Keysight M937xA Series PXI VNA Analyzers Frequently Asked Questions


M937xA Series PXI VNA Overall-System FAQs

These FAQ's relate to overall system operation, configuration, and firmware. They do not address network analyzer operational questions such as measurement techniques, calibrations, or specific programming examples. If your question is not answered here, contact your local Keysight field office or contact the factory at: csg.support@keysight.com.


General

  1. What version of IO Libraries is needed?
  2. What is the difference between Multiport and Multisite operation?
  3. How do installed options work when in multisite mode vs multiport mode?
  4. Are options available on a temporary basis for us to try out for awhile?
  5. The message: "Problem loading sweep optimization file..." appears upon firmware launch. What should I do?

Configuration

  1. When in multiport mode, I am getting an error about a missing trigger or reference signal, yet I have all the jumper cables connected. Why?
  2. If jumpers are connected between multiple modules, can I still use only one module at a time without disconnecting the jumpers?

Operation

  1. The port power I am measuring with a power sensor seems a bit off. Why?
  2. Why isn't a Power Meter Cal available?
  3. Does PLTS support the PXI VNA?
  4. Can I use an ECal module with PXI VNAs?
  5. Can I use CalPods with the PXI VNAs?
  6. My NI chassis cannot install the USB ECal Driver. How do I fix that?
  7. Use your PC as the controller?
  8. GUI: User Remote Desktop to connect to the controller

Firmware

  1. How do I find my current firmware revision?
  2. How can I find out when new firmware is released?
  3. How do I upgrade firmware?
  4. Does the installation of new firmware affect the VNA's calibration status?
  5. Why must I sometimes reboot my chassis after updating firmware?

Programming

  1. Does the PXI VNA family support COM/DCOM?
  2. Can one do software development on PXI VNA without the module?
  3. Are the SCPI programming commands similar to the ENA series of Network Analyzers? How about the PNA series?
  4. Programmatically: Launch the PXI VNA from the command line remotely?

ANSWERS

General

  1. What version of IO Libraries is needed?
    Version 16.3.17914.4 (Also known as Version 16.3 Update 2) is the minimum version needed. In the future, for Windows 8 operation, version 17.x will be needed.

  2. What is the difference between Multiport and Multisite operation?
    Multi-port is when you configure two or more PXI modules into a 4-port (or greater) single network analyzer. You will generally have only one instance of the application running but can access any S-Parameter. For example, if you had 4 modules connected together, you would essentially have an 8 port analyzer and could access any S-parameter from S11 to S88. These modules would be located in adjacent slots and would require N-1 sets of 3 jumpers per setup; where N equals the number of modules. This jumper set is Model Y1282A; 3 would be required for a 4-module system (8-port.) Memory limitations may prevent you from using too many points with a high port count since the number of S-parameters (and memory used) goes by the square of the number of ports. Any use of multi-port requires option 551.

    Multi-site is when you configure two or more PXI modules as totally separate 2-port analyzers. In this case you would be running N number of firmware instances for N number of modules. Each behaves completely independently from each other. The modules can be in any location and do not need to be tied together in any way; although some rare frequency-critical configurations might need the 10 MHz references tied together. You can run as many as 16 separate modules at one time however, above about 4-6 modules, the mainframe's processor speed will limit how fast you can obtain data from each unit.

  3. How do installed options work when in multisite mode vs multiport mode?
    In multisite mode, each module must have whatever option is needed installed. Let's say you are running 4 modules as independent analyzers and want to use Option 010 (Time domain) in each. Each one of those modules must have the time domain option installed in order to be able to use that feature.
    In multiport mode, only one module must have that option installed. Let's say you are running 4 modules as an 8-port analyzer and you want to use time domain for any given parameter. Only one of those modules needs the option installed (not all 4), and it does not matter which module actually contains it.
  4. Are options available on a temporary basis for us to try out for awhile?
    Yes, the optioning of the PXI VNA is virtually identical to the PNA. Temporary options can be requested. However, we do not support transportable licenses.

  5. The message: "Problem loading sweep optimization file..." appears upon firmware launch. What should I do?
    The hardware in your PXI instrument has a newer configuration which is not recognized by the older firmware installed on your controller. Please download and install the latest firmware.


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Configuration

  1. When in multiport mode, I am getting an error about a missing trigger or reference signal, yet I have all the jumper cables connected. Why?
    This is almost always due to the fact that the SMB push-on connectors are not fully seated. Sometimes it takes a substantially firm push to fully seat them.

  2. If jumpers are connected between multiple modules, can I still use only one module at a time without disconnecting the jumpers?
    Yes. Internally there are switches, so that having the jumpers connected between unused modules will not affect anything. So if you have 7 modules in a 14-Port multiport configuration, you can easily switch to three 4-port VNAs and one 2-Port VNA (or any combination thereof) without removing any jumpers.

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Operation

  1. The port power I am measuring with a power sensor seems a bit off. Why?
    At lower frequencies, the PXI VNA has substantial harmonics. Above 20 GHz, and depending upon power levels, the modules could also have substantial sub-harmonics. A broadband power meter will read all spectral power and, as a result, read higher than the actual power of the fundamental signal that is being supplied. The module is designed to supply the indicated power at the selected fundamental frequency, exclusive of any harmonics or subharmonics.

  2. Why isn't a Power Meter Cal available?
    For now, this feature is not available. The reason is described in the above question/answer. Because of this, a power meter cal could be offset by a dB or more at various frequencies. Rather than mislead customers, this feature has been removed. There are some alternatives available; contact Keysight for more information.

  3. Does PLTS support the PXI VNA?
    Not yet, but soon. The 2015 version of PLTS should support it. This should be available in January, 2015.

  4. Can I use an ECal module with PXI VNAs?
    Yes!

  5. Can I use CalPods with the PXI VNAs?
    Not right now, but soon...maybe sometime in 2015.

  6. My NI chassis cannot install the USB ECal Driver. How do I fix that?
    Updating to the latest Intel Chipset drivers should fix this. You can start your search at Intel here.

  7. Use your PC as the controller?
    Consider connecting the PXI chassis directly to your PC using PXI cable and PXI card. Then, the PXI VNA will be directly connected, and there will be no need to use LAN at all. This is the most common way that PXI products work. In fact, most of the Keysight PXI instruments do not have a LAN interface at all. In this case, you wouldn't use a dedicated PXI controller. Your PC is the PXI controller.

  8. GUI: User Remote Desktop to connect to the controller?
    If you want to use the dedicated PXI controller, then you can use remote desktop to connect to the PXI controller over LAN. And then, through the GUI, you can launch and reconfigure the PXI VNA on demand.

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Firmware

  1. How do I find my current firmware revision?
    On the network analyzer application, select: Help, About Network Analyzer.

  2. How can I find out when new firmware is released?
    There are several ways. First, you can access our firmware web page to see if a new version is available. Second, and the preferred method if the analyzer has Internet access, select Utility, System, Service, AgileUpdate. It will indicate if a new version is available and allow you to download/install it. If LAN access is maintained, you can configure the AutoCheck feature to periodically check for new firmware and notify you if there is something new. This feature can be configured by the user from within the AgileUpdate program. See the help file under AutoCheck.

  3. How do I upgrade Firmware?
    The recommended method is to use the AgileUpdate utility (see above), however this can only be done if the analyzer has Internet access. If not, the firmware file can be downloaded from any computer with Internet access and then transferred to the PXI mainframe via LAN or via flash drive. Once it resides on the mainframe, double-click on the filename to begin the installation process.

  4. Does the installation of new firmware affect the PNA's calibration status?
    No, never!

  5. Why must I sometimes reboot my chassis after updating firmware?
    Occasionally, new firmware will require the reprogramming of one, or at most two, internal FPGA chips. When this is necessary, a message will be displayed that you must turn off power to the chassis. This is not the same as a reboot! A reboot is NOT sufficient for the new FPGA code to take effect! Instead, the power must be completely removed and then the power switch must be manually turned on again. Because this will require manual intervention, be careful when upgrading firmware for a chassis that is in a remote location.

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Programming

  1. Does the PXI VNA family support COM/DCOM?
    Partially. The PXI VNA will support COM, but not DCOM. This means you can run COM programs on your chassis controller but not from a remote computer. For now, this is a feature that is not specified, however most service routines use COM almost exclusively so there is no danger of this ability being removed. This means that many COM programs developed for the PNA family can also be used on the PXI VNA series with little to no modification. Many of the applications listed on the PNA Applications page will work just fine on the PXI VNA. Some of these are: USB Sensor Display, Speed Test, Data Logger, ECAL Security Wipe, and many more. COM commands are not documented in the PXI Help File, so refer to the PNA's documentation instead for more details. Remember, the PXI VNA firmware and the PNA's firmware are both based on the same common core.
    In multiport mode, COM commands will only address the first module. Addressing other modules is possible, but a bit more difficult; contact us for more information.

  2. Can one do software development on PXI VNA without the module?
    At this time we do not have a "simulator" mode available. While the IVI driver does support a simulator mode, it is not very robust and may not suffice for most uses.

  3. Are the SCPI programming commands similar to the ENA series of Network Analyzers? How about the PNA series?
    The PXI VNA shares a common set of SCPI commands with the PNA, but not the ENA. Eventually, all 3 series will converge on one set of commands.

  4. Programmatically: Launch the PXI VNA from the command line remotely?
    Another option is to remotely launch the firmware using the command line.

  5. When running on the controller, you can launch the PXI VNA using this command: (the PXI address is just a sample address. You would use the address specific to your controller. "c:\program files (x86)\agilent\network analyzer\835x PXI13::0::0::INSTR"

    This command line could be sent remotely over LAN by using the "psexec" tool provided by Microsoft. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/pxexec.aspx

    With psexec, the command line would be: Psexec \\ -u -p "c:\program files (x86)\agilent\network analyzer\835x PXI13::0::0::INSTR"

    And, then to launch as a 4 port analyzer (for example): Psexec \\ -u -p "c:\program files (x86)\agilent\network analyzer\835x PXI13::0::0::INSTR;PXI14::0::0::INSTR"

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If all else fails, contact Keysight support for help.


Last Updated: May 6, 2016