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What is a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) and How Does it Work?

Vector Network Analyzers (VNA) are wont to test component specifications and verify design simulations to form sure systems and their components work properly together.

Today, the term “network analyzer”, is employed to explain tools for a spread of “networks”. as an example, most of the people today have cellular or mobile that runs on a 3G or 4G network. additionally, most of our homes, offices, and commercial venues all have Wi-Fi or wireless LANnetworks”. Furthermore, many computers and servers are setups in “networks” that are all linked together to the cloud. for every of those “networks”, there exists a particular network analyzer tool wont to verify performance, map coverage zones, and identify problem areas.

From mobile networks to Wi-Fi networks, to computer networks and therefore the to the cloud, all of the foremost common technological networks of today were made possible using the VNA (Vector Network Analyser).

R&D engineers and manufacturing test engineers commonly use VNAs at various stages of development. Component designers got to verify the performance of their components like amplifiers, filters, antennas, cables, mixers, etc.

What is VNA (Vector Network Analyser) and Their working Principals

The system designer must verify their component specs to make sure that the system performance they’re relying on meets their subsystem and system specifications.
Manufacturing lines use Vector Network Analyzers to form sure that each one product meets specifications before they’re shipped out to be used by their customers. In some cases, Vector Network Analyzers are even utilized in field operations to verify and troubleshoot deployed RF and microwave systems.

What is a Vector Network Analyzer used for?

VNA (Vector Network Analyser) performs two sorts of measurements – transmission and reflection. the foremost common transmission S-parameter measurements are S21 and S12 (Sxy for greater than 2-ports). Swept power measurements are a sort of transmission measurement. other samples of transmission measurements include gain, insertion loss/ phase, electrical length/delay, and group delay. Comparatively, reflection measurements measure a part of the VNA stimulus signal that’s incident upon the DUT but doesn’t undergo it. Instead, the reflection measurement measures the signal that travels back towards the source thanks to reflections. the foremost common reflection S-parameter measurements are S11 and S22 (Sxx for greater than 2-ports).


How does a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) work?

A Vector Network Analyzer contains both a source, wont to generate a known stimulus signal, and a group of receivers, wont to determine changes to the present stimulus caused by the device-under-test or DUT.

The measured results are then processed by either an indoor or external PC and sent to a display.

The VNA measurement frequency bandwidth and therefore the number of frequency points across the chosen frequency range are input options for a given VNA measurement. The VNA (Vector Network Analyser) measures the high-speed signal vector response to a component or a network, one frequency at a time, by applying endless waves at that frequency.

The magnitude of the continual wave also can be adjusted. To characterize the measurement fixtures and generate an accurate filter for the scope to catch up on the measurement fixture losses. And to attenuate the timing margin error, a minimum of all frequencies up to the second harmonic of the elemental frequency of the high-speed digital/analog signal under test need to be covered within the VNA (Vector Network Analyser)measurement bandwidth. to scale back the voltage margin error, all frequencies up to the fourth harmonic must be taken under consideration [5]. This translates to a minimum measurement bandwidth of 16 GHz for the PCIe Gen3 signal.

What is VNA (Vector Network Analyser) and Their working Principals


It involves RF sources, directional couplers (DC), dual-conversion frequency converters, reflectometers/power detectors, A/D converters, and an indoor computer. the continual wave signal used for testing is generated by the continual wave source. The signal is swept over the required measurement bandwidth in steps from one frequency to subsequent in small intervals defined by the user. the remainder of the signal passes through a directional coupler (DC1) to the device/network under test (DUT).

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This directional coupler shouldn’t couple any of the incident power into its corresponding IF unit port. it’s wont to measure the reflected power from the DUT. The IF processing unit converts the incident and reflected signals to the IF frequency defined by the user, and therefore the converted signals are subsequently detected by the reflectometers and converted to a digital signal. The ratio of the transmitted power to the incident power is that the gain or loss of the DUT also referred to as the insertion loss. Other imported network parameters, like phase, stationary wave ratio, group delay, and impedance, are often calculated by a VNA (Vector Network Analyser).


A vector network analyzer is an instrument that measures the frequency response of a component or a network composed of the many components, which may be both passive and active. A VNA measures the facility of a high-speed signal that is going into and returning from a component in contrast to voltage and current, is often measured accurately at high frequencies.

The built-in computer within the VNA (Vector Network Analyser) calculates key parameters like return loss and insertion loss of the network under test. it’s also capable of visualizing the leads to different formats—for example, real/imaginary, magnitude/phase, Smith chart, etc. In high-speed system tests, VNA is usually wont to characterize multi-port networks consisting of components like connectors, filters, amplifiers, and transmission line/coaxial channels. VNA is often used for networks with an arbitrary number of ports—for example, the four-port differential pairs of a PCIe serial link.