Modular WLAN 802.11ac test system covers 160 MHz bandwidth up to 6 GHz

November 14, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Aeroflex Limited has announced a test system based on its PXI 3000 Series modular instrumentation, which has been designed to offer measurements over a 160 MHz bandwidth at operating frequencies up to 6 GHz.

The latest system is particularly suited for making R&D, design verification, and production measurements on wireless LAN (WLAN) devices based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard, extending the company's market-leading 802.11ac measurement capability in PXI to cover the optional 160 MHz bandwidth.

WLAN 802.11ac promises data rates up to 10 times higher than those offered by the current 802.11nstandard. The 802.11ac standard defines three wide bandwidth variants: a mandatory 80 MHz bandwidth; a non-contiguous 80+80 MHz option; and an optional 160 MHz contiguous bandwidth. It also introduces high-density modulation, optionally up to 256QAM, and higher order Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) with the option of up to eight spatial streams.

In addition to wider bandwidth measurements, the new test system offers best-in-class phase noise performance and a simplified programming API. Frequency and levelling switching are also faster than has previously been available. The WLAN 802.11ac test system comprises the Aeroflex 3070 high performance vector signal analyzer and the 3050/3320 high performance vector signal generator, and is housed in the PXI 3005 Smart PXI Chassis with universal AC power supply. When used with the WLAN 802.11ac Measurement Suite and IQCreator®, the test system provides complete waveform generation and analysis capability for high bandwidth 802.11ac WLAN devices. Both these software suites have been upgraded to handle measurements over a 160 MHz bandwidth.

The 3070 high performance vector signal analyzer operates over a frequency range of 250 MHz to 6 GHz with a 160 MHz bandwidth. Typical noise floor is -160 dBm/Hz.

The 3050/3320 high performance vector signal generator operates over 100 kHz to 6 GHz with a 200 MHz bandwidth and up to +20 dBm output power. Typical noise floor is -150 dBm/Hz.

Both 3070 and 3050 have class leading phase noise of -135 dBc/Hz at 1 GHz with 20 kHz offset and have a build-in oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) frequency reference.

Measuring Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) requires the residual EVM of the test