Reference measurement system to characterise next-generation RF PA modules

September 16, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Keysight Technologies has added a PXI Reference Solution for RF power amplifier (PA) characterisation and test, with measurement capabilities that includes envelope tracking and digital pre-distortion

The reference solution, which performs S-parameter, harmonic distortion, power and demodulation measurements, enables rapid, full characterisation of next-generation power amplifier modules, such as a power amplifier-duplexer (PAD). The Reference Solution is optimised for high throughput and highly accurate measurement quality. Keysight says it is only small footprint, full characterisation solution for design validation and product test of the RF power amplifier, as well as all of the passive devices surrounding the power amplifier, such as filters and duplexers.

The digital pre-distortion (DPD) algorithms it employs are built cooperation with wireless manufacturing customers and insights gained from Keysight's SystemVue simulation and N7614B Signal Studio for Power Amplifier Test software applications. This enables it to provide consistent measurements, from simulation to manufacturing, for next-generation power amplifier modules.

Proven DPD algorithms, with lookup table (LUT) and memory polynomial capability, complement the solution’s envelope tracking (ET) test capability. The solution includes fast waveform download, tight synchronisation and automated calibration, which are critical for ET test. The Reference Solution supports multiple vendors, such as the Signadyne SD AOU-H3353 single-slot, high-speed PXIe AWG and enables the fastest envelope generation available while reducing the test footprint.

Keysight comments that PADs are an increasingly popular alternative to more traditional power amplifier architecture because along with lower power consumption and greater efficiency and value, they allow device designers to save and optimise space by replacing multiple, discrete components with a single, compact module. PADs are also rapidly gaining in popularity with device designers because of the trend toward increasing band counts due to the implementation of new LTE networks.

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