The 89600B VSA software is then used to demodulate the signals and perform any associated analysis. By using the VSA software in simulation, the engineer is able to measure simulated signals with the same algorithms, user interface, and functionality that will eventually be used to test the hardware implementation of the simulated design (Figure 4). Moreover, because the software works seamlessly with spectrum analyzers, signal analyzers, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, modular vector analyzers, and simulation software, signals can be evaluated during the design cycle, or at any point along the SDR mixed-signal hardware chain, including analog and digital baseband and IF, RF, and microwave. This can help the SDR system engineer mitigate potential integration risks and optimize tradeoffs that may arise from the distinctly different design and test methodologies used by the digital baseband and RF design teams.


The flexibility of today’s software defined instruments greatly improves SDR designer efficiency by providing the versatility necessary to use common measurement tools throughout the radio, as well as through all stages of development. Such versatility is critical to enabling the proliferation of emerging trends in modern radio designs, like the SDR, which utilize more digital signal processing and require greater functionality as well as more rapid development.

This article was written by Greg Jue, applications development engineer/scientist with Agilent’s High Performance Scopes team; and John Barfuss, field applications engineer for Agilent Tech nologies. For more information, Click Here.

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