Agilent Single-Instrument Evaluates Most RF and Microwave Signal Sources

6/10/2004 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) introduced a new class of instrument that can evaluate the critical performance characteristics of nearly all types of RF and microwave signal sources. The Agilent E5052A Signal Source Analyzer (SSA) replaces a large, complex rack of test equipment with a single instrument that speeds measurement times by a factor of 10. The SSA helps R&D and manufacturing engineers in wireless communication, broadband optical, aerospace/defense and electronics perform tests more accurately, at lower cost, and with unprecedented simplicity.

"3G and 4G wireless standards are increasing the complexity of testing and evaluating signal sources," said Pat Byrne, general manager and vice president of Agilent's RF & MW Communications Business Unit. "The introduction of the signal source analyzer, a new class of instrument, is a result of our continued effort to provide innovative products that simplify and speed the test process."

The SSA provides complete signal-source characterization in a single instrument without compromising the performance or features required for any measurement. The SSA tests more signal sources than any other single instrument available, including devices such as crystal oscillators, voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs), surface acoustic wave (SAW) oscillators, dielectric resonator oscillators (DROs), YIG-tuned oscillators, all types of frequency synthesizers, and local oscillator (LO) circuits. The instrument measures phase noise, modulation domain (frequency, power and phase transient), power, frequency and DC current consumption, and provides a spectrum monitor function and two ultra-low noise DC sources for the device under test (DUT).

The SSA lowers cost by eliminating the need to purchase multiple standalone instruments, including a modulation domain analyzer, DC power supply (for the DUT), digital multimeter, frequency counter, RF power meter, signal generator, and phase noise analyzer. In addition, the SSA improves accuracy by eliminating the need to connect and reconnect the DUT for each type of measurement, a process that is prone to error and takes a long time to learn in design and production environments. Alternatively, engineers could automate measurements and eliminate connections and reconnections by cabling together general-purpose and test-specific instruments. This process requires writing complicated multi-instrument test routines, removes those instruments from use in other areas, and usually requires up to a day to make phase noise measurements, including system setup and calibration. Using the Agilent SSA, measurements take only a few minutes and most tests can be performed by pressing a single button.

Agilent SSA Leaves No Test Behind
Phase noise, frequency, and phase and power transients are key performance attributes by which many signal sources are evaluated. Some of the most stringent demands are found in the test specifications of 3G and 4G wireless access standards. Agilent's proprietary cross-correlation technique lowers the instrument's noise floor at all offset frequencies without reducing measurement speed or compromising phase measurement performance.

The SSA offers a phase-noise frequency offset range of 1 Hz to 40 MHz. For transient measurements, the SSA offers frequency resolution ranges from 5 Hz to 7 kHz with 10 ns to 160 ms sampling resolution, and frequency span can be selected between 1.6 MHz and 25.6 MHz in the heterodyne (narrowband) mode. The instrument also provides a direct (wideband) mode for frequency transients up to a 4.8 GHz span. In addition, the SSA includes exceptionally low-noise DC power sources for the DUT that eliminate the need for a low-pass filter.

The SSA mainframe offers a frequency range of 10 MHz to 7 GHz, and up to 110 GHz using Agilent downconverters. Other features of the Agilent E5052A include a Windows(r) style user interface, 10.4-inch TFT LCD touch screen display, and programming via SCPI and Microsoft( Visual Basic for Applications that makes integration within an automated production test system simple and straightforward. Up to four windows plus one user window can be open on the display as well. Connectivity includes GPIB, USB and Ethernet.

Further Information
Additional information about the Agilent E5052A is available at
A backgrounder describing the SSA and Agilent's cross-correlation technology is available at
Images of the SSA are available at

U.S. Pricing and Availability
Pricing of the Agilent E5052A signal source analyzer begins at $75,000. The product is expected to be available for order in July 2004.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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