NI 26.5 GHz RF PXI Switch Modules and NI Switch Executive 2.1 Increase Bandwidth and Flexibility for Modular Communication Test Systems |

NI 26.5 GHz RF PXI Switch Modules and NI Switch Executive 2.1 Increase Bandwidth and Flexibility for Modular Communication Test Systems

September 272005
NEWS RELEASE – Sept. 2005 – Engineers now can use four new National Instruments 26.5 GHz PXI switch modules and the latest version of the company’s NI Switch Executive switch management software for PXI-based RF and microwave test applications. The switches, combined with the new per-path calibration capability of NI Switch Executive 2.1, offer modularity and programming flexibility for communication test systems.

The National Instruments PXI-2596, PXI-2597, PXI-2598 and PXI-2599 are multiplexers, SPDT relays and transfer switch modules designed for routing RF or microwave signals in automated test applications. The new modules offer 26.5 GHz switching in multiple PXI configurations for a complete switching solution on one platform. Using microwave relays from Radiall, each module is designed to operate with less than 1 dB insertion loss up to 26.5 GHz, minimizing impact on the test system and appearing almost invisible to signals at much lower frequencies. They are ideal for passing high-order harmonics from RF upconverters, such as the NI PXI-5671 2.7 GHz vector signal generator, or routing multiple sources to RF downconverters, such as the NI PXI-5660 2.7 GHz vector signal analyzer.

Engineers can use the NI PXI-2597 50-ohm terminated multiplexer to route signals while avoiding reflections in high-power applications. The PXI-2596 offers a higher-density, unterminated option with dual 6x1 multiplexer banks in the same module. The PXI-2598 and PXI-2599 operate as transfer switches or SPDT relays, respectively, for basic signal routing or inserting and removing components in a single path.

To configure and control these new RF/microwave switch modules, engineers can use NI Switch Executive 2.1, which introduces several new features for Excel integration, RF switching and switch system debugging. The updated software gives engineers programmatic access to settings on a per-switch route basis so they can store RF path calibration and parametric information, improving overall test system accuracy. With the new configuration programming interface, engineers can completely specify and configure their NI Switch Executive virtual device from any programming environment, including NI TestStand test management software, the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, NI LabWindows/CVI ANSI C development software and Microsoft Excel. With this new functionality, engineers can import existing switch route documents created in Excel into the NI Switch Executive environment, making them easier to maintain and modify. The new release also features interactive switch control and debugging panels to further accelerate system development by visually specifying and viewing switch closures. NI Switch Executive delivers an intuitive programming interface, abstracting low-level switch programming and configuration from test applications greatly increasing test code reuse and switch system maintenance.

The PXI-2596, PXI-2597, PXI-2598 and PXI-2599 modules add to the more than 100 switch configurations available from National Instruments in the modular PXI and SCXI platforms. When combined with modular instruments and intuitive software such as NI Switch Executive, engineers can use these switches to form the building blocks of functional test systems, in-circuit testers or manufacturing defect analyzers in a variety of industries.

About NI Modular Instruments
NI offers essential technologies for test, which combine high-performance hardware, flexible software and innovative timing and synchronization technology for test and design applications. NI modular instruments offer accurate, high-throughput measurements from DC to 2.7 GHz. The product family includes:
  • High-resolution digitizers (up to 24 bits, up to 250 MS/s)
  • Signal generators (up to 16 bits, 200 MS/s)
  • Digital waveform generator/analyzers (up to 400 Mb/s)
  • Digital multimeters (up to 7½ digits)
  • RF vector signal generators and analyzers (up to 2.7 GHz)
  • Dynamic signal analyzers (up to 24 bits, 500 kS/s)
  • Switching (multiplexers, matrices and general purpose)

    About PXI
    PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) is an open specification governed by the PXI Systems Alliance ( that defines a rugged, CompactPCI-based platform optimized for test, measurement and control. It is supported by more than 65 member companies and more than 1,150 products are available. PXI products are compatible with the CompactPCI industrial computer standard and offer additional features such as environmental specifications, standardized software and built-in timing and synchronization.

    About National Instruments
    National Instruments is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists in industry, government and academia approach measurement and automation. Leveraging PCs and commercial technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for test, control and design applications through easy-to-integrate software, such as NI LabVIEW, and modular measurement and control hardware for PXI, PCI, USB and Ethernet. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,600 employees and direct operations in nearly 40 countries. In 2004, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past six years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

    For more information, Contact National Instruments or visit their web site at
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