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Industry News / Test and Measurement

X-COM Systems Four-Channel Arbitrary Waveform VSG Simplifies Testing

December 2, 2011
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X-COM Systems LLC, a subsidiary of Bird Technologies Group, introduced the 4CH-VSG2000, which in the compact space of a 2U rack-mount enclosure combines four independently-programmable arbitrary waveform vector signal generators (VSG) each with dedicated removable 1-Tbyte solid-state drives for waveform storage. The 4CH-VSG2000 is an excellent choice for testing multi-receiver or MIMO-enabled systems that require generation and playback of broadband signals with user-definable waveform sequences that simulate signal environments a receiver will experience in service. Its small size makes it equally-suited for evaluating the performance of systems in the field, in R&D environments, or within a production-line ATE system, and dramatically reduces the equipment required for testing.

The waveform sequences played back by the 4CH-VSG2000 contain any number of waveform segments in any order that together form the output stream. The instrument can accept waveforms based on commercial wireless standards, custom waveforms used in defense systems, or any user-defined waveform sequence, whether recorded over the air or created in tools such as MATLAB, RFXpress from Tektronix, or X-COM’s WaveCAFE software.

Each signal generator in the 4CH-VSG2000 can independently play any sequence of waveforms up to 110 MHz in bandwidth over a frequency range of 50 MHz to 2 GHz. As the 4CH-VSG2000 can drive the input of a microwave or millimeter-wave upconverter, it can also be used to test systems that operate at much higher frequencies. In either case, once the user selects the center frequency, the VSG will provide an output centered at that frequency and extending up to 55 MHz below and above it.

The 4CH-VSG2000 is extremely flexible, as its VSG outputs can be phase-locked, independently varied in phase, or operated completely independently of each other in phase and frequency. The VSG outputs can be at widely different frequencies or contiguous, providing a total bandwidth of 440 MHz, which makes the instrument an excellent choice for evaluating the performance of satellite communication transponders that cover very wide bandwidths.

The 4CH-VSG2000 stores waveforms on solid-state drives with maximum data rates of 600 Mbytes/s that can store from 22 to 66 min. of data depending on the selected sample rate. It provides both RF and I and Q outputs, an external trigger input, and an input for a precision external 10-MHz reference, and is supplied with X-COM’s MCVSG control software that orchestrates all instrument functions and configuration as well as connections to external systems via Ethernet. The 4CH-VSG2000 is also compatible with X -COM’s Spectro-X signal analysis software, RF Editor signal editor software, and WaveCAFE waveform creation software.


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