Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced a series of enhancements to its N5106A PXB baseband generator and channel emulator designed to expand its use across the R&D lifecycle -- from design, integration and verification to pre-conformance. With these enhancements, the PXB now offers multi-channel baseband generation (BBG), real-time fading, and signal capture in a single, multi-purpose instrument. The new functionality makes it ideal for engineers working on product development as well as conducting advanced research.

Agilent’s N5106A PXB is a comprehensive diagnostic toolset for receiver signal processing that allows engineers to validate their designs under real-world conditions. The PBX significantly minimizes design uncertainty and has the most flexibility to test beyond standard requirements. It provides up to 6 BBGs, up to 8 faders and more than 20 calibrated configurations up to 4x2 MIMO, which can be reconfigured in seconds using the instrument user interface. The enhanced PXB also offers support for multi-format radio test (e.g., the ability to create fully parameterized signals for established and evolving standards with Agilent Signal Studio. Wireless formats include LTE, HSPA, W-CMDA, GSM/EDGE, TD-SCDMA, Mobile WiMAX™, WLAN, digital video and GPS).

As a multi-purpose instrument, the PXB can be quickly connected and calibrated, reducing time, cost and complexity. These qualities make it ideal for use as a general-purpose research tool. Its ability to be used across the R&D lifecycle and easily upgraded onsite enable users to maximize their investment value.

The N5106A PXB enhancements include:

• Signal Capture -- The PXB now captures RF and digital I/Q signals with 512 MSa of memory. Agilent’s 89600 Vector Signal Analysis (VSA) software runs inside the PXB, enabling signal monitoring of signals being captured. Additionally, engineers can post process captured signals using either their own simulator or MATLAB®.

• Real-time GPS and DVB (digital video) Signal Creation -- Running Agilent Signal Studio on the PXB provides engineers with access to real-time GPS and DVB-T/H signal creation on a high-performance, general-purpose platform with real-time channel emulation for receiver verification test. For GPS, Signal Studio supports 12-satellite simulation with 24 channels for full multipath capability. An optional scenario generator allows creation of custom scenarios. In support of DVB, it allows real-time TS file streaming and modulation. Signal Studio also enables 3GPP LTE signal with dynamically changing characteristics based on external HARQ and Timing Adjustment (TA) feedback for LTE base station receiver test.

• 8960 Fading (available April 2010) -- With a direct connection to the 8960 Wireless Communications Test Set, the PXB supports real-time fading with performance matching that of expensive RF faders dedicated solely to fading at a lower price point and offering simple connectivity.

“Many engineers designing, integrating and verifying receiver signal processing face a critical challenge -- how to keep pace with the rapid design changes imposed by their industry,” said Guy Séné, Vice President and General Manager of Agilent’s Microwave & Communications Division. “Our enhanced PXB platform specifically addresses this challenge by providing engineers with the baseband generation, real-time fading and signal capture they need to quickly test the signal processing of their receivers. Delivering value at every stage of the R&D lifecycle, the PXB is quickly becoming an indispensible part of the engineer’s toolbox.”