A vibration wave generated actively by hydraulic vibration exciter was studied, and an experimental system based on the theory of water hammer was designed. The new developed vibration exciter is driven by the motor whose rotary speed can be adjusted by frequency converter, by means of which transient pulsating flow is generated regularly. Consequently the piston of hydraulic cylinder is driven periodically with the rotation of vibration exciter. Furthermore, mathematical model was established by the method of characteristics and computer code was developed to calculate numerical solution. The simulation results show that there are different flow velocities distributed at every cross section along the pipe. Measured data is basically consistent with the numerical simulation, which indicates that the vibration parameters of hydraulic cylinder can be controlled effectively.