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5G Measurements Moving to Millimeter-Wave Bands

Many of the test instrument suppliers at the 2017 IMS are showing the latest developments in their millimeter-wave test equipment.

A future filled with 5G networks also means a widespread need for millimeter-wave test capabilities, and many of the test instrument suppliers at the 2017 IMS were showing the latest developments in their millimeter-wave test equipment. Anritsu, for example, showed their VectorStar vector network analyzers (VNAs) with a new Universal Fixture Extraction (UFX) option. The option anticipates microwave and millimeter-wave measurements both in fixtures and on wafer where a full set of calibration standards may not be available. The UFX option includes de-embedding tools which make it possible to create .sNp files for parts of a probe or a fixture, such as a transition, that may introduce uncertainties to a measurement. With such files, the uncertainties can be minimized and the measurement accuracy improved. The option applies to the wide frequency range of the VectorStar analyzers, which are capable of measurements through 145 GHz.

A new option for a popular commercial VNA will be on display at the 2017 IMS, for improved on-wafer and in-fixture millimeter-wave measurement accuracy even when calibration standards are not available. (Courtesy of Anritsu Co.)


Concerning the 2017 IMS, Paul Innis, vice-president and general manager of Anritsu Company, said: “Anritsu will showcase technologies and test solutions to help engineers meet the demands associated with these challenging designs. Through our tutorials, speaking engagements and exhibits, we will offer novel testing approaches that will help successfully and efficiently move technology forward into higher frequencies.” 

A number of other test-equipment suppliers displayed millimeter-wave VNAs at the 2017 IMS, including Keysight Technologies, with their N5291A PNA VNA with impressive frequency range of 900 Hz to 120 GHz (Fig. 2), and Rohde & Schwarz with their R&S® ZVA series of VNA with models operating to 110 GHz and external frequency converters for two- and four-port measurements at higher frequencies. In following an industry-wide trend for test instruments, the ZVA series VNAs also offer noise-figure measurements and pulse profile measurements for versatility, in particular for characterizing radar signals at millimeter-wave frequencies. In terms of cost-effective millimeter-wave VNAs, Copper Mountain Technologies (Booth 1940) will show its USB-based CobaltFx VNAs with frequency extension modules developed with Farran Technology (Fig. 3) for various millimeter-wave waveguide frequency bandwidths through 110 GHz.


The latest PVNA wideband VNAs are capable of continuous swept measurements to 120 GHz. (Courtesy of Keysight Technologies)

These test solutions combine a low-cost 9-GHz USB VNA with frequency-extension modules for cost-effective VNA measurements to 110 GHz. (Courtesy of Copper Mountain Technologies)


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