Wireless ICs (RFIC) Testing

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Sylvain Bertrand
ST-Ericsson

"The new test automation platform built on NI TestStand and LabVIEW helped us reduce the time necessary to validate an RFIC from two months to three weeks."

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PXI RF instrumentation from National Instruments provides a fast, flexible, and accurate solution to RF integrated circuit (RFIC) test. From discrete components such as attenuators and amplifiers to integrated systems on a chip (SOCs), engineers can realize a significant reduction in overall test costs. Today, many leading semiconductor companies have adopted PXI to test RFICs ranging from power amplifiers (PAs) to fully integrated SOCs in both the design validation and manufacturing production test.

National Instruments hardware and software products have the following measurement capabilities:

  • Adjacent Channel Power (ACP)

  • Complementary Cumulative Density Function (CCDF)

  • Channel Power (CHP)

  • Intermodulation Distortion (IM3)

  • Occupied Bandwidth (OBW)

  • Spectral Emissions (SEM)

National Instruments modular hardware and graphical software tools can help decrease the cost and increase the flexibility of RF integrated circuits (RFICs).

Semiconductor Test RFIC Resource Kit
Download the set of technical tutorials for RFICs that are listed on this page.

Download the technical tutorials and example code to your desktop

Wireless IC (RFIC) Test System

Test and characterize the performance of various wireless ICs, including power amplifiers, transceivers, and other RF integrated circuits (RFICs) with the following PXI system.

  • 6.6 GHz vector signal analyzer (VSA) and vector signal generator (VSG) for common RF standards
  • Flexible software for multiple modulation schemes
  • Source/measure capability from +/- 100 V, down to 10 pA of resolution
  • Up to 200 MHz digital I/O for protocols and control lines

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WiMAX Testing

Software-defined PXI test systems can be combined with the NI Measurement Suite for fixed WiMAX measurements. System features include the following:

  • Support for IEEE 802.16-2004 OFDMA signal types
  • Typical error vector magnitude (EVM) of -45 dB at 2.5 GHz
  • Flexible subframe and burst configurations

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Automated Wireless LAN Test System

Perform automated wireless local area network (WLAN) WLAN measurements 5 to 10 times faster using PXI instrumentation. Product features include the following:

  • Analyzer typical error vector magnitude (EVM) of < -40 dB
  • Measurements for IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
  • EVM and spectral mask measurements in less than 8 ms

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RF Systems Integrators

View the following system integrators in the NI Alliance Member Directory if you're interested in a custom RF test solution.

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Industry Trends

  • Increasing levels of integration in SOC designs
  • Rising device complexity and test costs
  • New device architectures to accommodate technologies such as multiple input, multiple output (MIMO)

Benefits of Using NI

  • Industry-leading measurement speed
  • Flexible, software-defined platform gives users the ability to test multiple standards with same hardware
  • Lower cost than other instruments of comparable measurement accuracy

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