A test system optimized for speed is likely to result in reduced overall device production costs. Speed can be augmented by different factors in various stages of a test system. In the application note, “Accelerate Your PXI Test Development and Test System Speed,” Keysight Technologies recommends how to optimize the speed of a PXI test system before presenting specific application examples.
The application note explains how PXI test system speed can be optimized in any of five different test system stages: instrument selection, measurement setup, data acquisition, data processing, and measurement return results. In terms of instrument selection, PXI system development begins with selecting a chassis, interface cards, and a CPU/controller that are capable of high-speed data transfers. The fastest speeds can be achieved with Gen 3 PXI. Moreover, the document points out that data-transfer rates are limited by the slowest component contained in a link.
Many PXI test systems include advanced features that enable their quick configuration. These features are intended to expedite measurement setup and more quickly acquire data. One such feature is list mode, which allows signal analyzers and signal generators to execute a list of specific commands in a predetermined order. The other features mentioned are digital downconversion and fast Fourier transform (FFT) mode. Digital downconversion involves converting an RF signal to a lower-frequency signal to remove unwanted signal components. The FFT mode of a digital oscilloscope saves time by acquiring wide bands of data with fewer measurements.
The application note then describes peer-to-peer data transfers and on-board processing. These features make it possible for modules to communicate with one another and perform other functions without using the system controller.
Peer-to-peer communications enables direct point-to-point transfers between multiple modules within an instrument, avoiding sending data through the PC or system controller. On-board signal processing allows a module to manage specific data processing itself without having to transfer data to the controller. The application note concludes by presenting application examples for power-amplifier (PA) and wireless component testing.
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