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NI Unveils mmWave Test Solution to Boost the Race to 5G Commercialization

National Instruments (NI)National Instruments (NI) revealed the mmWave Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) to address the test challenges of 5G mmWave RFIC transceivers and power amplifiers. The company in its statement said that the product will be demonstrated at NIWeek 2019 in multi-site production test configurations for the packaged part and wafer-level test and invalidation test configurations using OTA measurements.

The chipmakers are in competition to commercialize 5G mmWave technology which makes the engineers face the daunting challenge of accelerating product schedules combined with new and often unsolved technical requirements.

The latest device from NI addresses these challenges in both the R&D lab and the high-volume manufacturing environment. They provide the following key benefits :

  • Measurement quality to meet rigorous technical requirements
  • An architecture designed to scale to the specific needs of production test for mmWave chips
  • A unified software experience that simplifies measurement and automation
  • Identical instrumentation in validation and production to simplify correlation efforts and reduce development time

NI’s solutions use the mmWave VST, which combines an RF signal generator, an RF signal analyzer and integrated switching with 1 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth at frequencies up to 44 GHz. In addition to existing PXI-based characterization systems in the lab, this instrument natively integrates into the NI Semiconductor Test System (STS) for deployment in high-volume manufacturing applications. 5G mmWave STS configurations support up to eight mmWave VST instruments, with integrated IF capabilities, and up to 72 mmWave ports in a tester configuration that is optimized for EVM performance. Choosing a tester built on the modular PXI platform helps engineers adopting STS to quickly integrate new measurement capabilities like 5G into their test cells more cost-effectively and with less risk of delaying time to market.

“In the race to bring 5G technology to market, traditional approaches to RF semiconductor test are struggling to deliver on the flexibility and cost expectations of 5G devices,” said Eric Starkloff, president and chief operating officer at NI. “The mmWave VST is yet another example of NI’s ability to combine our industry-leading platform with deep customer insight to enable customers’ disruptive innovations.”

This product features several innovations to address the test requirements of 5G mmWave devices. The new calibrated integrated switching for up to 32 channels enables improved accuracy of beamforming and phased array measurements without additional infrastructure. The modular head design delivers accurate and cost-effective measurements while preserving forward compatibility with future 5G bands. With these innovations, engineers can simultaneously perform measurements at both 5-21 GHz and 23-44 GHz.

The mmWave VST complements NI’s modular instrumentation portfolio of more than 600 PXI products, ranging from DC to mmWave, and NI’s measurement software for 2G, 3G, LTE Advanced Pro, 5G NR, Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5 and more, with support for many languages including LabVIEW and C# .NET.

Find more information about the NI mmWave test solution: Click here

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Jyoti Gazmer

A Mass Comm. graduate believes strongly in the power of words. A book lover who dreams to own a library some day. An introvert but will become your closest friend if you share mutual feelings about COFFEE. I prefer having more puppies over humans.

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