When it comes to communications and cellular equipment, change is inevitable. Every month or so, new phones come out with new features and technology, making older models obsolete. Even the cell towers themselves are being regularly reconfigured to optimize networks.
With the ever-evolving nature of cellular technology, communications test systems must be equally flexible. Rather than replacing an entire test system when a new phone comes out, modular instrumentation systems allow you to simply swap out older components with new ones. That way, you can get the latest and greatest in testing without breaking the bank or wasting time installing a totally new test system.
PXIe: The New Standard for Communications Testing
Presented in the late 1990s, the older PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) standard helped to pave the way for the modular instrumentation of today. However, as the industry demands faster and higher-performing testing systems, the limitation of PXI bus have become apparent.
Now, test engineers are looking to the newer PXI Express (PXIe) standard to help address the need for faster communication. The PXIe standard leverages the newer PCIe communications bus, which provides significantly faster backplane data rates, with up to 8 GB/s per PXIe module slot. Compared to the older PXI standard, PXIe instruments also offer:
- Higher power availability
- Wider frequency ranges
- More accurate communications testing
- Improved trigger bus and lower latency
- Cheaper components
PXIe instrumentation is already used across the industry today, living side-by-side with PXI technology. Many PXIe chasses offer module slots that can accept either PXI, PXI hybrid, or PXIe modules, allowing PXIe instruments to coexist with existing PXI components. However, that PXI instrumentation will inevitably become obsolete over time, making it a good idea to fully switch to PXIe equipment sooner than later.
Want to learn more about how PXIe instrumentation can help optimize your operations? AMETEK Programmable Power’s newest white paper, The Case for Change: PXI Express (PXIe) vs. PXI, covers everything you need to know about the newer PXIe standard and how it can improve the speed and performance of your communications testing systems.