Design Con 2015

Agilent vector signal analyzer claims fastest test speed

-August 28, 2013

Testing done for validation, compliance, and production test require improvements in test speed in order to handle the sheer number and complexity of tests required today. In recognition of this need, Agilent Technologies released its M9391A, a 1-MHz to 3- or 6-GHz PXIe vector signal analyzer (VSA), with up to 160-MHz bandwidth designed to test the latest wireless standards. The new VSA is used in combination with Agilent’s modular X-series applications, such as the M9381A PXI VSG.



Applications include testing and design validation of wireless power amplifiers, transceivers and cellular base stations. Here’s a run down on the key functionality and performance specs:
  • 1 MHz to 3 GHz or 6 GHz
  • 40 MHz (standard), 100, or 160 MHz analysis bandwidth
  • upgradable hardware with license keys
  • ±0.45 dB absolute amplitude accuracy   
  • -157 dBm displayed average noise level (DANL)
  • -70.7 dB W-CDMA ACLR dynamic range
  • -119 dBc/Hz Phase Noise @ 1 GHz, 10 kHz offset

I recently spoke with Jean Manuel Dassonville, Agilent Technologies’ modular solutions and outbound manager about the product when we met up in July. He explained that there is an ASIC in each device to accelerate measurements and take the pressure off of the microcontroller. As a result, he claims measurements that are 2X to 10X faster than traditional equipment. Of course, this gets a boost from the PXIe (PCIe) data bus. Baseband tuning (which also occurs in the VSG) enables fast ACPR measurements as well.

The new VSA supports the company’s X-series measurement applications for modular instruments, covering cellular communication (GSM/EDGE/Evo, cdma2000/cdmaOne, W-CDMA/HSPA+, 1xEV-DO, TD-SCDMA/HSDPA, LTE FDD, LTE TDD) and wireless connectivity standards (WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac). The goal, as Dassonville explained it to me, was to create compatibility from the bench to manufacturing with test code. As a result, the M9391A VSA and its 89600 application software enables advanced analysis of more than 75 formats formats.



Engineers can use SystemVue to accelerate design workflow and MATLAB data analysis software for general purpose data analysis, visualization, and measurement automation. Drivers and documentation are available for Microsoft® C/C++, C#, or Visual Basic, MATLAB, VEE, LabVIEW and LabWindows/CVI software platforms.

Agilent supports this VSA with its calibration core-exchange strategy, offers one-day start-up assistance, and a standard three-year return-to-Agilent warranty.

Pricing and Availability
Available now, the Agilent M9391A PXIe vector signal analyzer consists of the following: M9350A downconverter, M9301A synthesizer, M9300A frequency reference, and M9214A digitizer. The base configuration sells for $25,215. License key software upgrades are available for increased analysis bandwidth, frequency range, memory, and faster switching. Four PXI VSAs can be housed in a single 18-slot PXI chassis.

More Information
  Product website

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