Tektronix Launches New Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers for Engineers

1/7/2004 - Tektronix, Inc. (NYSE: TEK), a leading provider of test and measurement equipment, announced a new series of real-time spectrum analyzers that provide the first complete measurement package for engineers developing cutting-edge Radio Frequency (RF) technologies, ranging from RF Identification (ID) tags to sophisticated radar applications. Real-time spectrum analysis provides the unique ability to trigger, capture and analyze time-varying RF signals.

RF signal characteristics are becoming more complex as RF communications increasingly replace wired technologies in applications ranging from inventory identification to video games. Today's RF signals carry complex modulation and change from one instant to the next, hopping frequencies, spiking briefly, and then disappearing. As a result, these RF signals are difficult to measure and present unpredictable behavior, making engineers' ability to observe RF devices with existing spectrum analyzers extremely challenging. This evolution in RF technology has spawned an unprecedented demand for a new approach to spectrum analysis.

Real-time spectrum analysis has emerged as the vehicle to address this RF technology evolution. Tektronix has employed the technology in its new portfolio of real-time spectrum analyzers, including the RSA2200A Series and the RSA3300A Series. These instruments address time varying and transient RF signals by triggering on events that swept spectrum and vector signal analyzers fail to see, seamlessly capturing and storing a record of signal activity and enabling in-depth analysis and troubleshooting with time correlated multi-domain visual displays.

"As we see multiple industries using RF technology to enable seamless connections between electronic systems and devices, the technical requirements are having a significant impact on engineers trying to identify and understand the characteristics of the signals," said Rick King, Vice President, Spectrum Analyzer Product Line, Tektronix, Inc. "Where it was once enough to provide a basic view of the spectrum or simple modulation analysis with a swept spectrum analyzer, today's RF applications require much more. Through long-term relationships with key RF customers, Tektronix has been able to identify the need for real-time spectrum analysis capabilities, and as such, is meeting the challenges of today's RF engineers."

Real-Time Spectrum Analysis Enables Identification and Capture of Elusive RF Signals
Today's broad ranges of RF applications are as diverse as spectrum monitoring and RFID, but each has a common denominator: the signal is present one moment, absent the next, and variable over time. These signals use modulation, frequency hopping, bursting, and other techniques and continue to elude swept spectrum analyzers. Designers and researchers working on advanced RF applications need efficient tools that can trigger, capture and analyze the spectral behavior of rapidly changing signals over relatively long time periods.

Tektronix' RSA Series meet these demands by acquiring a seamless time record of a span of RF frequencies all at once. This record of real-time signal behavior supports powerful analysis tools such as the spectrogram display, which plots frequency and power amplitude changes over time-many minutes of time in some cases. The frequency, time and modulation domains are all visible in time-correlated displays, while the spectrogram itself summarizes the long-term view, enabling an intuitive, three-dimensional look at the time-varying signal behavior, otherwise unseen in traditional frequency domain displays.

Equally important is the Frequency Mask Trigger, which allows users to define both the frequency and amplitude (power) conditions under which the instrument captures the signal information. This unique feature enables engineers to quickly hone in on suspect frequencies or monitor signals continuously but acquire them only when the signal changes. In addition, the RSA Series' long memory enables engineers to capture all signal information just once and immediately perform a complete analysis. The event (for example, an interfering or transient signal) being analyzed may only happen once or very infrequently, so it's critical to capture all the information the first time.

The new series comprise four models in total: RSA2203A, RSA2208A, RSA3303A, and RSA3308A. These encompass frequency ranges up to 8 GHz with various memory depth configurations. Real-time spectrum analysis is standard on all models.

About Tektronix
Tektronix, Inc. is a test, measurement, and monitoring company providing measurement solutions to the communications, computer, and semiconductor industries worldwide. With more than 55 years of experience, Tektronix enables its customers to design, build, deploy, and manage next-generation global communications networks and advanced technologies. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, Tektronix has operations in more than 20 countries worldwide. Tektronix' Web address is www.tektronix.com.

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