Putting the Less in Wireless Testing “Wireless testing” is defined as the actions necessary to assess a device's capability to first, properly and securely connect with other devices and networks, and second, complete the desired operational tasks expected of the connected device successfully. A wireless handover test simulation, for instance, has to perfectly reflect real-world [...]
In April 2020 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the allocation of unlicensed frequency bands in the 6 GHz spectrum following moves from the WiFiAlliance™ with the emerging Wi-Fi 6E standard. The result of this development is an exciting opportunity for wireless engineering and manufacturing teams to develop Wi-FI systems and devices offering multi-gigabit wireless speeds and [...]
FMCW and chirp (pulsed linear frequency modulated) radar are some of the most common radars used globally. These types of radar are designed for electronic warfare (EW) and defense, as well as a variety of commercial aerospace applications. In the case of defense, FMCW and chirp signals are  commonly used in terrain-following radar for under-the-radar flying, surveillance, and for targeting systems. [...]
While some companies may be claiming victory in the first heat of the 5G race, it’s clear the real winners will most surely come from the middle of the pack. Taking advantage of drafting in the path of telecom giants, nimbler competitors are making informed decisions and streamlining their approaches.   To make such headway, a number of companies are adopting the approach of rapid [...]
Programmable solid-state RF digital attenuators and switches are a critical part of mobile network test platforms when flexibility in controlling signal strength is vital. Multipath fading is a commonly occurring problem with obstacles, such as mountains or buildings, absorbing and reflecting signals. Small, programmable test devices offer flexible features that can be used in fading simulation [...]
Lab Bricks are a series of portable, low-cost, USB programmable test instruments from Vaunix that have been innovatively designed for ultimate versatility in the RF/microwave and wireless testing lab, and in the field. Lab Bricks are available in a variety of performance levels and in narrow and broad bandwidths up to 40 GHz, so they're enabling a new generation of test techs and engineers [...]
This interview was conducted by David Strand and was recorded August 27, 2019 with Scott Blanchard, President of Vaunix Technology Corp., designers and manufacturers of the Lab Brick line of portable and programmable RF/microwave and wireless test devices and equipment. In this interview, Scott talks about Vaunix’s customers’ use and deployment of their line of digital RF phase shifters.   David: [...]
Holding a Conversation on Resolving the Key Challenges of MIMO - Linear Processing and Precoding - Requires a Lesson in 5G Wireless Acronyms Overheard at a recent lecture on 5G MIMO infrastructure: "The typical linear processing technique used in MIMO is time division duplexing (TDD) where the uplink and downlink transmissions occur consecutively. Frequency division duplexing (FDD) [...]
This blog is the second part of helping you gain an understanding of the features and flexibility to look for in a self-programmable signal generator so you can align your desired ATE outcomes with the total budget you have for your bench or rack system. Here we will explore Frequency Switching Speed, Output Power Range, Harmonics, Non-harmonic Spurious Content, Modulation, and Connectivity/Control. If [...]
A robust test bench is an essential element to any team conducting daily RF device and assembly prototyping, characterization, and calibration. And among the most common instruments you’ll find on benches everywhere, from component and subsystem manufacturers to antenna system integrators and cellular network providers, is a signal generator. But when budgets are tight, engineers and test techs [...]
High-speed switches, like our Lab Brick models are integral parts of many test systems. Lab Brick software lets you operate your switch (or switches) in four modes. Manual control mode lets you operate the switch from the computer's display. You just select “Internal” in the switch control window ,and in the switch setting window, select the path you want to connect.   In [...]
Few instrument set-ups are complete without attenuators, as without them your ability to evaluate the performance of your device under different conditions would be severely limited. Our Lab Brick attenuators combine both the performance and the configurability you need to provide a wide range of measurement flexibility, and setting them up is performed the exact same way as all of our products and from [...]
All settings you’ll need to make on your Phase Shifter are available from a single screen. On the right you’ll see a setting for “Frequency (MHz)” along with up/down arrows. While Vaunix calibrates all of its attenuators across their entire operating range, by setting the frequency to the one at which you’re operating, the highest possible accuracy will be achieved.   To [...]
As instruments, rather than components like attenuators and phase shifters, signal generators are more complicated to set up. But our goal has been to make the Lab Brick LSG and LMS Series instruments portable and easy-to-use, while remaining extremely capable.   Getting Started Signal frequency, frequency/power step size, as well as pulse and sweep modes are all configured in the [...]
In ATE systems, an instrument controller handles all the tasks associated with making everything work together. However, when you’re controlling just a few devices to accomplish a measurement task (for example), that’s usually more than you really need. But you do still need a way to control, configure, and run routines using the components, and that’s where Vaunix's simple [...]
Collaborators Connect The founders of Vaunix, Scott Blanchard and Alan Olsen met over 20 years ago while working for Advanced Techcom, Inc. (ATI) — a Massachusetts based design and manufacturer of digital microwave and millimeter-wave radio systems for short and long haul voice, data, and video applications. During their time working at ATI, a number of fortuitous events allowed them to work [...]
In a typical wireless ATE systems, an instrument controller often handles all the complex tasks associated with integration and interoperability. However, when you're programming just a few devices to accomplish a measurement task, a robust controller is simply overkill. But you do still need a way to control, configure, and run routines using the components, and that's where Vaunix's simple [...]
Military radar applications call for highly specialized test equipment. For these applications custom RF test racks are assembled for the specialty testing performed on this equipment. The second part of our two part blog series on modular test approaches explores interrogation modes, highly specialized RF test panels and USB-driven RF components.   Interrogation Modes The military [...]
In the first part of our two-part blog series on modular test approaches, we will explore Secondary Surveillance Radar, Monopulse and Interrogation Sidelobe Suppression, Ground Interrogation Equipment and Aircraft Transponder Equipment.    Secondary Surveillance Radar Radio Detection and Ranging or radar, very basically consists of a transmitter and receiver that are leveraged [...]
Phase shifters are used in countless applications, with one of the most popular being phased array antennas. These antennas do not require a gimbal to keep the beam stabilized. Without this technology the antenna and/or satellite would have to physically adjust itself in three dimensions to simply stay on target, which can prove to be a difficult task, especially where some applications require accuracy [...]
In the past, large production environments and sophisticated labs were the dominant influence on the research and development that led to yesterday’s full-featured benchtop equipment market. Today, however, nimble test and verification teams are increasingly looking for more portable and cost efficient solutions devoid of cluttered GPIB cabling and specialized software. Not only has the debugging [...]
3 MIMO Architectures Aiming to Resolve the Various Challenges of 5G Networking 5G wireless technologies are predicted to provide groundbreaking accessibility for wireless network users globally. But with this lofty goal, comes many practical challenges. For instance, network providers are seeing an increased need for small cells to be installed in close proximity in urban environments to provide [...]
Where can you find an RF designer or manufacturer of wireless ATE devices that can deliver high performance at a reasonable cost for your custom applications? The answer is once again, Vaunix. We routinely handle requests for a special capability or feature that our Lab Brick signal generators, digtal attenuators, phase shifters, and switches do not have as standard features. As an example, pulse modulation [...]
Sifting through the available signal generators on the market to find a reliable, cost-effective option for a test facility can be cumbersome. While it is good to have a basic understanding of the specifications listed on the datasheet, it still does not help with digging through the wide array of options in the marketplace. To make things a bit easier, let’s dive into the differences between [...]
What is a RF Signal Generator? An RF Signal Generator is an electronic piece of test equipment that generates RF signals over a wide variety of frequencies with high spectral purity, stable frequency, and stable amplitude. RF signal generators are not to be confused with vector signal generators, which generate RF signals but also have complex digital modulation capabilities with formats such as [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks:   Q. We would like to connect 48 Lab Brick LPS-402 phase shifters to a computer via an Ethernet-to-USB hub while operating over a wide range of temperatures. What are the operating temperatures and environmental constraints for the LPS-402, what is their operating [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. What is the phase accuracy and repeatability of Lab Brick phase shifters?   A. Vaunix Lab Brick phase shifters are conservatively rated. For example, phase accuracy measurement [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we've addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. Can Lab Brick phase shifters be controlled using Linux?   A. All Lab Brick phase shifters can be run from Linux. We provide Linux drivers with the unit and the files can also [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. We would like to use Lab Brick phase shifters to measure the radiation pattern of a four-element antenna array in a beam forming configuration. The set-up would include one signal [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. Can I lock three Lab Brick LMS-203 signal generators to an external reference or daisy chain them to one internal reference. Can I also modify the RF output power?   A. [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work. Note: Many customers control their Lab Brick products using Python. If you’re one of them, please make sure to use the attenuator SDK with ANSI-C style function names from the Vaunix FTP [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   We sometimes get requests for a special capability or feature that our Lab Brick signal generators do not have as standard features, which is understandable, as their optional capabilities [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Customers and potential customers have asked us about increasing attenuator dwell time. We listened. The latest version of the attenuator user interface allows dwell time to be set at [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we've addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. If I plug four LDA-602N attenuators into four USB ports on a PC, can I address them with the attenuator software individually and change their attenuation separately as well as simultaneously?   A. [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we’ve addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. What is the best way to use Lab Brick Series Attenuators to cover both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands?   A. As the 802.11ac standard is increasingly becoming the successor [...]
In our Q & A blog series, we've addressed some of the most important and technical questions about our Lab Bricks. We hope these answers give you a better understanding of how our products work.   Q. We need to be able to simulate signal fades and dropouts for products with an embedded 3G transceiver. I have been looking at the LDA-302P-2 product as we need to be able to test up [...]
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