Signal analysers gain improved phase-noise performance, sweep speed

August 14, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Agilent Technologies recently announced greater core performance in two of its X-Series signal analysers, the midrange MXA and general-purpose EXA.

The respective improvements in phase noise allow you to more precisely characterise the frequency stability of oscillators and synthesisers. The faster sweep speeds of these analysers accelerate searches for spurious signals in the testing of transmitters, active antenna arrays and power amplifiers.

Phase-noise performance is a key factor in obtaining low and accurate error vector magnitude values for communication systems and devices. In the MXA, phase noise has been improved by 10 dB or more for close-in and pedestal offset frequencies, providing a best-in-class advantage of 7 dB over the closest comparable competitor. EXA phase-noise performance is up to 5 dB better across wide offset frequencies.

In manufacturing test, spur searches in wide spans at narrow resolution bandwidths have been slow and are often the cause of bottlenecks. The new "fast sweep" capability of these analysers is up to five times faster than that of competitive models, depending on resolution bandwidth. Faster sweeps improve measurement throughput and make it easier to check the spurious-free dynamic range of devices under test.

"The MXA enhancements are an important complement to our recently introduced options for 160-MHz analysis bandwidth and real-time spectrum analysis," said Jim Curran, marketing manager of Agilent's Microwave Communications Division.

Agilent also announced new capabilities in three of the measurement applications available for X-Series signal analysers. The N9069A noise figure measurement application now includes advanced features that support measurements of multistage converters, multipliers and dividers.

The N9080A (FDD) and N9082A (TDD) LTE measurement applications now support multimedia broadcast single-frequency network (MBSFN) signals with mixed cyclic-prefix subframe structures. This allows engineers to test physical multicast channels and MBSFN reference signals using virtually any subframe-structure configuration.

The Agilent N9083A multi-standard radio measurement application has been enhanced to support noncontiguous test configurations as defined in 3GPP Release 10. This enables one-button measurements of the cumulative adjacent-channel leakage ratio.

Depending on maximum frequency coverage, base pricing ranges from $31,525 to $50,767 for the N9020A