January 31, 2012

ZTEC Instruments Releases ZProtocol™ WLAN Software for 802.11ac

ZTEC Instruments has announced the release of ZProtocol™ WLAN, a comprehensive 802.11ac demodulation software solution for analysis, characterization and test of the next generation of Wi-Fi RF integrated circuits (RFIC).

The exponential growth of digital media and wirelessly connected devices requires faster and more reliable wireless protocols. A fifth-generation (5G) Wi-Fi standard, designated 802.11ac by the IEEE, achieves wireless data rates in excess of 1 Gbit/s by extending the existing 802.11n protocol with wider instantaneous bandwidth up to 160MHz, more MIMO channels, and higher density modulation up to 256QAM. Although the 802.11ac standard is still in draft form, RFIC manufacturers are already demonstrating 802.11ac chips, such as Broadcom who showed the BCM4360 at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 5G Wi-Fi systems will be available for home networking this year, with 5G smartphones and tablets expected to follow in 2013. In-Stat studies predict that one billion 802.11ac devices will ship by 2015.

Engineers must test these new 802.11ac devices with IEEE standard-compliant hardware and software tools. ZProtocol™ WLAN offers fast, flexible and easy to use test software that complies with the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. “ZTEC is pleased to provide our customers with leading-edge tools that allow them to test and characterize their next generation Wi-Fi devices. With ZProtocol™ WLAN, they can accelerate their time to market for 5G Wi-Fi products.” says Christopher Ziomek, President of ZTEC Instruments. The ZProtocol™ WLAN analysis software provides complete compliance testing, including:
• Error Vector Magnitude (EVM)
• Spectral mask
• Spectral flatness
• Preamble decoding and VHT-SIG-A reporting including CRC check
• Legacy field decoding and parity reporting
• Center frequency error
• Center frequency leakage
• Waveforms for constellation, time domain, spectrum, subcarrier flatness
• Legacy protocol support for 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n

In combination with ZTEC’s ZT8651 PXI/PXIe 6 GHz Vector Signal Analyzer (VSA), ZProtocol™ WLAN offers a complete solution for 802.11ac testing covering all aspects of the 802.11ac protocol including:
• All Modulation Bandwidths: 160 MHz, 80 MHz, 40 MHz & 20 MHz
• All Modulation Coding Schemes (MCS0-9): BPSK to 256QAM
• All Channels: ranging between 5.18 GHz and 5.825 GHz
• Short and Long Guard Intervals
• MIMO Streams: X2, X3, X4
• Low EVM floor: -46 to -38 dB, 0 dBm to -40 dBm, 20-80 MHz, MCS0-9
• Input power levels: -120 dBm to +20 dBm
• Rapid EVM measurement processing time: <50 ms

ZProtocol™ WLAN includes an intuitive user interface for use with the ZT8651 VSA. In addition, C/C++ software drivers are provided for ease of automation. Example code demonstrates the automated use case and allows users to begin characterization or design verification with little additional programming or integration. At the driver level, the WLAN analysis interface is separate from the ZT8651 hardware interface. Consequently, ZProtocol™ WLAN can be applied as an 802.11ac analysis tool for data captured with any instrument has the required modulation bandwidth.

About ZTEC Instruments
ZTEC Instruments is a leading modular instrument company whose product focus includes oscilloscopes, waveform generators, and RF & wireless communication test equipment. ZTEC Instruments’ products are unique in that they provide powerful bench-top instrument capabilities in modular instrument form factors, including PXIe, Compact PCI/PXI, PCI, VXI, and LXI. For more information about ZTEC Instruments visit http://www.ztecinstruments.com.