Analyzers – Network

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Agilent Network Analyzer – Anritsu Network Analyzer


A network analyzer is an instrument that measures the network parameters of electrical networks. Today, network analyzers commonly measure s–parameters because reflection and transmission of electrical networks are easy to measure at high frequencies, but there are other network parameter sets such as y-parameters, z-parameters, and h-parameters. Network analyzers are often used to characterize two-port networks such as amplifiers and filters, but they can be used on networks with an arbitrary number of ports.

Network analyzers are used mostly at high frequencies; operating frequencies can range from 5 Hz to 1.05 THz.Special types of network analyzers can also cover lower frequency ranges down to 1 Hz. These network analyzers can be used for example for the stability analysis of open loops or for the measurement of audio andultrasonic components.

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The two main types of network analyzers are

  • scalar network analyzer (SNA) — measures amplitude properties only
  • vector network analyzer (VNA) — measures both amplitude and phase properties

A VNA may also be called a gain-phase meter or an automatic network analyzer. An SNA is functionally identical to a spectrum analyzer in combination with a tracking generator. As of 2007, VNAs are the most common type of network analyzers, and so references to an unqualified “network analyzer” most often mean a VNA. Three prominent VNA manufacturers are Agilent, Anritsu, and Rohde & Schwarz.

Another category of network analyzer is the microwave transition analyzer (MTA) or large signal network analyzer (LSNA), which measure both amplitude and phase of the fundamental and harmonics. The MTA was commercialized before the LSNA, but was lacking some of the user-friendly calibration features now available with the LSNA.


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