News | October 1, 2002

IFR Unveils The 3410 Series: The New Face Of Digital RF Signal Generators

Wichita, Kan. — October 1, 2002 — IFR, an Aeroflex Company (Nasdaq: ARXX) today introduced the 3410 series, an entirely new family of digital RF signal generators. Available in three frequency ranges from 250 kHz to 2 GHz, 3 GHz and 4 GHz, the 3410 series is used for testing and emulation of 2G, 3G and 4G systems; digital Private Mobile Radio; Wireless Local Area Networks and Bluetooth systems. The 3410 series is the first high-performance digital RF signal generator family to combine full digital, vector and analog modulation in a 2U rack size.

The 3410 series offers excellent RF level accuracy of ±0.5 dB. Combined with a low output VSWR specification, measurement errors for real-world applications are kept to a minimum. Precise and repeatable measurements can be performed on even the most sensitive analog or digital receivers. Additional modes of operation are provided that allow the user to optimize the signal generator for specific measurement tasks.

The prerequisite for any manufacturing system is to maximize throughput. With fast GPIB operation and the incorporation of a high performance electronic attenuator, the 3410 series offers fast and reliable manufacturing test capability. Carrier frequency and RF level switching speeds are <5 ms and the instrument is hardware-ready to support USB 1.1 interfaces. The use of an electronic attenuator ensures that test system down time is kept to a minimum.

Complex modulation modes made simple with a touch-panel interface
While offering more than 30 different modulation combinations, the 3410 series takes the complexity out of the configuration process through a new user interface that is capable of controlling all the advanced features required for digital and vector modulation. The 3410 series introduces the first touch-screen user interface to digital RF signal generators. A deeply nested menu structure is avoided and a refreshingly simple and intuitive user interface is provided instead. Wherever touch control is provided, an equivalent hard-key method is also available, allowing the 3410 series to be used in the harshest of working environments.

At the same time, the 3410 series' new system architecture incorporates high-performance RF modulation in a small package. As modulation formats have multiplied rapidly and become increasingly complex, RF signal generators have become bulky and complicated. The 3410 series reduces the size and weight of RF signal generators by 35 to 50 percent over competitive instruments—and delivers the high performance expected by customers in research and development and wireless manufacturing.

Digital, vector and analog modulation
Using the external IQ inputs, the 3410 series provides an RF modulation bandwidth of up to 100 MHz. Over this bandwidth, and covering the full frequency range of the signal generator, excellent modulation characteristics are achieved through the use of a proprietary IQ modulator design. With an Adjacent Channel Power (ACP) performance typically better than –68 dBc for a 3GPP FDD signal, the performance of the 3410 series meets the most exacting requirements of testing 3G radio receivers and power amplifiers. User-definable internal calibration routines ensure that the modulator performance can be quickly optimized to reduce vector errors and ensure low carrier leak at all operating frequencies.

With an optional dual-channel arbitrary waveform generator (ARB), the 3410 series is capable of generating digitally modulated carriers with an RF modulation bandwidth of 45 MHz. Using an interpolation filter design, the ARB operates at a high sample rate that allows smaller files to be created and eliminates the need for selectable hardware filtering and the associated errors that this can introduce.

The 3410 series offers the full range of analog modulation modes. Wide bandwidth FM and AM is provided as standard allowing the instrument to be used in a wide variety of applications, including jitter tolerance assessment in telecommunications systems and the transmission of analog TV signals.

In DC-coupled FM mode a patented technique is implemented that results in exceptional frequency accuracy and low drift. This allows the 3410 series to be used to simulate a voltage-controlled oscillator when designing a receiver or to precisely reproduce digital signaling for FM receivers that have selective squelch control.

Best in class dual-channel arbitrary waveform generator
The 3410 series includes an optional dual-channel ARB with an interpolation filter design. This technique significantly reduces the ARB configuration process to a simple file selection operation. The interpolation rate of the filter is automatically set in such a way that aliasing products of the wanted signal are shifted into the stop-band range of the anti-aliasing (reconstruction) filter. This eliminates the confusing reconstruction filter selection process required on less sophisticated ARBs. As a result, incorrect instrument configuration is avoided and correct file generation is guaranteed.

The 3410 series ARB is capable of storing a maximum of 22.5 Msamples. The ARB's memory is partitioned into 60 sectors, each can be further divided into three sub-sectors. Consequently, up to 180 files can be stored at any given time. Sectors and sub-sectors can be merged together to form larger files. In fact, it is possible to save one file that uses the entire memory space. As a result, the 3410 series ARB is capable of storing a 3GPP file representing 153 frames (1.53 s).

The 3410 series can be loaded with files representing different wireless RF transmission formats. This allows handsets from two different manufacturing lines—one from GSM, for example, and the other devoted to CDMA—to be fed into a single test bay. The 3410 series can instantly switch back and forth between testing sets of GSM and CDMA phones without incurring any load time overhead for new files.

ARB files can be generated once or looped continuously. Marker bits can be used to gate the RF signal on and off using defined RF level versus time profiles to simulate the operation of TDD and TDMA signals.

The 3410 series is supplied with IQCreator, an IFR software package to aid in the creation and downloading of files to the ARB.