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National Instruments’ 6GHz Vector Signal Transceiver gets bandwidth, FPGA upgrades

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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Recently, National Instruments released a significantly upgraded version of its 6GHz PXIe-based Vector Signal Transceiver (VST), which melds a vector signal analyzer with a vector signal generator and a user-programmable Virtex-6 FPGA to create an autonomous real-time signal-processing instrument. The most significant change to the new NI PXIe-5646R VST is an RF bandwidth boost in the instrument’s analog front end to 200MHz, up from 80MHz in the PXIe-5644R and PXIe-5645R VSTs. The enhanced input bandwidth makes the NI PXIe-5646 VST ideal for testing the latest wireless standards such as IEEE 802.11ac, 160 MHz WLAN, and LTE Advanced. The NI PXIe-5646R offers 200 MHz of complex bandwidth via a sample rate of 250 Msamples/sec, which is greater than eight times the data rate in the standard LTE radio frame. These capabilities are well suited to the latest RF design technologies such as digital predistortion and envelope tracking.



 NI VST System.jpg


The NI PXIe-5646R is powered by the company’s LabVIEW system design software, which provides an easy-to-use graphical design platform that simplifies the design of complex tests. According to National Instruments, customers have seen 10X to 100X improvements in test time for tests such as power amplifier servoing by taking advantage of the speed, deterministic processing, and the inherent parallel architecture of the integrated FPGA.


The previously introduced NI PXIe-5644R and PXIe-5645R VSTs employ a Xilinx Virtex-6 LX195T FPGA to accelerate their testing and control capabilities. The new PXIe-5646R VST incorporates a larger Virtex-6 LX240T FPGA, which increases the amount of programmable logic by 21% and increases number of available DSP slices from 640 to 768 to provide the additional signal-processing capabilities needed to support the 2.5x RF bandwidth increase in the new instrument. The new PXIe-5646R VST comes with enhanced IP libraries to support its additional processing resources and wider RF bandwidth, which permit the LabVIEW FPGA graphical programming environment to automatically select the appropriate DSP implementation based on application requirements and available hardware capabilities.


Here’s a 49-second idea-book video from NI that suggests ways you might use its VSTs:





For additional coverage of the NI VST, see these previous Xcell Daily blog posts:


National Instruments’ Vector Signal Transceiver runs Broadcom Bluetooth and Wireless LAN test code with a little FPGA help


National Instruments Demonstrates 5x Speedup from FPGA in VST Test Demo at NI Day San Jose


How Xilinx All Programmable technology has fundamentally changed business at National Instruments



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