Selecting a Signal Generator

Technical Overviews


Keysight Technologies, Inc. offers the widest selection of signal generators from baseband to 67 GHz, with frequency extensions to 1.1 THz. From basic to advanced functionality, each signal generator delivers benchmark performance in its class to address the requirements in design and manufacture of radio transceivers and their components; and applications ranging from low-frequency navigation signals, through cellular mobile radio, to millimeter wave radar, and satellite systems. Each offers synthesized frequency accuracy and stability, excellent calibrated level accuracy, and remote programmability.

Modulation capabilities vary from general-purpose AM, FM and digital I/Q to standard-specific formats such as GSM, W-CDMA, HSPA, LTE, LTE-Advanced, 5G NR, GPS, and WLAN. Keysight provides signal generators in multiple form factors, including benchtop and modular PXI.

This guide provides an overview and side-by-side comparisons to help you determine which signal generator is right for you. It is intended to supplement online selection tools available at

Product Categories

Benchtop and modular PXI signal generators

Benchtop signal generators are well-suited for R&D or design verification, where analysis and troubleshooting benefit from interactive analysis. Benchtop models range from RF to microwave with a broad range of capabilities so you can select which generator best suites your needs.

Modular PXI signal generators are ideal for applications that require multi-channel measurement capabilities, fast measurement speed, and a small footprint. They also offer scalability and flexibility to configure solutions with a shared processor, chassis, and other modular instruments. The PXI vector signal generator can be used with the same software applications as benchtop signal generators, providing measurement consistency and compatibility throughout the product development cycle.

Vector signal generators

Vector signal generators or digital signal generators can upconvert complex modulation formats such as QPSK and 1024QAM. With an I/Q baseband generator, virtually any signal can be emulated and transmitted within the information bandwidth supported by the system.

Analog signal generators

Analog signal generators supply sinusoidal continuous wave (CW) signals with optional capability to add AM, FM, ΦM and pulse modulation. The maximum frequency range for analog signal generators spans from RF to millimeter wave. Most generators feature step/list sweep modes for passive device characterization or calibration.

Agile signal generators

Agile signal generators are optimized for speed to quickly change frequency, amplitude, and phase of the signal. They also have the unique capability to be phase coherent at all frequencies, all of the time. This attribute, along with extensive pulse modulation and wideband chirp capabilities, is ideal for electronic warfare (EW) and radar applications.

Signal creation software

Signal creation software products enable the generation of a wide range of application specific test signals using vector signal generators. They can easily create signals to evaluate the performance of radio designs and the components that comprise them under various parametric and functional test conditions at baseband, RF and microwave frequencies. Keysight’s PathWave Signal Generation software runs on a PC and embedded software runs directly on the signal generator.


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