Microwave Journal

Updates and a Brief History of Aeroflex's PXI 3030

March 31, 2010
In October 2003 Aeroflex launched the 3000 Series, a PXI-based modulartest suite for mobile phone and general-purpose wireless test. Today, the Aeroflex 3000 Series now encompasses more than a dozen PXI RF modules andsupporting applications for signal generation and signal analysis, meeting the specific requirements for a wide range of mobile communication standards.
Applications include automated measurement of parametric performance of terminal transmitter and receiver characteristics, terminal TX and RX alignment and performance characterization for manufacturing, and research and development.

PXI OverviewPXI derives its name from the PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation specificationthat defines a rugged personal computer-based bus as the basis for a commonplatform for measurement and automation systems. PXI uses the high-speedPeripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus combined with the rugged, modular Eurocard mechanical packaging of CompactPCI and adds mechanical, electrical and software features that define complete systems for test and measurement, data acquisition and manufacturing applications. These extensions make it easy for end users and integrators to quickly build open, multi-vendor measurement and automation systems. The PXI was designed to bridge the gap between desktop PC systems and high-end VXI and GPIB bus systems.

In order to exploit the benefits of PXI, RF test system developers required first to have their needs met for performance and functionality, particularly in the areas of RF signal stimulus and RF signal analysis. The RF synthesizer has been used by Aeroflex since its inception as the underlying module for using PXI for RF instrumentation based upon the patented Fractional-N synthesizer. The 3020 Series RF signal generator modules are used in conjunction with the 3010 RF synthesizer to provide modulation and waveform generation, RF leveling and frequency tuning from 100 kHz to 6 GHz.

The 3030 Series RF digitizers provide frequency down conversion and highdynamic range analog to digital conversion for measurement and real timeapplications. The 3030 Series RF digitizers are also used with the 3010 RFsynthesizer, which provides the tune-able local oscillator (LO).

On March 31st, 2010, Aeroflex introduced its PXI 3030 TD-SCDMA Measurement Suite to provide fast and cost-effective production testing of mobile handsets and RFICs based on ETSI 3GPP TS 34-122. It supports all major cellular standards, including 3GPP LTE, CDMA2000, 1xEVDO, GSM, W-CDMA, and mobile WiMAX. The wireless connectivity standards WLAN and Bluetooth are expected to be integrated into most TD-SCDMA phones and are also supported in this single box solution. The PXI Measurement Suite makes parametric measurements of TD-SCDMA transmitters and supports high-speed alignment and performance verification of devices operated in a non-signalling mode. Applications include high-speed/high-throughput mobile handset testing as well as RFIC characterization.

The platform provides high yield and throughput, achieving dramatic improvements in test time using speed-optimizing techniques such as multi-thread processing, pipelined capture, and fast-sequence tuning (FST).