May 24, 2013. Aeroflex has announced the PXI Maestro next-generation automatic test software for use in wireless device manufacturing that lowers the cost of test and accelerates test development. The software works with the PXI 3000 platform for modern manufacturing test of cellular, wireless LAN, GPS, and Bluetooth wireless devices. PXI Maestro adds significant capability to the PXI 3000 platform and provides a production-ready test system with integrated chipset-specific device control and the ability to test multiple devices in parallel.
Up to eight devices can be tested at the same time using a dual channel Multi-UE architecture that provides eight bidirectional RF ports in a single 19″ chassis. Greater test speed, reduced test footprint, and significantly low costs make Maestro and PXI 3000 the best choice for all high volume manufacturing test applications.
With shorter product life cycles and increased device complexity, test system development cycles must be completed in weeks rather than months. PXI Maestro, Aeroflex reported, sets a new speed benchmark for nonsignaling mode RF test system integration and test execution.
PXI Maestro's ability to test multiple devices in parallel is achieved using a multi-way active RF combiner module that supports connection of up to four devices to each channel. This approach achieves an almost four-fold throughput improvement per radio when compared with an equivalent serial test method, for virtually the same cost.
PXI Maestro is optimized for speed regardless of whether implemented to test a single device or multiple devices in parallel. The key to RF test system efficiency lies not just in raw test speed but also in optimizing test equipment utilization. Efficient test system development minimizes equipment idle time both within and across measurement steps. PXI Maestro features a multithreaded intelligent sequencer to exploit the benefits of modern multi-core PCs. This ensures that different tasks both within a measurement step and across a measurement sequence are overlapped or executed concurrently rather than sequentially as with conventional instrumentation. Multiple threads manage device control, test equipment setup and measurement processing in a tightly coupled manner. Where multiple different measurement are performed at the same test condition then PXI Maestro saves time and executes them in parallel on the same captured data.
PXI Maestro is an extension to the existing Aeroflex PXI 3000 Measurement Suites for GSM/EDGE, WCDMA, LTE FDD, and WLAN, and is supplied with built-in support for the direct control of leading cellular chipsets.
“PXI Maestro is one example of a 'path to manufacturing' that Aeroflex has developed to help mobile device manufacturers simplify test system development and improve their production throughput using PXI 3000 Series,” said Tim Carey, senior product manager for modular instruments at Aeroflex. “The integration of both device and test equipment control under a single programming user interface is a powerful alternative to using separate silicon vendor device and test vendor programming interfaces. To use PXI Maestro the user is only required to describe the content of their test plan; PXI Maestro takes care of everything else.”
Cary continued, “This approach is equally beneficial to both large and small manufacturers, where the pressure of test system engineering complexity is a growing challenge and where test efficiency is a critical business need. Aeroflex works with its customers to lower the cost of test by developing a test solution tailored to their specific needs. The inherent flexibility of PXI is key to this success.”
PXI 3000 is a common hardware platform supporting multi-standards for cellular and wireless connectivity test through software extensions. When used with PXI Maestro, PXI 3000 offers the industry's fastest and most flexible platform for production test. PXI 3000 is a mature production test platform with more than one billion handsets already passed.
Aeroflex highlighted the new software at at CTIA 2013, May 21-23, Las Vegas.