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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the November 2014 edition of the PXI Newsletter.  Our intent is to educate and inform you about how the PXI standard is being used in modular test systems for a wide variety of industries.

In the New PXI Products section, we are showcasing PXI products recently released by members of the PXI Systems Alliance.

Our thanks go to National Instruments, the sponsor for this month's issue.

Visit for more information.


Main Article


Next-generation RF power amplifier DVT test systems must be optimized for throughput, performance and complete MMPA characterization 

Submitted by Keysight Technologies

In the drive to provide robust and efficient user equipment, chip manufacturers are integrating more functionality into single chips and assemblies, specifically to provide compact and efficient front-end electronics. The "front end" of the user equipment is everything between the transceiver and the antenna(s), including the PA, along with low noise amplifiers (LNA), filters, duplexers, switches, and antenna tuner. 

Design verification test (DVT) of these multimode, multiband power amplifier (MMPA) devices is complex and challenging.  The huge number of permutations in operational modes of devices, along with the ongoing increases in performance requirements, has led to a dramatic increase in the number and complexity of tests required to validate device design in final testing, which is at odds with the need to reduce test size, cost, and time, as well as time to market. 



5G Massive MIMO Testbed: From Theory to Reality

By Erik Luther,
Senior Product Marketing Manager
RF and SDR, National Instruments

Massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) is an exciting area of 5G wireless research. For next-generation wireless data networks, it promises significant gains that offer the ability to accommodate more users at higher data rates with better reliability while consuming less power. Using the NI Massive MIMO Application Framework, researchers can build 128-antenna MIMO testbeds to rapidly prototype large-scale antenna systems using award-winning LabVIEW system design software and state-of-the-art NI USRP™ RIO software defined radios (SDRs). With a simplified design flow for creating FPGA-based logic and streamlined deployment for high-performance processing, researchers in this field can meet the demands of prototyping these highly complex systems with a unified hardware and software design flow.

Read more>>

The PXI Systems Alliance Holds
the 2014 PXI Discovery Fest

The PXI System Alliance (PXISA), a Test & Measurement standard-setting organization that develops, promotes and maintains the PXI Standard, held its 2014 Discovery Fest at the Saint Louis Convention Center on Sep 18th. This event provided an opportunity for participants to validate interoperability between PXI modules, controllers, chassis and software. 

The PXI discovery fest is an important event to validate interoperability and improve the PXI standard, which translates into more choices for end-users and faster times to set up automated test systems. According to Frost and Sullivan, “The PXI instrumentation market is perhaps the fastest-growing segment of the test and measurement industry, typically witnessing double-digit growth on an annual basis. Modular instrumentation has become a very attractive test solution due to the benefits offered by its small footprint, high throughput, and multi-channel test capabilities.”

Read more>>

Frost and Sullivan Forecast:
PXI to Disrupt Automated Test

by Larry Desjardin, Modular Methods

Frequent readers of the Test Cafe blog know that I am bullish on modular instruments, such as PXI or AXIe.  This column has pointed out the many benefits modular instrumentation brings- higher speed, smaller size, flexibility, all leading to a lower cost of test.  Combine that with industry dynamics that couple Porter’s 5 forces with Nobel Laureate John Forbes Nash’s game theory mathematics, and you have the making of a disruptive change in the marketplace.  PXI, in particular, is destined to grow big. But how big?

Along comes Frost & Sullivan with their PXI market forecast.  And it is stunning.  They predict PXI to achieve $1.75B in annual sales by 2020, up from $563M in 2013.  That’s an aggregate growth rate of over 17%.  Not bad for an industry that has an overall secular growth rate of 3 percent.

Read more>>

Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

NI sponsor

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New PXI Products

The PXI platform continues its explosive growth with many new product introductions. New products introduced in the last three months include (listed in the order received):

Cambridge Instruments 12 GHz Microwave Sources offer High Performance and Low SWaPCambridge Instruments has announced the commercial release of the QuantumWave, 4000 series of PXIe based, RF and microwave sources.  Three variants are available covering frequencies from 75 MHz to 12 GHz.  The 4062 and 4122 offer two independent low phase-noise synthesizers in a single width 3U PXIe module saving valuable chassis slot space. 

PXI-Express Cards for Avionics Test and Simulation from AIM
With the new ACE1553 and ACE429 PXI-Express modules, you have all the performance and capability for testing MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC429 avionics in a PXI-Express environment.  

ADQ1600TD - optimized for pulsed-data capture
The ADQ1600TD is a high resolution high sampling rate digitizer optimized for pulsed-data capture. Through the use of SP Devices' ADX interleaving technology it combines 1.6 GS/s sampling rate with 14 bits vertical resolution and thereby offers unmatched performance. 

VTI Instruments’ SMX-4410 PXI Express 300 V Matrix
VTI Instruments designed its PXI Express SMX-4410 300 V/2 Amp matrix switch module designed for ATE systems where maximum signal integrity and density is desired. The SMX-4410 contains four (4X10) 2-wire building blocks that can be bussed together under software control to create 2 (8x10), or 1 (8x20), or 2 (4x20), or 1 (4x40) 2-wire matrices.

New VPC VTAC High Speed Data Solution
In response to higher data rates required to test and measure the latest technologies, Virginia Panel Corporation created the VTAC High Speed Data Solution.  

Keysight Technologies New 26.5 GHz PXI VNA Drives Down the Size of Test
The Keysight PXI vector network analyzers (VNAs) are full two-port VNAs that fit in just one slot. The PXI VNAs perform fast, accurate measurements and reduce your cost-of-test by letting you simultaneously characterize many devices — two-port or multiport — using a single PXI chassis.

NI PXIe-5171R Oscilloscope 250 MHz, 250 MS/s, 14-Bit, Reconfigurable Oscilloscope
The PXIe-5171R reconfigurable oscilloscope is a general-purpose module that features a user-programmable FPGA for inline signal processing, protocol decoding, and advanced trigger schemes without dead time.


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