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A Brief Profile of a High Frequency Vector Signal Generator

A new four-channel vector signal generator claims to serve real-time broadband frequency designs for demanding wireless applications in 5G, 6G research, satellite communications and radar. It covers frequency ranges from 9 kHz to 54 GHz and generates test signals with RF bandwidth up to 5 GHz.

Wireless designs, now approaching the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, are increasingly using multi-antenna techniques such as space diversity, space multiplexing, and beamforming to achieve antenna gains for robust, high-speed communications. The new microwave signal generator facilitates multi-antenna test applications such as MIMO and beamforming with precise phase coherence and time synchronization.

Additionally, the M9484C VXG Microwave Signal Generator, when used with a V3080A Vector Signal Generator Frequency Extender, extends the frequency range up to 110 GHz to meet the needs of the latest standards and evolving. Thus, a fully integrated, calibrated and synchronized signal generator provides low phase noise and minimizes measurement uncertainty.

Source: Keysight

At high frequencies, such as the mmWave bands, engineers face excessive path loss encountered with low error vector magnitude (EVM) and distortion at high output power. So Keysight has integrated a new chip into its signal generator to provide robust digital signal processing for digital upconversion. It generates IF/RF signals up to 8.5 GHz directly from a high sample rate 14-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) without the signal distortions found in generator architectures traditional vector signals.

This leads to advanced RF performance with Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) technology to accurately characterize the device under test (DUT). It also improves the dynamic range of a signal and provides advanced signal fidelity, especially for wideband signal generation.

Another DSP chip built into the M9484C VXG can emulate up to 8 baseband signals and combine them into a single wideband signal in real time. This allows engineers to perform real-time manipulation of baseband signals; each baseband signal can be independently monitored, filtered, attenuated and placed anywhere within the 2.5 GHz bandwidth in real time.

The integration of these two chips and other design initiatives facilitates real-time signal processing and comprehensive signal building to handle complex test scenarios. In other words, it simplifies the complexity of testing for receiver and performance testing. Engineers can reduce the complexity of test system setup and obtain accurate and repeatable multi-channel measurements in a single instrument.

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