The instrument features a software-centric architecture and represents a new era in which engineers and scientists can use LabVIEW to tailor open, field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based hardware for their specific needs.
The vector signal transceiver is a new class of instrumentation that combines a vector signal generator (VSG) and vector signal analyzer (VSA) with FPGA-based real-time signal processing and control into a single PXI modular instrument. A user-programmable FPGA allows custom algorithms to be implemented directly into the hardware design of the instrument. This software-designed approach allows a VST to have the flexibility of a software-defined-radio (SDR) architecture with RF instrument class performance. Figure 1 illustrates the difference between traditional approaches to RF instrumentation and a software-designed approach with a VST.
Ideal for testing the latest wireless and cellular standards such as 802.11ac and LTE, the VST features up to 6.0 GHz frequency coverage and 80 MHz instantaneous RF bandwidth, more than 10 times faster measurements than comparable solutions, and can easily be expanded to support multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) configurations or parallel testing in a single PXI chassis. Further, engineers can transform the vector signal transceiver into a different instrument or enhance its existing functionality using LabVIEW system design software.
VSTs offer both the fast measurement speed and small form factor of a production test box combined with the flexibility and high-performance expectation of instrument-grade box instruments. The transmit, receive, baseband I/Q, and digital inputs and outputs all share a common user-programmable FPGA, which reduces complexity, boosts measurement speed and increases flexibility in how the instrument is used. This gives the VST the ability