Two-in-one system tests network reliability
Agilent Technologies introduced the FieldFox handheld RF analyzer for wireless network installation and base station maintenance. The handheld is aimed at technicians working on wireless networks and at those developing new wireless networks, often in the aerospace and defense markets, said Henri Komrij, senior research and development manager for the company's component test division.
The 6.2-pound handheld measures cable and antennas that operate in the 2 MHz to 4 GHz frequencies (6 GHz optional). It performs spectrum analysis from 100 kHz to 4 GHz (6 GHz optional) and vector network analysis, as well as offers true, average power measurements, Komrij said.
“It's mainly to help service providers keep their base stations maintained,” Komrij said. “The base stations are the heart and soul of a wireless communication network, so it tests any kind of a network that has cables and antennas and can deteriorate over time.”
Komrij said that the handheld RF analyzer is one of the first RF tools for base station installation and measurement that offers a built-in calibration kit.
“It's always calibrated, or setting up the measurement so users can have a reference point,” he said. “When you climb up a tower, if you have to carry extra equipment or forget a calibration kit, you have to come all the way down. It's now embedded into the handheld.”
In addition, the device can conduct return-loss and distance-to-fault measurements at the same time, so users can check system performance and identify potentially degraded system components simultaneously, Komrij said. It also offers a “fast fault location” with 1001-point resolution and a 96 dB dynamic range in the spectrum analysis mode. The water-resistant chassis meets tough environmental standards (MIL-PRF-28800F), offers four hours of battery life and operates at below-zero temperatures.
“We spent months studying how our customers make their measurements — how they do their job — so we've enhanced several components to meet that, such as how to use the display,” Komrij said. “We have several different displays now — night, indoors, bright sun — and we will continue to work with users to improve next generations.”
The handheld base unit, which includes a cable and antenna analyzer, costs $7600.
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