows our customers to keep pace with faster technology changes on upcoming generations of semiconductors," said Hans-Juergen Wagner, senior vice president of the SoC Product Group at Advantest Corporation. "Using Wave Scale, current and next-generation devices can be tested more efficiently and cost effectively, leading to faster time to market."
The first Wave Scale cards have been installed at a fabless semiconductor company in China, where they are being used to test current LTE Category 6 devices and develop test protocols for LTE-Advanced Category 10 and Category 16 communication ICs and beyond. Advantest is now taking orders for Wave Scale RF and Wave Scale MX cards. Volume shipments to customers are expected to begin in the third quarter of this year.
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