Purpose of a Network Analyzer
Network analyzers are indispensable test devices in the RF/microwave industry. Its measurement capabilities enable you to characterize a wide variety of devices, components, and systems. Many components – passive and active – are typically measured with a network analyzer, including filters, amplifiers, switches, attenuators, and more.
These devices help in monitoring the health of computer networks and the functioning of the network components. Whenever there is a fault in the network, these devices help the technicians to detect it and fix it at the right time.
Network analyzers are often used for production testing in manufacturing. Network analyzers are also used by engineers for research and development purposes. They can be used to measure engineering prototypes so engineers can optimize performance characteristics such as gain compensation and return loss.
What do network analyzers do?
Network analyzers can measure and display amplitude and phase information for a device under test (DUT) over a range of frequencies. A generic representation of a network analyzer graph is shown in FIG. A network analyzer essentially characterizes a DUT in the form of broadcast parameters or S parameters.
Reflective Measures and S Parameters
A network analyzer measures amplitude and phase. The transmission parameter (S-Parameter) is the method used to characterize the device and tells us the ratio of transmitted power between two ports (or how many ports the device has). The S parameters are assigned two digits, the first digit represents the port where power is located, and the second digit represents the port where power is coming from.
In a two-port network, the S11 and S22 represent the reflection that describes the amount of power reflecting from the test port. We can relate reflection to return loss, which is a measure of the amount of signal lost when reflected from the source. S21 and S12 represent the transmission of the signal from one port to another. Transmission is linked to the loss of signal strength caused by the insertion of a device into a transmission line.
Why Take a Reflective Action?
Reflection measurements are performed for two main reasons to ensure efficient energy transfer:
- When energy is reflected, less energy is transferred where it should be, resulting in inefficient use of energy and very expensive RF resources.
- Large amounts of power reflected can damage some components like amplifiers.
Types of RF Network Analyzers
In the wide range of radio frequency network analyzers, there are several types of instruments that can be purchased and used. These types of network analyzers are very different, but they are all capable of measuring the parameters of RF components and equipment, but in different ways:
SNA (Scalar Network Analyzer)
An SNA is a type of radiofrequency network analyzer that measures only the amplitude characteristics of a device and its scalar properties. As a result, it is the simplest of the many types of analyzers.
VNA (Vector Network Analyzer)
A VNA Network Analyzer is a more useful form of RF network analyzer than SNA because it can measure more parameters on the device under test. It not only measures the amplitude response but also examines the phase. Accordingly, the VNA network analyzer can also be referred to as a gain phase counter.
LNA (Large Signal Network Analyzer)
A Large Signal Network Analyzer (LSNA) is a special RF network analyzer capable of examining the properties of devices operating under large-signal conditions. It is able to observe the harmonics and nonlinearities of a network under these conditions and provides a complete analysis of its operation. An earlier version of the Large Signal Network Analyzer was known as the MTA (Micro-Wave Transition Analyzer).
The different types of radiofrequency network analyzers differ in designs and in the ways they take measurements. Scalar Network Analyzer is the cheapest, but not cheap, but it also offers the least information. The VNA network analyzer can provide much more information, but these analyzers are also much more expensive.
Covertel offers networking, testing, and telecommunication services to businesses and organizations in Australia. If you have a business in Australia and looking for network maintenance services, you can consider Covertel for network analyzer measurement and other networking services.
Network scanners are not intended to replace firewalls, antivirus programs, or spyware detection programs. However, they can supplement and support these programs to protect a network. Using a network analyzer in addition to other countermeasures can minimize the likelihood of an attack and facilitate a quick response to an attack. Therefore, in addition to detecting the faults in a network, analyzers also provide support to maintain the security of your network.