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A short profile of a high-frequency vector signal generator

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

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

Moreover, the M9484C VXG microwave signal generator, when used along with a V3080A vector signal-generator frequency extender, expands the frequency range to up to 110 GHz to address the needs of the latest and evolving standards. Thus, a fully integrated, calibrated, and synchronized signal generator delivers low-phase noise and minimizes measurement uncertainty.

Source: Keysight

At high frequencies, like mmWave bands, engineers confront excessive path loss experienced with low error vector magnitude (EVM) and distortion at high output power. So, Keysight has incorporated 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 direct from a high-sampling-rate 14-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) without signal impairments found in traditional vector signal generator architectures.

That leads to advanced RF performance with direct digital synthesis (DDS) technology for accurately characterizing the device under test (DUT). It also improves a signal’s dynamic range and offers advanced signal fidelity, especially for wideband signal generation.

Another DSP chip incorporated into M9484C VXG can emulate up to 8 baseband signals and aggregate them into one wideband signal in real-time. That enables engineers to perform real-time manipulation of baseband signals; each baseband signal can be independently controlled, filtered, faded, and placed anywhere within a 2.5 GHz bandwidth in real-time.

Incorporating these two chips and other design initiatives facilitates real-time signal processing and comprehensive signal creation to handle complex test scenarios. In other words, it simplifies test complexity for receiver and performance tests. Engineers can reduce test system setup complexity and achieve accurate and repeatable multi-channel measurements in a single instrument.

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