Third-generation VST delivers expanded capabilities

18-09-2023 | National Instruments | Test & Measurement

NI has released new options and extended capabilities for its third-generation PXI VST, the PXIe-5842. Combined with its software ecosystem, the VST is a versatile tool that can test and validate aerospace and defence applications products while supporting traditional RF capabilities, including spectrum analysis, signal analysis, and signal generation.

Demand for increased RF bandwidth, frequency agility, dynamic range, and digital data movement pushes traditional instrumentation beyond its current capabilities. The company's VST3, the PXIe-5842, is speeding up the development of the next generation of digitally integrated active ESA for radar, SatCom, and electronic defence applications and commercial wireless applications such as Wi-Fi 7, 6G, UWB and Bluetooth.

The VST provides precise control over signal parameters and real-time analysis with its extended frequency coverage from 30MHz to 26.5GHz. Enhancements include up to 2GHz of instantaneous RF bandwidth and upgraded LO offset mode with improved average noise density. This version now allows digital and analog pulse modulation capabilities, and its 16-lane high-speed serial interface facilitates low-latency digital I/Q data streaming at rates up to the full 2GHz IBW of the instrument, with future-proofing to 4GHz. When combined with PXI-based FPGA co-processors from the company, the third-generation VST can emulate RF environments or other RF devices for system-level tests. These new capabilities build upon the flexibility and versatility of the VST, are useful for generic RF testing and are particularly suited for aerospace and defence applications.

"Next-generation radar, electronic warfare, and communications technologies require radically different methods than the status quo for validation and test on tight schedules," said Luke Schreier, VP and GM of NI's Aerospace, Defence and Government Business. "The performance we have unlocked in this third-generation vector signal transceiver is critical to future-proofing your test capability, exploiting the insight that comes from rich test data, and architecting a truly software-centric approach to electromagnetic spectrum operations. It is the culmination of decades worth of investment in PXI, RF technology, and software from NI designed to maximize your product's performance through test."

The VST delivers the performance essential to support lab design and validation applications and includes the fast measurement speed and small form factor needed to scale into production test applications.

NI will showcase the PXIe-5842 and other wireless demos at European Microwave Week, booth #479-C, 17-22 September 2023.

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By Seb Springall