National Instruments at the International Microwave Symposium demonstrated its NI Measurement Suite for Fixed WiMAX (IEEE 802.16-2004), a software suite that can be used to configure software-defined PXI RF measurement systems. With this suite, engineers can test WiMAX base stations and mobile subscriber stations as well as components such as transceivers, power amplifiers and other RFICs. Engineers can purchase the suite software alone or with preconfigured hardware bundles. Because the system builds on the NI PXI instrumentation platform, engineers who have PXI RF instruments can quickly add WiMAX capabilities to their test systems. In addition, by selecting specific tools from the Measurement Suite for Fixed WiMAX, engineers can work with the same equipment they use for testing WiMAX devices to test hardware that complies with other standards, such as wireless local area network (WLAN), GPS and GSM/EDGE/WCDMA.

The suite’s software includes the NI Signal Analysis Toolkit for Fixed WiMAX, which works with RF vector signal analyzers (VSA), and the NI Signal Generation Toolkit for Fixed WiMAX, which works with RF vector signal generators (VSG). Combined with multicore processors, PXI Express-based measurement systems for WiMAX that are built on this software package can help engineers complete error vector magnitude (EVM) and spectral mask measurements two to three times faster than with traditional box instruments, NI reports. For automated test applications, the suite offers programming APIs for signal generation and analysis in programming environments such as the NI LabView graphical system design platform and LabWindowsTM/CVI ANSI C development environment as well as ANSI C. While signal generation and measurements are compliant with IEEE 802.16-2004 (also referred to as IEEE 802.16d) specifications, engineers can use the software-based approach to customize measurements. Because the Signal Analysis Toolkit for Fixed WiMAX provides access to both the raw I/Q data and the measurement result, engineers also can use it with RF VSAs, high-speed digitizers and digital waveform analyzers.

In addition to its software toolkits, the Measurement Suite for Fixed WiMAX offers multiple software-defined hardware options to meet different application needs. A standard NI test bundle for WiMAX includes an NI PXIe-5663 6.6 GHz VSA, PXIe-5673 6.6 GHz VSG, PXIe-1075 18-slot high-bandwidth chassis and PXIe-8106 dual-core controller. With this system, engineers can perform accurate RF characterization with residual Fixed WiMAX EVM results of -45 dB at 3.5 GHz in loopback mode.