One of 5G's many aspects is that it will use millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies, where more bandwidth is available than in the current frequencies below 6 GHz. Where possible, test equipment is adapting to those new high frequencies starting around 24 GHz. To that end, ThinkRF and VIAVI Solutions have combined two products into one.
VIAVI's CellAdvisor line of base station analyzers combines a spectrum analyzer, antenna analyzer, and RF power meter into a single unit. Until now, you couldn't use them at frequencies above 8 GHz.
ThinkRF manufactures an RF downconverter, model D2030, that has a maximum frequency of 30 GHz. That's enough to cover the 24-GHz to 28-GHz frequency band proposed for the U.S. and other countries. The D2030 produces an intermediate frequency output of 3.55 GHz, well within the range of the CellAdvisor. The D2030 can strap to the back of the CellAdvisor. According to ThinkRF COO Tim Hember, strapping on the D2030 increases the overall weight by about 20%. The D2030 weighs 1 kg (2.2 lbs.), while the CellAdvisor weighs 4.2 kg (9.7 lbs.).
Hember also noted that connecting the two units is seamless to the user. "The D2030 is integrated within the CellAdvisor's software," he said. "The CellAdvisor controls the D2030 via SCPI (Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments) over Ethernet and translates the RF signal accordingly. A PC is not required."
VIAVI Solutions was spun off from JDSU's Communications and Commercial Optical Product business segment on August 1, 2015. It's the result of a long series of acquisitions over the years. To find out which test-equipment companies JDSU has acquired (and one that it didn't acquire), see page 3 of Friday Quiz: Forgotten T&M Companies.
—Martin Rowe covers test and measurement for EE Times and EDN. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org