National Instruments (NI) has doubled its PXI RF switch offering for 50 and 75 ohm RF applications with the release of 11 new RF switches.

The new modules include 4x1, terminated 4x1, dual 4x1 and 8x1 multiplexers as well as quad (4) SPDT and dual-terminated SPDT general-purpose configurations.

With these new products, engineers have more choices to optimize their RF switch networks around price performance and improved signal integrity.

The six new 2.5 GHz 75 ohm modules are the company’s first switches for high-frequency video applications, such as set-top box testing. The five new 2.7 GHz 50 ohm modules add to the company’s current RF switch offering of 10 modules for routing signals between DC and 26.5 GHz and are ideal for expanding the channel count of RF generators, such as the NI PXI-5671 2.7 GHz vector signal generator, or RF analyzers such as the NI PXI-5661 2.7 GHz vector signal analyzer.

All 11 modules offer extremely low insertion loss (less than 2.1 dB at specified bandwidth) and voltage-standing wave ratio (less than 1.75 at bandwidth) to minimize power loss, voltage attenuation and signal reflections. Alternative PXI RF switches available on the market have up to 3 dB of insertion loss and voltage-standing wave ratio greater than 1.8 at their bandwidth frequencies. The new modules also offer relay count tracking, a feature available only on National Instruments PXI modules.

With this feature, engineers can keep track of relay closures on board the hardware to estimate the lifetime of individual relays on the module and avoid unexpected system downtime.

Engineers can program all of the new switches using the full-featured NI-SWITCH driver software for basic relay operations in common development environments such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, LabWindows™/CVI for ANSI C development and Microsoft Visual Basic/C++. For additional assistance in configuring, programming and managing high-channel-count switching systems, NI Switch Executive software offers an easy-to-use, intelligent switch management and visual routing environment.

Once they have configured and programmed their switch networks, engineers can deploy them using NI TestStand, a ready-to-run test management environment and framework designed to simplify the automation of test and validation systems.