Smart RF Accessories Provide Flexible, Scalable Test Solutions

Nov. 2, 2023
The SEM5000A, SSU5000A, and SSM5000A series of multiport device test modules address complex RF applications.

The Overview

Siglent released a family of smart accessories to support multiport and multi-device test solutions. The company's SEM5000A series of electronic calibration (ECal) modules includes the SSU5000A series mechanical switch and the SSM5000A series switch matrix. They're designed and optimized for use with the SHA850A, SVA1000X, and SNA5000A series of vector network analyzers (VNAs) from Siglent. The devices offer a comprehensive, cost-effective solution for simple to complex RF measurement tasks on multiport systems and multiple devices.

SEM5000A series electronic calibrators include the 5002A, 5012A, 5022A, 5032A, 5004A, 5014A, 5024A, and 5034A, over frequency bands of 9 kHz to 4.5 GHz, 9 kHz to 9 GHz, 100 kHz to 13.5 GHz, and 100 kHz to 26.5 GHz. There's a USB interface for communication and power.

Suitable for calibration and error correction of the aforementioned VNA series, the SEM5000A series is simple, fast, efficient, accurate, and widely applicable, with SMA or 3.5-mm connections, or custom configurations.

Who Needs It & Why?

Developers of advanced mobile devices can use these solutions to contend with the rapid growth of cloud-oriented data traffic that's impacting frequency-spectrum sharing for mobile communications. Components used in modern communication devices such as mobile phones and tablet PC front-end modules must support more frequency bands and functions.

An important element of 5G development is that the number of ports in the front-end module has increased rapidly, including filters, amplifiers, and other components. Addressing this complexity requires advanced test and production solutions to accurately characterize the performance parameters of these systems.

When analyzing microwave networks, VNAs measure the network's scattering parameter (S-parameter) matrix, and the latest multiport and balancing devices often have more than the typical two or four ports found on a network analyzer, complicating characterization. This is made more difficult by repeated tests, multiple connection points, and repeat calibrations, which can slow test results and introduce additional errors. Test systems that combine RF switching, electronic calibration, and S-parameter measurements improve test speed and accuracy.

Siglent's multiport device test solutions offer increased speed, accuracy, and efficiency with cost-effective test expansion options. SEM5000A series electronic calibration modules perform calibration in one step and provide greater convenience for multiport and manufacturing tests by significantly reducing the number of connections made during the calibration process. This decreases the probability for operator error as well as the likelihood of connector wear and tear.

Under the Hood

SSU5000A series mechanical switches, which have a frequency range of up to 50 GHz, offer a compact design, excellent RF characteristics, low insertion loss, high impedance matching, and a fast switching time. The devices contain from one to four independent single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) mechanical switches with SMA or 2.4-mm connectors or one to two single-pole, six-throw (SP6T) mechanical switches.

For example, the SSU5264A comes in four varieties, and each is an independent SPDT with three connectors. Alternatively, the SSU5266A is divided into two types, and each group is an independent SP6T with seven connectors. Provided in a USB-connected enclosure, the switches can be configured using VISA and SCPI, or free standalone software.

The ECal module is connected to the VNA with the provided USB cable, and then the analyzer automatically identifies the calibration model, frequency range, and connector type. The SSM5000A series switch matrix can expand the number of test ports of network analyzers, signal sources, spectrum analyzers, and other equipment, with up to four input ports and up to 24 output ports. Able to support USB, LAN, and Direct Control communication modes, these switch-matrix systems simplify device connections as well as system topology with added flexibility.

A Direct Control interface makes it possible to further automate multiport calibration; the RF switch systems can be used with any RF test equipment for mixed system designs. Able to test transmission and reflection parameters across up to 24 ports in a single switch chassis, the SSM5000A can handle up to 20-dBm input power for a wide variety of applicable RF devices.

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