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What is a vector network analyzer

Network analyzers are test instruments used for measuring the response of electrical networks. They are often used to measure the response of two-port networks such as filters and amplifiers, but they can be used on networks with any number of ports.

The two basic types of network analyzers are scalar network analyzers (SNAs) and vector network analyzers (VNAs). SNAs measure only the amplitude (scalar) properties of the device being tested, while VNAs measure the phase characteristics as well. The scalar and phase properties can be represented together as a vector.

A basic network analyzer consists of a signal generator, a test set, receivers and a display. The signal generator provides the test signal to the test set, which splits the signal and routes one part of it through the test device to one receiver and the other part to the other receiver to serve as a phase reference. Once the VNA measures the amplitude and phase of the signal it can display it on the screen.

Red Pitaya Vector Network Analyzer

While Red Pitaya looks little like traditional network analyzers, it is more than capable of serving as one when equipped with the VNA module.

Instead of an integrated screen and buttons, the VNA on Red Pitaya is controlled via PC over LAN or WIFI from a Microsoft Windows interface. The smaller size and the ability to control the device remotely means that Red Pitaya allows you to use a VNA in situations where previously it might not have been possible.

To see the Red Pitaya Vector Network Analyzer in action check out this video.

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