News | August 21, 2007

Keithley Announces New Software Platform For RF Waveform Generation


Cleveland, OH - Keithley Instruments, Inc., a leader in solutions for emerging measurement needs, announces the release of SignalMeister Waveform Creation Software for Keithley's award-winning line of RF vector signal generators. Keithley's SignalMeister is a free PC-based software tool that creates arbitrary waveform (ARB) files that can be downloaded to Keithley's Model 2910 RF Vector Signal Generator. SignalMeister is an expandable software platform with a common user interface that will allow integration of multiple signal creation libraries with flexibility to handle multiple signal standards as they become available.

The first signal generation library for the SignalMeister software supports the Chinese TD-SCDMA wireless communications standard, which is expected to be deployed soon in China. This TD-SCDMA library has the complete capability to produce virtually any TD-SCDMA signal quickly and easily. Waveform files generated with SignalMeister integrate seamlessly with Keithley's Model 2910 RF Vector Signal Generator. The SignalMeister software now allows users to get all the time and cost saving benefits provided by the Model 2910 when calibrating and testing wireless equipment and devices employing the TD-SCDMA technology standard.

The Model 2910 is Keithley's innovative next-generation RF test instrument, featuring a flexible software-defined radio (SDR) architecture to provide extremely fast measurement speed and which allows it to adapt quickly to the changing test requirements of the wireless communications market without expensive hardware upgrades. All TD-SCDMA signals can be generated in addition to, or in combination with, other technology standard signals already available using a Model 2910 without any hardware modification.

The SignalMeister TD-SCDMA waveforms used with the Model 2910 RF Vector Signal Generator have excellent accuracy and signal modulation quality performance, are ideal for high-speed test execution, and are a low cost test solution. These important characteristics ensure high product quality and production yields, reduce product test times, and lower capital costs, critical success factors for the hyper-competitive Chinese market where the TD-SCDMA technology will be used for the most part.

SignalMeister TD-SCDMA waveform signals generated using the Model 2910 have a signal modulation quality characteristic EVM of 0.3%. Absolute amplitude accuracy is typically <±0.3db to="" -110dbm="" (cw),="" relative="" accuracy="" (linearity)="" is=""><±0.05db, and="" repeatability="" is=""><±0.05db.>

TD-SCDMA devices require testing at different frequencies and amplitudes, which the Model 2910 does in just over one millisecond with its patent-pending synthesizer design and List Mode. In addition, TD-SCDMA devices are commonly tested with multiple signal waveforms which must be switched quickly. The Model 2910 can store multiple TD-SCDMA waveforms, along with waveforms from other technology standards, in its 40MHz bandwidth, 100 Mega-sample ARB memory. It can switch between waveforms instantly, in one sample period, using the ARB Sequence feature or in less than three milliseconds using a SCPI command via any of the instrument's GPIB, USB, or LAN interfaces, which includes LXI Class 3 operation.

The SignalMeister TD-SCDMA software generates waveforms that conform to the ETSI 3GPP–TDD standard and defines 11 physical and three transport channels for both Uplink and Downlink signals. In addition to creating a signal that conforms to the standard, the SignalMeister software can also produce a TD-SCDMA signal that goes outside the standard, giving test engineers the ability to push parameter values beyond the standard in order to stress devices and ensure very high product quality. When certain parameter settings are not allowed, SignalMeister software warns the user and won't allow the signal waveform file to be created, preventing errors from occurring.

Keithley's SignalMeister Waveform Creation Software features an intuitive PC-based graphical user interface (GUI) that speeds up and simplifies signal creation, allowing users to quickly and easily generate signal waveforms. For instance, a set-up wizard lets users set up all of the reference measurement channels (RMC) defined in the TD-SCDMA standard as well as define the start timeslot and start code for each RMC. All the Uplink and Downlink RMCs are supported. In addition, a signal configuration tree helps engineers navigate the creation of a TD-SCDMA waveform using comprehensive dialog boxes for each channel with clearly organized signal parameter settings. A parameter settings summary also displays the current settings and the allowed value range of each parameter.

Keithley's SignalMeister software with TD-SCDMA waveform generation capability is ideally suited for the testing needs of mobile phone manufacturers, RF device manufacturers and mobile phone chip-set suppliers in both production and R&D environments. Test engineers in base-station manufacturing, such as pico base stations, which requires high-speed testing and are especially sensitive to equipment costs, will also benefit from the SignalMeister software when used with the Model 2910 RF Vector Signal Generator.

Keithley offers its customers a range of fast and accurate RF test instrumentation solutions for the wireless market. With an unrivaled combination of accuracy, repeatability, speed, flexibility, ease of use, and compact size, these award-winning instruments employ new approaches to test and measurement that enable users to reduce test time with less effort and money. In R&D applications, Keithley's RF test solutions help decrease product time to market while increasing productivity and lowering capital equipment costs. For production facilities testing wireless communication equipment and devices that are faced with intense budget and time-to-market constraints but cannot compromise on measurement quality, valuable rack or bench-top space, or ease of use, Keithley Instruments deliver exceptional measurements for the lowest test equipment investment.

SOURCE: Keithley Instruments, Inc.