An Architectural Framework for a Universal Microwave Measurement System
Author: Syed I. Tariq
The complexity of modern antennas has resulted in the need to increase the productivity of ranges by orders of magnitude. This has been achieved by a combination of improved measurement techniques, faster instrumentation and by increased automation of the measurement process. This paper concentrates on automated measurement systems, and describes the requirements necessary to make such systems effective in production testing, and in research and development settings. The paper also describes one such implementation – the MI Technologies Model MI-3000 Acquisition and Analysis Workstation - that was designed specifically to comply with these requirements.
The paper discusses several important factors that must be considered in the design of automated measurement systems, including: (1) Enhancing range productivity; (2) Interfacing with instrumentation from a large number of suppliers; (3) Providing a uniform front-end for the measurement setup and operation that must be largely independent of the choice of the hardware configurations or the type of range (near-field or far-field); (4) Making the test results available in a format that simplifies transition to external commercial and userprogrammed applications; (5) Providing powerful scripting capability to facilitate end-user programming and customization; (6) Using a development paradigm that allows incremental binary upgrades of new features and instruments. The paper also discusses computational hardware issues and software paradigms that help achieve the requirements.