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What Is A Vector Network Analyzer?

The Vector Network Analyzer is used to verify design simulations and to test component specifications for systems and their components.

Network analyzers are used today to describe tools for a wide variety of “networks.”As the world becomes increasingly technologically advanced, the number of different networks increases. For example, today most people have a cellular or mobile phone that operates on a 3G or 4G network. Furthermore, most of our homes, offices, and commercial venues have Wi-Fi or wireless LAN networks.

There are many computers and servers set up in “networks” that are all linked into the cloud. For each of these “networks”, there are tools which can be used to verify performance, map coverage areas, and identify problem areas, which is the Vector Network Analyzer.

The Vector Network Analyzer (VNA), which is over 60 years old, was a major contributor in making mobile phone networks, Wi-Fi networks, computer networks, and the Cloud all possible.

VNAs are commonly used by Research and Development engineers and manufacturing test engineers at various stages of product development. The performance of components such as amplifiers, filters, antennas, cables, mixers, etc., needs to be verified by those who are designing components.

System designers need to verify component specifications to ensure that the performance they expect meets their subsystem and system specifications.

Vector Network Analyzers are used by manufacturing lines to ensure that all products meet specifications before they’re shipped to their customers. A Vector Network Analyzer can even be used in field operations to troubleshoot Radio Frequency and microwave systems.

How Does It Work?| Vector Network Analyzer

A VNA consists of a source, which generates a known stimulus signal, and a set of receivers, which monitor the changes in this stimulus caused by the device under test (DUT).

The stimulus signal is injected into the DUT and the Vector Network Analyzer measures both the signal that’s reflected from the input side, as well as the signal that passes through to the output side of the DUT. Vector Network Analyzer receivers measure the resulting signals and compare them with the known stimulus signal. Afterward, the measured results are processed by an internal or external PC and displayed, where you can read your data, and create a plan for how to resolve issues.

What Is a Vector Network Analyzer Used For?

Vector Network Analyzers perform two types of measurements – transmission and reflection. In transmission measurements, the Vector Network Analyzer stimulus signal passes through the device under test and is then measured by the Vector Network Analyzer receivers on the other side.

S21 and S12 are the most common transmission S-parameter measurements (Sxy for two or more ports). Swept power measurements are a form of transmission measurement. Gain, insertion loss and phase, electrical length and delay, and group delay are examples of transmission measurements.

A reflection measurement measures the portion of the stimulus signal that strikes the DUT but does not pass through it. Rather, reflection measurements measure the signal that travels back towards the source due to reflections. S11 and S22 are two of the most common reflection S-parameter measurements (Sxx for more than 2-ports).

Vector Network Analyzer And Other Gear

A vector network analyzer is a quality piece of equipment for those in research and development industries where networks consistently need analysis and maintenance. Make sure to buy quality and durability when purchasing equipment like this as it is already and expensive purchase. Some other important pieces of electrical equipment are a time domain reflectometer and automotive ethernet. These devices also work to further the infrastructure of networks across a variety of platforms.