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Growing demand for driver assistance radar and multi-gigabit wireless communications (e.g., WiGig) and the impending demand for 5G small cell networks are driving higher performance requirements for E-Band components — while challenging suppliers to lower their costs. Component test falls squarely in the crosshairs. The recent introduction of an E-Band frequency option to the MS46522B and MS46524B series of Performance ShockLine™ Vector Network Analyzers (VNA) provides manufacturers of passive E-Band devices such as antennas, filters and duplexers with high quality measurements at a more affordable price than previously available. 

The new ShockLine E-Band option utilizes Anritsu’s NLTL technology, complemented with novel monolithic broadband directional bridges, multiplexers and other key components, resulting in NLTL-based samplers and distributed harmonic generators that provide outstanding performance and a lower price than alternative approaches. For example, ShockLine performance enables filter manufacturers to take advantage of 120 dB of dynamic range to meet higher selectivity requirements. The same NLTL-based technology is also inherently stable over temperature and time, which results in less drift and downtime for performing calibrations. Less downtime means higher utilization and lower test cost. The novel architecture of the E-Band option provides multiple advantages: 

Only pay for the frequency range needed. Unlike alternative solutions that provide E-Band measurement capability through broadband approaches, the MS46522B and MS46524B equipped with option 82 is a dedicated E-Band VNA covering 55 to 92 GHz. This focus allows the elimination of components needed to cover unused frequency ranges, enabling a significant cost reduction and a price tag that is a fraction of a broadband system.

Table 1

Lower cable losses and gain greater configurability. The ShockLine E-Band solution incorporates small millimeter wave modules that are tethered to the instrument through 1 m cables. With the millimeter wave measurement capability located in the modules rather than the base instrument, high frequency cables losses and cable instabilities are reduced, enabling the VNA to provide more power with higher dynamic range at the device under test (DUT). The source and receiver modules are small and lightweight enough to connect directly to the DUT, ideal for use in applications like antenna range measurements. 

Reduce downtime and errant measurements. The MS46522B and MS46524B with option 82 come pre-configured with tethered modules already attached and ready to make measurements.  Alternative solutions frequently require complicated cabling and configuration, which can cause extended downtime and lead to errant measurements. ShockLine VNAs are supported by Anritsu’s easyTest™ software. easyTest is a free tool for Anritsu VNAs that allows users to create work instruction files on a PC, deliver these files by e-mail and then display work instructions on supported instruments and modes. These easyTest files provide guided step-by-step instructions for both the test setup and instrument operation. One easyTest file can be uploaded into multiple VNAs, reducing the cost of training personnel and lowering the chance of incorrect measurements.

Increase capacity or eliminate floor space while spending less. The ShockLine E-Band solution includes a 3U tall chassis, which is smaller than many E-Band VNA alternatives. Users can either increase capacity without adding factory floor space or reduce the floor space while maintaining capacity. The chassis also helps save money. Utilizing commercial off-the-shelf components (e.g., the built-in computer and power supply) rather than proprietary components, savings from economies of scale can be passed on through lower pricing. The chassis is more reliable because it does not include fragile buttons or keypads, nor a display that is easily damaged. When needed, users can attach a touch screen monitor for manual testing.

Table 1 summarizes the performance of the MS46522B and MS46524B with option 82.

Morgan Hill, Calif.