Keysight Technologies has launched the first single instrument, dual-channel microwave signal generators with 2 GHz modulation bandwidth and frequency coverage to 44 GHz. The two channels are fully calibrated and phase coherent, providing control of the relative phase, time and amplitude offsets for multi-user, beamforming or dual-polarization tests.

The VXG signal generator is available in two configurations: a bench-top unit with touch screen interface (M9384B VXG) and a modular version in a PXIe form factor (M9382B VXG-m), options tailored to the unique needs of R&D and manufacturing.

The bench-top version of Keysight's VXG signal generator.

These VXG microwave signal generators were developed to support the demanding requirements for 5G New Radio (NR) and satellite communications applications at millimeter wave frequencies. 5G NR and satellite communications systems are adopting phased array antennas, higher order modulation and wider bandwidth: 256-QAM OFDM and 1.2 GHz bandwidth for 5G NR with carrier aggregation and up to 2 GHz for satellite communications.

With a 10 GHz carrier, the VXG's phase noise is −126 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset.

To support power amplifier and over-the-air (OTA) testing, the VXG signal generators provide high output power: +24 dBm at 28 and 39 GHz. At both 28 and 39 GHz, with +10 dBm output, EVM is better than 1 percent with 100 MHz modulation bandwidth. ACPR is −50 dBc at 28 GHz, with 100 MHz modulation bandwidth. The high, linear output power helps overcome millimeter wave path losses with OTA testing.

Features Tailored for 5G

The new signal generators interface with Keysight’s PathWave software platform, which simplifies 5G waveform generation and test workflows, reducing test complexity and streamlining the 3GPP-mandated conformance testing of components, base stations, mobile terminal transmitter and receivers.

The VXG signal generators provide additional benefits for 5G NR:

  • Testing at both 5G frequency ranges defined by 3GPP: the sub-6 GHz frequency range 1 (FR1) and the millimeter wave frequency range 2 (FR2).
  • 3GPP-compliant pre-conformance and conformance test solutions for 5G base stations (gNB).
  • The bench-top unit features a new graphical user interface, which streamlines creating standards-compliant test signals.

Keysight 5G test bed
Keysight's VXG integrated in a millimeter wave OTA test system.

This approach to providing testbed solutions enables Keysight to quickly integrate new technology to create market-ready solutions as communications standards evolve, enabling users to get to market quickly.

“High performance characterization and validation of base station components across both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave spectrum requires efficient generation of standards-compliant waveforms at wide-ranging frequencies and bandwidths. Keysight’s VXG signal generators reduce set-up complexity and improve radiated testing measurement integrity, while shortening overall development times for customers racing to be first-to-market with 5G solutions.” — Giampaolo Tardioli, vice president of Keysight’s Network Access group

The VXG family joins the EXG, MXG and UXG, expanding Keysight’s signal generator portfolio to address new demanding markets. The VXG software is backwards compatible, so designers can use previously developed code.