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Industry News

Keithley Adds New Capabilities to RF Vector Signal Generator

June 8, 2007
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Keithley Instruments Inc. announced a series of enhancements to its model 2910 RF vector signal generator. The new capabilities included in the model 2910 V2.0 include additional wireless signal generation waveforms, a new power calibration feature, and increased ARB memory to accommodate more and larger waveforms.


Keithley’s award-winning model 2910 RF vector signal generator has been recognized for a number of industry innovations, such as its Software-defined Radio (SDR) Architecture, patent-pending synthesizer technology and unique power leveling circuitry.

The model 2910 uses a highly versatile software architecture to adapt to the quickly changing test requirements of the dynamic wireless market. It provides a flexible RF test platform that reduces test times with fast frequency tuning, amplitude settling and waveform switching for half the cost of instruments with similar, or less, performance capabilities. The model 2910 can internally generate virtually any signal with up to 40 MHz of modulation bandwidth and signals greater than 400 MHz modulation bandwidth using external I-Q inputs. The model 2910’s continuous tuning capability from 400 MHz to 2.5 GHz covers the key ISM bands used for wireless communications.

In addition, the model 2910 has the most intuitive user interface on the market, making it simple for even the novice user to quickly and easily generate RF signals. With an unrivaled combination of high accuracy and repeatability, speed, flexibility, ease of use and compact size, the model 2910 V2.0 employs new approaches to RF test and measurement that enables users to get accurate measurement results quickly, reduce test times and decrease costs. The model 2910 V2.0 features two new modulation capability options. The first of these, the model 2910-DIG, is a flexible digital modulation option that allows users to create an extensive range of signal modulations used in modern RF communication products. The model 2910-DIG lets users create multiple permutations of all digital modulation signals including ASK, FSK, PSK and QAM, each with user-selectable symbol rates, filter types and data types. The model 2910-DIG option is especially useful in research and development labs and in education for its ability to easily create a wide range of digital modulation signals.

The other new option is the model 2910-GPS, a low cost and flexible solution for GPS testing that is especially well suited for production test environments. The model 2910-GPS option simulates the coded L1 signal of a GPS satellite with a variety of data types, including using an external user-file with up to 37,504 bits (12.5 minutes) of actual satellite data. Comparable solutions cost at least twice as much as the model 2910 V2.0 with GPS option. Together with other common wireless standards, such as GSM, EDGE, W-CDMA, cdmaOne and cdma2000, the model 2910-GPS option expands the scope of the model 2910’s RF test and measurement capabilities to test mobile devices with integrated GPS functionality.

Keithley’s model 2910 V2.0 also features a new power calibration table that improves measurement accuracy by compensating for RF power losses in test fixture cables. The table stores power vs. frequency values of the cables obtained via a separate RF power meter. The model 2910 then automatically adjusts the power, correcting for cable losses to an accuracy of +0.3 dB. This reduces operator error when making manual measurements and eliminates the need to develop power correction programming scripts in the test executive for automated systems.

Calibrating the test fixture is simplified with a new SCPI (Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments) command feature that allows an external PC connected to a Model 2910 V2.0 to control a separate RF power meter, such as a handheld Keithley Model 3500 RF Power Meter, via a USB cable; the power meter is used to measure power at the RF cable connected to the device under test. Compensating for cable power loss is critical for production test environments to reduce measurement uncertainty, which helps to increase product quality and yields.

Price and availability: Units are now available with four weeks delivery. The base price for the model 2910 V2.0 RF vector signal generator is $13,400 USD. The ARB option is $3,150 USD, the flexible digital modulation option is $3,500 USD and the GPS option is $2,500 USD. Firmware upgrade is free for existing owners of model 2910 units.

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