Microwave Journal

Keithley Creates RF Communications Toolkit Software

October 29, 2008

Keithley Instruments Inc., a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs, has expanded its powerful SignalMeister™ software platform to now include RF signal analysis along with RF signal generation. First introduced in 2007, SignalMeister software is now the only software package on the market that integrates signal generation and analysis into one package for unmatched speed and simplicity. Furthermore, SignalMeister now has the capability of generating and analyzing both single-input single-output (SISO) and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) signals in the same environment. With SignalMeister software, research, design, and test engineers can quickly and easily create and analyze signals with a powerful, yet easy to use, block diagram-based, graphical user interface. In addition, the SignalMeister RF Communications Toolkit now supports the latest wireless, MIMO protocol standards, WiMAX Wave 2 and 802.11n WLAN. It also provides additional complex functionality such as WLAN channel modeling, beamforming, simulation studies, along with a rich set of IQ operations, and full utilities for data import and export. To learn more about Keithley's SignalMeister RF Communications Test Toolkit, visit http://keithley.acrobat.com/signalmeister3.

SignalMeister software is a next-generation RF communications toolkit that lets engineers create and analyze the highly complex signals required for today's RF testing needs quickly and flawlessly. An expandable software platform with a common user interface, it allows creation of waveforms from multiple signal standards with optional additive signal impairments and channel modeling in a single development environment. SignalMeister software allows MIMO signals to be created and analyzed as easily as SISO signals, simplifying the challenging task of MIMO testing for manufacturers developing and supplying mobile phones, wireless infrastructure, and RF chip sets in both production and R&D environments.

Keithley’s SignalMeister software is the most integrated, most complete RF communications testing toolkit on the market, featuring both signal generation and analysis capability. This tight integration of signal generation and analysis eliminates the need for multiple software tools. The user only has one program and a single user interface to learn. This increases test speed and greatly simplifies testing, especially for complex MIMO signal structures, making testing MIMO easy and flexible. SignalMeister software integrates seamlessly with Keithley’s Series 2800 Vector Signal Analyzers (VSA) and Series 2900 Vector Signal Generators (VSG) through these instruments’ LXI interface for simplified test system setup, start up and multi-instrument synchronization for MIMO test systems. Users can set up a test system for any number of channels from single channel to 4X4 MIMO and even up to 8X8 MIMO in minutes, lowering test development time and the overall cost of test.

SignalMeister software also supports all standard-defined channel models for leading-edge WLAN 802.11n signals. Channel modeling defines the various multi-path scenarios that must be tested for device certification. The channel models included with SignalMeister software support one to four inputs and outputs. In addition to specific channel models, SignalMeister includes I, Q impairments so that receiver performance can be evaluated when receiving signals from improperly-adjusted transmitters. Channel impairments such as frequency shift and noise can be added to a signal to test a receiver’s ability to accurately recover a distorted or low signal-to-noise ratio transmission.

In addition to generating either pure or impaired signals and analyzing the results with Keithley Series 2900 VSGs and Series 2800 VSAs, SignalMeister software features a simulation mode so that signals can be created and analyzed without actual hardware. Designers can study the effects of transmitter impairments and channel effects on signals for defining design and device performance goals. Furthermore, the simulation mode is an excellent training tool for engineers in industry or for students in wireless engineering academic programs.