Creating an RF Test and Measurement Solution for Multistandard, Multicarrier Digital Video and Audio Broadcasting Signals Using LabVIEW and NI PXI

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"We developed the complete solution in a record short period of 12 months for the nine standards with just six team members using LabVIEW, the LabVIEW Modulation Toolkit, and the NI Spectral Measurements Toolkit. We reduced the total development time by 4X to 5X compared to other standard tools."

- Ramesh K. Narayanan, MaxEye Technologies Private Limited

The Challenge:
Building an RF test and measurement system to meet key test requirements and support multiple digital, video, and audio standards in 12 months.

The Solution:
Developing digital, video, and audio broadcasting RF toolkits powered by NI LabVIEW, NI RF signal generators (RFSGs), NI RF signal analyzers (RFSAs), and NI vector signal transceivers on an NI PXI RF platform to simultaneously generate multiple Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) carriers in real time for various DVB standards.

Author(s):
Ramesh K. Narayanan - MaxEye Technologies Private Limited

MaxEye Technologies, founded in 2011, is a privately held company in Bangalore, India, with a vision to become a leader in providing products, services, and turnkey solutions for signal processing and communication engineering. We offer RF test and measurement products for testing devices that support various digital video and audio broadcast standards used across different parts of the world.

We developed the MaxEye Digital Video/Audio Broadcasting Generation and Analysis Toolkit, which is available in the LabVIEW Tools Network, and extends LabVIEW tools and functions to generate and analyze digital video broadcasting signals that conform to their respective specifications for various standards. The software, which uses NI RFSGs, NI RFSAs, and NI vector signal transceivers, is an ideal test solution to thoroughly test the transmitter and receiver during design, verification, and manufacturing to characterize device under test (DUT) performance. As a significant feature of the toolkit, it stores the generated waveform in a file and then plays the waveform in real time using NI RFSG Streaming mode. With this feature, we can continuously test the received video/audio signals.

Engineers can use the system we created to test multiple digital video and audio standards with NI PXI RF hardware. It is also an ideal solution for testing multimode digital video software defined radios (SDRs). The proposed solution successfully meets all the key requirements including multistandard, multicarrier signal generation using a single NI RFSG. The supported standards are DVB-S, DVB-T/H, DVB-T2, ISDB-T, ISDB-Tb, DTMB, CMMB, ATSC, ATSC-M/H, DAB, DAB Plus, and T-DMB.

We developed the complete solution in a record short period of 12 months for the nine standards with just six team members using LabVIEW, the LabVIEW Modulation Toolkit, and the NI Spectral Measurements Toolkit. We reduced the total development time by 4X to 5X compared to other standard tools. The software-defined nature of the NI PXI RF platform helped us support multistandard, multicarrier waveform generation using a single NI RFSG module.

When programmed with LabVIEW software and paired with different NI PXI RF hardware modules, MaxEye DVB toolkits can help engineers create a complete, customized test solution for various DVB transmitters and receivers. Engineers can use these toolkits to characterize the performance of DTV tuners, broadcast equipment, and power amplifiers.

Engineers also can quickly take measurements using the programming examples provided with the toolkits or build fully automated applications using the LabVIEW API VIs that come with the toolkit software. A DTV testing group said the system is “simple and easy to configure and to generate DVB-T signals with; offers good error handling by which the errors are identified very easily. Last but not least, good support from MaxEye Technologies has enabled us in completing the project on time.”

We developed the system while working closely with the NI India team, which provided support during product development to help us understand the requirements and other details. We successfully tested and demonstrated the system with third-party DVB receivers.

Author Information:
Ramesh K. Narayanan
MaxEye Technologies Private Limited
#124, 3rd Floor, A Cross, NR Colony, Murugeshpalya
Bangalore
India
ramesh@maxeyetech.com

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