HP N6171A

N6171A MATLAB Data Analysis
Software for EXA, MXA, and
PSA Series Signal and
Spectrum Analyzers
Technical Overview
• Enhance your Agilent signal and
spectrum analyzers with the data
analysis power of MATLAB®
Create and execute your own
analysis routines and
• Analyze and visualize your wireless
data, execute and test modulation
schemes, and develop automated
Have you ever wished your signal or
spectrum analyzer had additional
signal analysis capabilities? Have
you ever wanted to create your
own custom application – or modify
an existing one – for your specific
testing needs? Have you ever wanted
your signal analyzer to provide
tools to test unique or proprietary
communications signals? With
today’s increasingly complex signals,
the standard analysis routines
provided with a signal or spectrum
analyzer are sometimes not enough.
• Develop and execute custom analysis
applications directly on your signal
analyzer or on a remote PC
• Acquire MATLAB software that has
been tested and qualified by Agilent
on the same purchase order as your
signal and spectrum analyzers
Agilent Technologies now has the
perfect solution to meet your specific
testing needs – Agilent now enables
you to add the MATLAB data analysis
software environment (as Agilent
option N6171A) when you purchase
an EXA (N9010A), MXA (N9020A),
and PSA (E444xA) series signal or
spectrum analyzer. Users can obtain
this high-quality instrumentation and
data analysis software from a single
source – a benefit provided only by
Agilent Technologies.
MATLAB Overview
MATLAB is a well known and
respected data analysis software
environment and programming
language developed by The
MathWorks and now available for
purchase directly from Agilent.
MATLAB software can be used to
make measurements, analyze and
visualize data, generate arbitrary
waveforms, control instruments,
and build test systems. It provides
interactive tools and commandline functions for a wide range
of applications, including signal
processing, signal modulation, digital
filtering, and curve fitting. MATLAB
has over 1,000,000 users in diverse
industries and disciplines, and it is a
standard at more than 3,500 colleges
and universities worldwide.
MATLAB extends the functionality of
Agilent signal and spectrum analyzers
by enabling you to analyze and
visualize your wireless data, execute
and test modulation schemes, and
develop automated tests. You can
develop and execute your own custom
analysis applications for your signal
analyzer directly on the instrument
itself or using a remote PC. You can
also design your own digital filters in
MATLAB and apply them to signals
acquired from your instrument. With
these capabilities, you can:
• Test the functionality of electronic
devices by making measurements
with Agilent instruments and
comparing them against known
baselines in MATLAB
• Excite electronic devices using
Agilent instruments with simple
or complex waveforms created
• Characterize an electronic device
to determine how closely it
matches the design
• Verify new algorithms or
measurement routines using live
data from Agilent instruments
MATLAB can be installed and
executed directly on these Agilent
instruments or on a remote computer
using GPIB, LAN, or USB connectivity.
Benefits of purchasing MATLAB
from Agilent
Adding MATLAB software to the
purchase of your Agilent signal or
spectrum analyzer provides five
key benefits:
• Convenience: Acquire software
and analyzer on a single purchase
• Confidence: MATLAB software
sold through Agilent has been
tested and qualified by Agilent
• Support: Contact either Agilent
or The MathWorks for help with
installation and technical
• Quick start: Acquire numerous
application examples directly from
Agilent to get started
• Reliability: Ensure that your
MATLAB software is always
available to you when you need it
Figure 1. Visualize a live wireless signal on a 3D “waterfall plot” using a MATLAB application
available from Agilent. Execute this application
directly on the signal analyzer or remotely over
GPIB, LAN, or USB connectivity. Modify as
needed to meet your specific
testing needs.
Three N6171A MATLAB
packages available
Agilent has carefully chosen to offer
three MATLAB software packages to
its customers which represent typical
packages needed by its signal and
spectrum analyzer users. These
packages range from basic MATLAB
capabilities to acquire and analyze data
to full support for signal processing,
communications systems, filter
design, and automated testing:
Description Additional Information
N6171A –
This basic configuration includes the MATLAB
software environment and the Instrument Control
Toolbox. Use this configuration to configure, control,
and acquire data from an Agilent EXA, MXA, or PSA
signal or spectrum analyzer to perform basic signal
analysis and visualization tasks.
N6171 –
Includes the products in the MATLAB – Basic
Signal Package plus the Communications Toolbox
and Signal Processing Toolbox. This configuration
extends MATLAB software by providing graphical user
interfaces (GUIs), plots, and command-line functions
to build, execute, analyze, and test digital filters and
modulation schemes. Use this configuration to filter or
demodulate signals, automate measurements, analyze
or visualize data, or build test systems using an Agilent
EXA, MXA, or PSA signal or spectrum analyzer.
– M03
Includes the products in the MATLAB – Standard
Signal Package plus the Filter Design Toolbox and RF
Toolbox. This configuration extends MATLAB software
by providing advanced filter design methods including
FIR, IIR, adaptive, and multi-rate. This configuration also
provides GUIs, plots, and command-line functions for
designing, analyzing, and visualizing networks of radio
frequency (RF) components.
Modern connectivity:
Choose the best connection to meet specific requirements:
• LAN – 100 based-T
• LXI – Class C compliant
Spectrum and signal analyzers Required software revision
EXA (N9010A)
Rev 1.05 or later
MXA (N9020A)
Rev 1.24 or later
PSA (E444xA)
Rev 2.07 or later
MATLAB software
R2008a or later
Ordering Information
Figure 2. Develop a new MATLAB application or
modify an existing MATLAB application using
the MATLAB Editor provided by MATLAB.
N6171A – M01
N6171A – M02
N6171A – M03
MATLAB - Basic Signal Analysis Package
MATLAB - Standard Signal Analysis Package
MATLAB - Advanced Signal Analysis Package
Related Literature
PSA data sheet
MXA data sheet
EXA data sheet
MATLAB applications for
X-Series analyzers
Agilent Literature Number
Additional details on toolboxes
provided in the MATLAB
Instrument Control Toolbox lets you
communicate with instruments, such
as oscilloscopes, function generators,
and signal analyzers, directly from
MATLAB. The toolbox enables you
to communicate with instruments
via instrument drivers, such as IVI
and VXIplug&play, and commonlyused communication protocols, such
With the Instrument Control Toolbox
product, you can generate data in
MATLAB to send out to an instrument,
or read data into MATLAB for analysis
and visualization.
Communications Toolbox extends
the MATLAB software environment
with functions, plots, and a graphical
user interface (GUI) for exploring,
designing, analyzing, and simulating
algorithms for the physical layer
of communication systems.
Communications Toolbox helps you
create algorithms for commercial or
defense systems, such as mobile
handsets and base stations, wired
and wireless local area networks, and
digital subscriber lines. You can also
use it in research and education for
communication systems engineering.
Signal Processing Toolbox is a
collection of industry-standard
algorithms for analog and digital signal
processing (DSP). Signal Processing
Toolbox also provides graphical user
interfaces for interactive design and
analysis and command-line functions
for advanced algorithm development.
Filter Design Toolbox product is
a collection of tools that provide
advanced techniques for designing,
simulating, and analyzing digital filters.
It extends Signal Processing Toolbox
with filter architectures and design
methods for complex real-time DSP
applications, including adaptive and
multi-rate filtering.
RF Toolbox extends the MATLAB
product with functions and a graphical
user interface (GUI) for designing,
modeling, analyzing, and visualizing
networks of radio frequency (RF)
components. You can use RF
Toolbox for working on wireless
communications, radar, and signal
integrity projects.
Figure 3. Use MATLAB to analyze third order
intercept vs. input level and tone separation
Added value from Agilent
Organizations that purchase MATLAB
software through Agilent are provided
a MATLAB instruments driver that is
tested and supported by Agilent for
the signal or spectrum analyzer that
they purchase. In addition, MATLAB
installation and technical support is
available from Agilent.
Agilent has also developed a suite
of MATLAB example applications
for the PSA, MXA and EXA to assist
customers in their development and
testing needs. The example programs
start with basic data acquisition
and plotting. In addition, there are
advanced programs that allow
users to create their own complete
applications. Agilent provides an
extensive white paper which helps
describe how to interface MATLAB
with its instruments and how to use
MATLAB to create both beginner and
advanced testing solutions.
Figure 4. Analyze and test standard and new
modulation schemes using MATLAB software
and Agilent signal generators and analyzers.
Getting started
A MATLAB technical kit containing
over 20 of these MATLAB example
applications and programs, tested
MATLAB instrument drivers, technical
white paper, and data sheet are
available from Agilent for using
MATLAB software with your Agilent
wireless instruments. Download
this kit today at
Figure 5. Persistence
display using MATLAB
MATLAB applications can be
executed directly on an Agilent
signal analyzer or on a remote
PC using GPIB, LAN, or USB
connectivity. Users can modify the
Agilent applications developed with
MATLAB to meet their specific
testing needs. While running
inside the instrument, the analog
demodulation application can be
driven with the front panel
of the instrument or using a remote
PC and operating the application
with a mouse.
Figure 6. Analog
demodulation of an FM
signal using a MATLAB
Agilent tests and verifies a MATLAB
driver and supports customers who
use it for development. IQ data can be
acquired with one command using the
MATLAB instrument driver. This data
can then be used for demodulation
and analysis of complex signals.
Figure 7. A MATLAB
plot of a QPSK signal
that used the MATLAB
instrument driver for IQ
data acquisition.
Remove all doubt
Get the latest information on the
products and applications you select.
Quickly choose and use your test
equipment solutions with confidence.
Agilent Open simplifies the process
of connecting and programming
test systems to help engineers
design, validate and manufacture
electronic products. Agilent offers
open connectivity for a broad range
of system-ready instruments, open
industry software, PC-standard I/O
and global support, which are
combined to more easily integrate
test system development.
LXI is the LAN-based successor to
GPIB, providing faster, more efficient
connectivity. Agilent is a founding
member of the LXI consortium.
Our repair and calibration services
will get your equipment back to you,
performing like new, when promised. You will get full value out of
your Agilent equipment throughout its lifetime. Your equipment
will be serviced by Agilent-trained
technicians using the latest factory
calibration procedures, automated
repair diagnostics and genuine parts.
You will always have the utmost
confidence in your measurements.
Agilent offers a wide range of additional expert test and measurement services for your equipment,
including initial start-up assistance,
onsite education and training, as
well as design, system integration,
and project management.
For more information on repair and
calibration services, go to:
For more information on Agilent
Technologies’ products, applications
or services, please contact your local
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Revised: October 1, 2008
MATLAB is a registered trademark of
The MathWorks, Inc.
Product specifications and descriptions
in this document subject to change
without notice.
© Agilent Technologies, Inc. 2009
Printed in USA, January 27, 2009