Keithley Instruments Press Release - September 29, 2009
Keithley's New RF Vector Signal Generator Provides Industry's Best Combination of High Throughput and Low Phase
Industry's fastest frequency tuning and amplitude switching
• High speed data transfers
• Superior signal
Contact: Ellen Modock
Keithley Instruments, Inc.
Ohio - September 29, 2009 - Keithley Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:KEI), a world leader in advanced electrical
test instruments and systems, announced today that it has upgraded its popular RF Vector Signal Generator line for
RF engineers with new capabilities that reduce signal generation times and enhance signal quality. In contrast
with competitive signal generators, which typically force users to choose between best signal quality and maximum
test throughput, the Model
2920A's no-compromise design combines both capabilities in the same instrument. Patent-pending technology
allows the Model
2920A RF Vector Signal Generator to support both frequency and amplitude switching rates that are
significantly faster than any competitive system. Unlike systems optimized either for development or production,
2920A is a cost-effective solution whether used on the bench for design verification testing or in production
testing. To learn more, visit
2920A, which provides signal generation bandwidth options up to 80MHz with a frequency range of either
10MHz-4GHz or 10MHz-6GHz, builds on the capabilities of Keithley's Series 2900 signal generator line. It expands
the Series 2900 line's applications for testing wireless devices to today's high throughput, complex modulation,
and wide bandwidth wireless telecom standards, including GSM/EDGE, cdmaOne, cdma2000, W-CDMA, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE,
WLAN, WiMAX, WiBro, TD-SCDMA, DVB (Digital Video Broadcast), and GPS (Global Positioning System).
2920A is optimized for calibrating and testing components such as amplifiers, filters, and wireless receivers
thoroughly over their full range of performance at exceptional speed. Several major advances allow it to provide
substantially higher test throughput than earlier signal generation options:
• Industry's fastest frequency
tuning: A new, patent-pending technique that ensures fast settling of phase-locked loop synthesizers allows the
2920A to tune to a new frequency on a device under test's (DUT's) operating band in 300μs or less. Competitive
products typically require 600μs or longer to tune to a new frequency.
• Industry's fastest amplitude
switching: The Model
2920A provides electronic attenuation and a fast-tracking, automatic level control loop to stabilize quickly
on a new power level, which allows switching to a new amplitude in as little as 150μs (compared to more than 500μs
for competitive generators). This fast settling time speeds testing a device over its full power handling range.
• Waveform switching in a single clock cycle: Because devices that operate on multiple standards require rapid
switching between numerous complex signals during testing, the Model
2920A's on-board arbitrary waveform generator includes a 100-megasample memory to hold large individual
waveforms or multiple smaller ones. This deep memory, combined with the instrument's speed-optimized list mode and
a sequencer operating mode, supports switching from one waveform to another within a single processor clock
cycle-even with waveforms based on different standards that use different modulation schemes.
• High speed
signal file transfers: The Model
2920A offers a direct link from its DSP processing circuit block to an external PC via a USB 2.0 bus that
maximizes operating speed. In this high-speed Desktop Control Panel operating mode, an external PC assumes control
of the Model
2920A, just as if it were the instrument's on-board processor controller. This mode supports transferring
signal files from a PC directly into the Model
2920A's arbitrary waveform memory at 100Mb/sec for faster, simpler downloading of extremely large files (such
as streaming video test signal files, signal files modified by channel models, and radar profile files). When
combined with its high download speed and Keithley applications software, the Model
2920A can perform fast, efficient Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) conformance testing on WLAN access points.
This test package allows verifying a device's compliance with FCC, ETSI, and TELEC requirements related to
ensuring that WLAN access point transmissions detect and do not interfere with government radar signals (such as
weather radar or air traffic control radar).
Users have the flexibility to create waveform files offline
and download them into the Model
2920A's arbitrary waveform memory using a USB memory stick or the GPIB or LAN interfaces. This transfer
flexibility will be useful for those who prefer to employ third-party tools to create signal files, such as The
MathWorks' MATLAB® interactive programming environment.
2920A's enhanced speed performance doesn't compromise its phase noise performance. Unlike competitive signal
generators, which are typically designed to maximize either throughput (for production test applications) or
signal purity (for design verification applications), the Model
2920A includes new capabilities that allow optimizing for whichever performance aspect is most critical for a
• Ultra-low phase noise option: High signal purity is essential when creating complex
HSPA+, 802.11n WLAN, 802.16e WiMAX, and LTE signals. To ensure the quality of these signals, the Model 2920A-UPN
Ultra Low Phase Noise option provides superior low phase noise levels, such as ≤-135dBc/Hz at a 300kHz offset on a
2GHz carrier. That allows generating WCDMA signals with EVMs <0.85%. This option also permits the Model
2920A to generate 5.8GHz, 40MHz bandwidth WLAN 802.11n signals with an EVM of less than 43dB and WiMAX signals
with a residual RCE (Relative Constellation Error) ≤-43dB. Just as important, the Model
2920A provides no-compromise tuning times as fast as 750µs when the low phase noise option is used.
Low amplitude range option: The Model
2920A's wide signal range makes it ideal for testing a broad spectrum of receivers and components. The Model
2920A-LAR Low Amplitude Range option extends that range to allow the generator to output signals as low as
130dBm or as high as +13dBm. In addition, the Model
2920A offers excellent accuracy, repeatability, and stability specifications, so test system designers can set
narrow limit bands in their test protocols, helping to ensure higher product quality:
- Absolute amplitude
accuracy of ±0.6dB (typically ±0.3dB) from -110dBm to +13dBm up to 3GHz
- ±0.05dB relative amplitude accuracy
- ±0.05dB amplitude repeatability
Continuing Technical Leadership in MIMO Testing. The Model
2920A is the latest addition to Keithley's MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) testing system solutions.
MIMO signals can be easily generated and analyzed by using Keithley's SignalMeister™ RF Communications Test
Toolkit software and Model
2920A Vector Signal Analyzers in conjunction with Model
2920As. When used in conjunction with the signal personalities provided in SignalMeister software, it is not
only capable of generating pure signals but can generate impaired signals for in-depth receiver characterization
2920A Applications. Applications include R&D, product development, and production testing of a growing range
of wireless products such as femtocells, access points, mobile devices, wireless modules and air cards, and
wireless chipsets. The Model
2920A's operating mode flexibility makes it an excellent choice for MIMO device and system R&D applications,
as well as in engineering education settings.
Price and Availability. The Model
2920A RF Vector Signal Generator is priced at $17,850 USD (4GHz version) or $23,460 USD (6GHz version). The
2920AA's combination of high speed and high quality signal generation performance makes its pricing even more
competitive because users can perform multiple applications with the same instrument-from design verification
testing to production testing-extending the usage of each unit purchased. Option prices, whether the ultra-low
phase noise option or optional personalities tailored to various telecom standards, are also at or below the cost
of competitive solutions. Orders are being taken now for delivery in six weeks.
For More Information. To
learn more about the new Model
2920A RF Vector Signal Generator, visit
http://www.keithley.com/products/rf/rfvsgenerator/?mn=2920A or contact the company at:
Address: Keithley Instruments, Inc.
28775 Aurora Road
Cleveland, OH 44139-1891
About Keithley Instruments, Inc. With more than 60 years of measurement expertise, Keithley Instruments has
become a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems from DC to RF (radio frequency). Our
customers are scientists and engineers in the worldwide electronics industry involved with advanced materials
research, semiconductor device development and fabrication, and the production of end products such as portable
wireless devices. The value we provide them is a combination of products for their critical measurement needs and
a rich understanding of their applications to improve the quality of their products and reduce their cost of test.
Products and company names listed are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies