Low Noise Advances in RF & Microwave Signal Analysis Platforms

Spectrum measurements are essential to RF and microwave testing. The newer signal analyzers available today deliver performance far better than those of just a few years ago. The older classic swept spectrum analyzer is a super heterodyne downconverter, perhaps with a high band front end. This downconverter feeds a filter and then an amplitude or envelope detector. The detector produces a single-ended output proportional to the magnitude of the signal, and discards phase information.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Analysis methodologies, Radio equipment, Test equipment and instrumentation

Implementing Rack-Level I/O Consolidation

The desire to consolidate datacenter I/O has existed for several decades. It has been driven by I/O hardware providers who didn’t want to develop multiple versions of the same I/O card for different computer busses, and by end-users who did not want to stock multiple cards, as well as manage different fabrics with different tools. The problems that I/O consolidation needs to solve are:

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware

Moving From System Specification to Software Development

Systems engineering is not about developing electronics, mechanical, or software designs. Systems engineering is really about four things:

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Product development, Systems engineering

Testing DC Power Systems

DC is not always DC. When systems are developed to operate on DC power, the DC electrical environment will have noise and may experience other disturbances. This article will explore considerations for generating low frequency disturbances (glitches, sags, surges, spikes) that occur in the 100 microsecond and longer region with bandwidths of 10 kHz or less. In contrast, noise, which is outside of the scope of this article, can be low frequency (like 50/60 Hz hum) but becomes a challenge to generate in range from kHz, to MHz or up to the GHz range.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electric power, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures

Optimizing the Interoperability of Military Satellite Communications

Satellite communications offer mobility and communications for military operations in remote locations where terrestrial-based connectivity is not available, or is too expensive. Unfortunately, satellite connectivity brings many challenges that can impair network performance in delivering mission-critical information and applications. High-latency transport and application protocol inefficiencies, adverse weather, and interference are just a few of the causes that slow the delivery of applications and limit the amount of traffic that can run over a satellite link. Compounding these problems is interoperability among disparate military networks that can jeopardize mission-critical communications.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Optimization, Communication protocols, Satellite communications, Defense industry, Satellites

Managing a Network of Self-Encrypting Hard Drives

With high-profile data breaches making headlines regularly, organizations are carefully evaluating their options for protecting mobile data. For years, software full disk encryption, (FDE), has been the preferred means of addressing this threat. But widespread adoption has been hampered by the complexity and cost surrounding these software-based FDE deployments.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Cyber security

Analysis of On-Chip Heat Distribution in the Design of RF Power Detectors and Transistor Arrays

The simulation of electromagnetic (EM) and thermal properties of semiconductor and substrate materials has been demonstrated to be particularly helpful in the optimization of the design of Monolithic Micro wave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) power amplifier (PA) modules. Various design challenges, however, have to be dealt with in specific ways, and may require efficient approaches that accommodate reasonable approximations in the development and troubleshooting phases. EM and heat transfer analysis at the semiconductor device structure level allows building accurate models for simulation tools.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Defense, Computer simulation, Amplifiers, Integrated circuits, Materials properties, Semiconductors

Taking COTS to the Next Level in Vetronics Subsystems

Embedded vetronics (vehicle electronics) subsystems for rugged deployed ground vehicles have long benefited from the reduced risk, faster time to market, and long lifecycle support offered by COTS board vendors. Recent advances in open standards developments, namely the OpenVPX/VITA 65 specification that defines system-level interoperability profiles for VPX architecture boards and backplanes, promise to take the COTS model from the board to the subsystem level, enabling faster deployment of proven, standards-based fully integrated enclosures.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits

Using Real-World Methodologies to Calculate SSD Usable Life

With more embedded systems using SSDs in critical applications, designers are now asking the question, “How long will this SSD last in my application?” To help answer this pressing question, it is important to review the recent changes in NAND flash technology.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Life cycle analysis

Real-Time Data Distribution for Industrial Automation Systems

The quest to bring lockstep efficiency to labor intensive factory production at first relied on mechanical ingenuity. Over time, as reliable and cost-effective microprocessor technology became available, assembly lines were retooled to use the new electronics to achieve greater automation and productivity. Today, pervasive network technology, including the Internet, is bringing about another evolutionary change in industrial automation. No longer is it sufficient for individual machines to perform their specific tasks independently. Instead, individual parts of a larger process must be aware of each other; they must exchange data in realtime, and adapt to changes in the process or environment. Additionally, it is increasingly necessary to exchange data outside of the traditional industrial network and beyond the factory floor, and to include enterprise LANs and the Internet. Up-tothe- minute information on manufacturing processes needs to be available to analysts, inventory managers, and others within the office environment.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Data exchange, Automation, Production, Industrial vehicles and equipment