Vector Network Analyzers or VNAs are very important and useful instruments and over the years have helped to make countless modern wireless technologies possible. In design applications, simulations are used to accelerate time-to-market by reducing physical prototype iterations. VNAs have historically been used to validate and optimize design simulations, while in manufacturing applications they are used to ensure RF components or devices meet specifications. Now, with the emergence of the Internet of Things – most of which are RF enabled – the need for VNAs is greater than ever.
The trouble is that many IoT projects face short time-to-market windows and tight budgets, making expensive desktop VNAs a luxury many projects simply can’t afford. Educators face a similar budget crunch and can rarely afford to put VNAs in classroom.
That situation is now changing with the introduction of the Tektronix TTR500 Series USB Vector Network Analyzer, the latest addition to the growing Tektronix portfolio of disruptive USB-based RF test instruments. Like Tektronix’ highly successful USB-based spectrum analyzers, the new TTR500 Series shown show below delivers an unmatched combination of low price and performance – 40 percent lower cost than alternatives capable of matching its 122 dB dynamic range and 6 GHz frequency range.
The disruptive TTR500 Series is about 40% the cost of traditional desktop VNAs with similar performance.
The TTR500 Series offers a full 2-port, 2-path S-parameter VNA for such applications as measuring passive/active components, antennas and matching networks, RF modules, test cables, adapters and more. It features a solid set of specifications including 100 kHz to 6 GHz frequency range, 122 dB dynamic range, less than 0.008 dB trace noise, and -50 to +7 dBm output power. The TTR500 Series comes a compact package weighing 3.5 pounds with about the same footprint as an 8.5 x 11-in. sheet of paper, as shown below.
The TTR500 Series has about the same footprint as a piece of paper.
An important feature of the TTR500 is the built-in bias tee that is accessible on both ports and allows for active devices, such as amplifiers, to be easily DC biased. No longer will users need to contend with an external bias tee or pay a premium for an instrument with an optional internal bias tee. The TTR500’s built-in bias tee allows for 0 to ± 24 V, and 0 to 200 mA on both ports for active devices.
The TTR500 works with any Windows PC or laptop and the VectorVu-PC software delivers a traditional look and feel for controlling and calibrating the instrument. It intuitive offers touch and point and click usability with the ease of PC-based networking for saving and sharing files. For automated test systems in design or manufacturing, VectorVu-PC offers programmatic support for SCPI commands, including command compatibility with common legacy VNAs for easy integration into existing test systems. In addition, the software offers an offline mode for data analysis with an output file format compatible with common EDA simulation tools.
Optimized for touch and mouse control, VectorVu-PC software gets you up and running quickly.
Rounding out the solution, the TTR500 Series is available with a robust set of accessories including a rugged carrying case, rack mount kits, rugged phase-stable cables, attenuators, adapters and calibration kits as shown below.
The TTR500 is supported not only by a 3-year warranty, but a range high-quality affordably priced accessories.
Why rent or buy used?
Given the historically high cost of VNAs, many project teams must often choose between two sub-optimal solutions: rent or buy used.
Going one of these routes may help alleviate immediate budget constraints, but often leads to other indirect costs down the road. Used equipment often is not calibrated and usually has limited or no warranty. Rental equipment may or may not be available when you need it and you may need to re-learn different user interfaces every time.
With its much more affordable pricing, you can own a brand new TTR500 VNA for the price of a used VNA or 3-4 month rental. High-reliability, a 3-year warranty, improved usability, a built-in bias tee and available accessories all but seal the deal.
The TTR500 Series vector network analyzer is available now and pricing starts at $9,000 US MSRP for a 3 GHz instrument and $12,000 for a 6 GHz instrument. To learn more, go to www.tek.com/TTR500 or contact your local Tektronix account manager.