Keysight Launches Next-Generation Vector Signal Generator for Dense Wideband Multichannel Applications

September 21, 2023

Keysight Technologies, Inc. has unveiled its latest innovation – a compact, four-channel vector signal generator (VSG) with the capability of generating signals up to 8.5 GHz, each channel supporting 960 MHz of modulation bandwidth. Known as the N5186A MXG, this state-of-the-art VSG represents the next generation in high-performance signal generation, designed to cater to the complex needs of dense wideband multichannel applications within Keysight's X-Series signal generator portfolio.

Advancements in wireless communications and radar applications have propelled the demand for higher frequency coverage and complex modulation schemes, such as MIMO, beamforming, and multiplexing, to maximize data throughput. Testing these cutting-edge applications necessitates signal generation instruments that maintain exceptional modulation quality when dealing with larger bandwidths. Traditionally, network and design engineers faced the challenge of accommodating additional test equipment and fixtures, resulting in space constraints.

The Keysight N5186A MXG addresses this challenge by simplifying intricate setups with reduced external connections and by offering up to four channels within a compact 2U form factor. This groundbreaking VSG is the world's first to feature an embedded reflectometer, ensuring the delivery of highly accurate signals to the device under test (DUT).

Key benefits of the N5186A MXG include:

Compact Design: Delivers multichannel capabilities within a 2U form factor, saving up to 75% of rack height.

High-Performance Capabilities: Utilizes direct digital synthesis (DDS) digital-to-analog converter (DAC) proprietary technology to provide bandwidth coverage of up to 960 MHz. It excels in error vector magnitude (EVM) and adjacent channel power ratio (ACPR) performance, reducing signal distortion.

Testing Convenience: Features an embedded reflectometer, ensuring precise signals, accelerating time-to-test, and simplifying test setups.

Exceptionally Low Phase Noise: Produces pure signals, making it ideal for high-resolution radar system designs and high-throughput, next-generation communications systems.

The N5186A MXG vector signal generator offers consistent and repeatable results, making it a perfect fit for a wide range of commercial and aerospace defense applications. Its custom DAC application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) use DDS technology to deliver precise signals, minimizing distortion, and meeting evolving standards for component and module design. Additionally, the embedded reflectometer streamlines the setup process, correcting for DUT matching and enabling faster testing.

Joe Rickert, Vice President and General Manager of Keysight High Frequency Measurements Center of Excellence, highlighted the groundbreaking nature of the N5186A MXG vector signal generator, emphasizing its performance and simplicity, which cater to the needs of design and network engineers. He noted that in combination with PathWave Signal Generation software, the MXG serves as an optimized, high-performance signal generator, offering outstanding precision in an easy-to-use solution.

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