San Francisco, CA. Advantest chose SEMICON West to highlight its new Wave Scale generation of V93000 channel cards, which, according to Dieter Ohnesorge, product manager for RF solutions, deliver groundbreaking parallelism, scalability, and throughput for testing RF and mixed-signal ICs.
In an interview at SEMICON West, Ohnesorge cited two key drivers: low-cost IoT devices and high-performance mobile devices. The former may comply with diverse standards (such as LTE-M, Bluetooth, and WLAN) while commanding low prices but high volumes. The latter will meet 4G (LTE and LTE-A) and future (5G) cellular standards while contending with MIMO and carrier aggregation.
Wave Scale RF, Ohnesorge said, meets the challenges of both classes of devices by incorporating four independent subsystems offering 32 RF ports per card, embedded calibration, and a new software environment that shortens time to market. A hardware sequencer controls all functionality to enhance throughput and repeatability.
Ohnesorge noted that traditional RF test architectures are based on a fanout design with shared stimulus. In contrast, Wave Scale offers independent RF subsystems and true parallel ports, enabling in-site and multisite parallel test that can dramatically reduce test time. He attributed Wave Scale’s performance to Advantest’s synthesizer, test-processor, I/Q-modulator, coupler, and filter-bank device technology.
Advantest also highlighted its new Wave Scale MX for true parallel mixed-signal test. Wave Scale MX incorporates 16 AWGs, 64 PMUs, 16 digitizers, and a large waveform memory, with 216 MS available to four instruments. As with the Wave Scale RF, the Wave Scale MX incorporates a hardware sequencer to control all functionality.
Advantest said the new cards target the RF and wireless communication market segments by providing efficient test solutions for the semiconductors that drive LTE, LTE-Advanced, and LTE-A Pro smart phones as well as LTE-M, WLAN, GPS, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and IoT applications. The new cards, the company added, can handle today’s market requirements as well as projected technology changes for 5G networks.
The Wave Scale RF can support up to 6 GHz with each of its 32 RF ports per card. It features a 200-MHz bandwidth and other features including internal loopback and embedded calibration. Optimized for analog I/Q baseband applications and the testing of high-speed DACs and ADCs, the Wave Scale MX high-speed card has 32 fully independent instruments per board and an additional PMU at each pogo for accurate DC measurements. Its 16-bit AC source and measurement functions provide optimized performance for dedicated baseband communication standards. With its 300-MHz bandwidth, this card can handle the latest advanced modulation standards and can make out-of-channel measurements on aggregated baseband channels. A flexible I/O matrix reduces load-board complexity and boosts multi-site testing capabilities, providing full functionality at every pogo. No dedicated calibration equipment is needed, with only I/Q calibration requiring a separate board.
“Wave Scale allows our customers to keep pace with faster technology changes on upcoming generations of semiconductors,” said Hans-Juergen Wagner, senior vice president of the SoC Product Group at Advantest, in a press release. “Using Wave Scale, current and next-generation devices can be tested more efficiently and cost effectively, leading to faster time to market.”
Advantest said the first Wave Scale cards have been installed at a fabless semiconductor company in China, where they are being used to test current LTE Category 6 devices and develop test protocols for LTE-Advanced Category 10 and Category 16 communication ICs and beyond.
Advantest is now taking orders for Wave Scale RF and Wave Scale MX cards. Volume shipments to customers are expected to begin in the third quarter of this calendar year.