Complete RF Test Solution with Network Analyzer Software

Modern device characterization requires more than just S-parameters. Network analyzer software takes the difficulty out of advanced measurements by guiding you through the setup and automatically analyzing the results.

Keysight's network analyzer software applications bring you faster insights and turn your network analyzer into a complete RF test solution.

  • Amplifier, filter, mixer, material, high-speed serial interconnect analysis capabilities and more
  • Time domain, gain compression, pulse, noise figure, permittivity, permeability, TDR/TDT, etc

For more information about Keysight Network Analyzers, please visit Network Analyzer.

Get Multiple Measurements with a Single Connection 

Capture the EVM, ACPR, and NPR for nonlinear DUT behavior under modulated single conditions.

Check out the modulation distortion analysis software in our interactive product tour!

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Compare Noise Figure Measurement Performance Between the ENA-X and PNA-X Network Analyzers

The receiver quality and reliability of RF and microwave sub-systems such as satellite transponders or radar transmit/receive modules depends more on an LNA's noise figure than any other component's. Testing receivers operating in the FR1 and FR2 frequency bands requires accuracy and repeatability to ensure conformance with the latest standards. Learn how the ENA-X and PNA-X network analyzers simplify LNA characterization and how their noise figure measurement performance compares in this application note.

Compliance Test Software Automation

High-speed digital interconnects require validation to ensure interoperability and comply with the latest compliance test specification (CTS) by each standard. Keysight's test automation software works with a VNA and L8990M switch matrices system to speed up validation and debugging processes.

S94USBCB USB Type-C Interconnects Compliance Test Software

S94DPPCB DisplayPort DP Cable Compliance Test Software

PLTS for advanced signal integrity and PAM4 analysis

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Simplify Your Power Amplifier Linearity Characterization

A power amplifier’s linearity determines a transmitter's signal quality and battery life. Traditionally, RF engineers use two instruments, a network and spectrum analyzer, to fully characterize a power amplifier. Read this application note to learn how to conduct high-power network analysis and low residual EVM measurements on a single setup using a VNA.

Software Enterprise Agreement

Deploy a Keysight Software Enterprise Agreement to capture continuous value for your organization. Enterprise Agreements deliver flexible, cost-effective access to Keysight’s broad software portfolio through a re-mixable license pool.

Explore Time Domain Analysis on a Network Analyzer

Time-domain analysis measures impedance values along a transmission line and evaluates device discontinuity in time or distance. Time-domain display provides a more intuitive and direct look at the device under test (DUT) characteristics. In addition, it gives more meaningful information concerning the broadband response of a transmission system than other measuring techniques by showing the effect of each discontinuity as a function of time or distance. Read this application note to learn how to create a time-domain display from frequency domain data (S-parameters) and how to apply the time-domain display to common problems in RF systems.

Network Analyzer Software FAQs

Engineers use vector network analyzer (VNA) software in conjunction with VNA hardware to measure and analyze the electrical performance of materials, components, devices, and systems. VNA software allows the test engineer to set test parameters and perform measurements via a graphical user interface (GUI).

Network analyzer software offers various features, including data visualization, analysis, and manipulation, that enable RF engineers to characterize the behavior of components like amplifiers, filters, mixers, materials, and high-speed serial interconnects effectively.

Our network analyzer software simplifies advanced measurements by guiding you through the setup and automatically analyzing the results. Popular VNA software includes:

  • Noise Figure Measurements with Vector Correction network analyzer software which enables high-accuracy measurements of amplifier noise figure and noise power utilizing Keysight’s unique vector-source-correction technique.
  • Time Domain Analysis network analyzer software, which allows RF developers to transform frequency domain data to time domain, or time domain data to the frequency domain.
  • Vector and Scalar Mixer/Converter Measurements network analyzer software, which delivers fully calibrated conversion gain/loss, relative phase, and absolute group delay measurements of mixers and converters without the need for reference or calibration mixers.
  • Automatic Fixture Removal network analyzer software, which allows engineers to characterize fixture effects and remove them from their non-coaxial device measurements.
  • Materials Measurement Suite network analyzer software, which lets RF engineers determine the intrinsic electromagnetic properties of many dielectric and magnetic materials using a network analyzer, impedance analyzer, or LCR meter to measure the material’s response to RF or microwave energy.

Network analysis requires specialized hardware, but the accompanying software actually controls the measurements and analysis. We offer a range of software packages for controlling our vector network analyzers. These packages include features for calibration, measurement automation, data analysis, and reporting. Using this equipment, engineers conduct many different measurements, including:

  • Scattering parameters (S-parameters), which describe how well device under test (DUT) transmits an RF signal at a given frequency. S-parameters relate to familiar measurements such as gain, loss, and reflection coefficient.
  • Impedance measurements, including both real (resistance) and imaginary (reactance) components over various frequencies.
  • Smith Chart analysis that visualizes complex impedance measurement data graphically. 
  • Group delay measurements quantify the time delay experienced by a signal as it passes through the device or component.

For the complete list of network analyzer software, view our catalog.

While VNAs and spectrum analyzers overlap in certain measurement capabilities, engineers typically use each instrument for different test applications. Traditionally, VNAs specialized in 2-port component characterization and only offered limited spectrum analyzer capabilities. So, engineers typically use a dedicated spectrum analyzer for spectrum analysis, signal monitoring, and interference detection rather than a network analyzer.

However, advanced modern network analyzers often serve as an RF measurement multi-tool, offering more spectrum analysis integrations. Leveraging the built-in receivers, engineers can use a relatively modest 30 - 40 MHz intermediate frequency (IF) bandwidth to look at signal quality metrics like error vector magnitude (EVM), adjacent channel power ratio (ACPR), and spectrum emission mask (SEM).  Network analyzer software like 89600 VSA allows engineers to flexibly connect to VNA receivers, signal analyzers, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and digitizers. This unlocks the full suite of measurements across instruments and industries, ranging from 5G New Radio (NR) cellular technologies to pulse analysis for aerospace defense.

To learn more, check out this article: Network Analyzer vs. Spectrum Analyzer: What’s the Difference in Use & Specifications

There are three categories of network analyzers:

  • Vector network analyzers (VNA)
  • Scalar network analyzers (SNA)
  • Large-signal / nonlinear network analyzers (NVNA)

VNAs, the most common network analyzer on the market today, offer several benefits to test engineers, including simultaneously measuring all four S-parameters and supporting a wide range of frequencies.

A scalar network analyzer only measures the amplitude properties of the circuit, so no phase information gets captured.

Nonlinear network analyzers are less common than VNAs and SNAs, but they offer the advantage of measuring nonlinear circuits. While NVNAs are extremely accurate, they also pose significant operation complexity, often requiring specialized training to use.

Network analyzers come in handheld, benchtop, and modular form factors, including 2-port, 4-port, and 8-port options. Keysight offers five different types of vector network analyzer families ranging from high-end to compact: 

  • Our high-end PNA family provides unrivaled excellence in measurement integrity and repeatability. PNA-X maximizes measurement flexibility, replacing an entire rack of equipment.
  • Our midrange and economy ENA family reduces test cost while providing ​reliable measurements, an intuitive UI, and upgradable instruments. ENAs balance speed, performance, and budget. 
  • The handheld analyzer ​delivers benchtop precision in a rugged, highly integrated handheld unit. ​ 
  • Modular PXI VNAs drive down the lab space needed for multi-port testing. Customize the network analyzer's capabilities to only what you need and get fast, accurate multiport measurements.​ 
  • The Streamline USB VNA enables a compact​ form factor with zero compromises. Streamline USB VNAs offer all the performance of a benchtop instrument, but at a fraction of the size.

Selection criteria for a VNA varies based on the application or use case of interest. Typical selection criteria include frequency range, number of required ports from 2 up to 24 (multiport) or even 48 in a switch matrix, output power, and instrument class from economy to handheld to high-end.

Once you understand the combination of specifications and functions you need, start evaluating different models to see which fits your current and future needs best.

We recommend you consider these seven main network analyzer aspects before purchasing:

  • Frequency Range
  • Dynamic Range
  • Measurement speed
  • Trace noise
  • Number of test ports
  • Size
  • Input power

Beyond the box, evaluate the software capabilities offered, including an intuitive user interface and test automation features. Make sure to review compatibility with third-party software and programming languages as well.

Additionally, identify the types of measurements you need to perform, the complexity of your measurement setups, and the calibration methods you intend to use. Also, consider the availability of technical support, warranty, and maintenance options from the VNA manufacturer or distributor.

For more information, check out: Key Vector Network Analyzer Specifications 

Network analyzers include both signal sources and receivers. The receivers detect changes to the output signal from a device (or network) and compare that to the source signals input into that device. To assess the device’s effect on the current and voltage, a VNA measures both the amplitude and phase responses caused by the device.  The resulting transmission and reflection measurements, impedance, and S-parameters enable test engineers to characterize their DUT.

A vector network analyzer measures a variety of devices and networks with numerous measurements for many different use cases like spectrum analysis, pulse measurements, power amplifier (PA) characterization, and active device tests. The following guide describes how to set up network analyzer measurements, calibrate your measurement setup, and interpret results: Making Measurements with a Vector Network Analyzer.

Vector network analyzers (VNAs) are test instruments that measure electrical network parameters. They are essential for radio frequency (RF) and microwave component analysis of various passive and active devices including filters, antennas, and power amplifiers.

Network analyzers are the go-to instrument to conduct transmission, reflection, and impedance measurements, as well as s-parameter measurements during both the design and production processes.

For more information, check out: What is a Network Analyzer

Engineers often use the terms, "vector network analyzer", or “VNA”, and "network analyzer" interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two.

The term "network analyzer" refers to a broader category of test instruments that includes scalar network analyzers, vector network analyzers, and nonlinear vector network analyzers.

So, while all VNAs are network analyzers, not all network analyzers are VNAs. The key difference lies in the level of detail and sophistication of the measurements they provide. NVNAs offer the most comprehensive nonlinear device accuracy, VNAs offer high-performance measurement coverage for both passive and active components, and scalar network analyzers simply offer basic network analysis without considering phase.

Design, development, and manufacturing engineers use vector network analyzers to evaluate the electrical network parameters of a device. The most common parameters measured are frequency, amplitude, and phase response. To evaluate these parameters, RF engineers perform tests including transmission, reflection, impedance measurements, and S-parameter measurements.

Components suitable for measurement by a vector network analyzer include various passive and active devices, including filters, antennas, and power amplifiers.

Engineers also use scalar network analyzers to measure electrical network parameters; however, SNAs only capture the amplitude properties of the circuit. This means that engineers using an SNA only assess the signal magnitude instead of both signal magnitude and phase.

Components suitable for measurement by a scalar network analyzer include passive networks, such as resistors, inductors, and capacitors, or frequency converter components with an embedded local oscillator (LO), such as a CATV tuner, low noise block of satellite communications, or similar components.

Key facts to remember about SNAs:

  • An SNA enables engineers to perform simple electrical network measurements such as gain, loss, return loss, and insertion loss.
  • An SNA offers limited ability to characterize complex devices and components that exhibit phase shifts and frequency-dependent behavior.
  • An SNA often operates off of simpler, less expensive architecture than a VNA.

Key facts to remember about VNAs:

  • A VNA offers advanced capabilities such as time-domain analysis, distortion and linearity tests, noise figure measurements, and mixer measurements.
  • A VNA often operates off of more expensive and complex architecture than an SNA to provide greater versatility and accuracy for RF and microwave measurements.

VNAs deliver highly accurate, precise advanced measurements of complex RF signals, such as time-domain analysis, noise figure measurements, and mixer measurements. High-performance requires precise calibration techniques, high-quality components, and sophisticated signal processing algorithms.

Additionally, VNAs cover a wide frequency range, even to millimeter-wave or sub-terahertz bands. Designing circuits and components that operate at these frequencies requires specialized materials and manufacturing processes, contributing to higher costs.

So, the complex design, specialized precision components, and technologies needed for modern vector network analysis contribute to the instrument’s price.

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