by Pete Pragastis, VP & GM, M3US Group, Anritsu Company
MPD: As RF/microwave system complexities grow across many industries (from smart cars to smart cities), what are the biggest challenges RF component vendors and system integrators should expect to face in the coming year?
An immediate concern is the whole global supply chain issue, which the T&M industry is not immune to. In the short term we try to leverage our global presence, consolidate requirements and work with our suppliers to minimize impact to our customers.
Expanded use cases and the 5G rollout have changed how RF devices are designed and manufactured. Antennas are now integrated into the devices, requiring over-the-air (OTA) testing to verify designs and performance. Devices must also support multiple technologies, frequency bands and complex signals in smaller form factors.
System integrators must address very different environments than traditional RF applications. IoT use cases such as autonomous vehicles and smart manufacturing have considerable interference issues due to these environments, as well as the numerous technologies used in such use cases.
New test solutions are necessary to meet these challenges. Integrated measurement systems that combine instruments, dedicated software, and accessories such as OTA chambers form the test systems necessary to effectively validate products for 5G and other emerging applications.
MPD: The commercial and defense satellite market is booming. Is your company reaping any revenue from this, or do you expect to?
RF interference represents the single largest impact to robust satellite operation performance. Anritsu is active in the market due to our large portfolio of solutions for satellite operators to mitigate interference problems. These products are designed for long-term spectrum monitoring as well as to address issues generated by equipment upgrades and interference from RF services operating in spectrum adjacent to satellite frequencies.
Our Remote Spectrum Monitor MS27103A can monitor up to 12 satellite signals, with an option to extend the number to 24. When used with our Vision™ software, spectrum can be automatically recorded and examined for the presence of suspicious signals.
Our Spectrum Master Pro MS2090A performs real-time signal analysis of uplink and downlink satellite signals. It is also well-suited for C-band deployments by wireless operators for 5G services using frequencies that are directly adjacent to those used by satellites. The MS2090A can quickly demodulate 5G signals to produce a list of 5G signals in the area so a satellite operator can easily identify interference sources.
MPD: The federal government has been pushing for rural broadband coverage for many years, yet not much has happened. What do you think it will take to actually make this happen?
The need to deliver improved connectivity to rural and remote communities throughout the U.S. was highlighted during the pandemic. We are now seeing collaborations of market leaders to create wireless and wireline solutions. This will be supported by recently approved government infrastructure legislation to help bring Internet connectivity to more Americans.
Anritsu has a long history with communications service providers and has been a pioneer and trusted partner in this space for many years. We expect to play a lead role in this initiative, particularly through our handheld field instruments. This includes the Site Master™ cable and antenna analyzers, Spectrum Master™ handheld spectrum analyzers, and Network Master™ optical test solutions.
MPD: 5G simply won’t meet its promises without millimeterWave deployment, which is obviously incredibly challenging. What are your thoughts on the best ways to realize this?
You are correct, mmW is challenging. The industry will and should first maximize use of the lower FR1 spectrum before having to deal with the FR2 challenges. Anritsu’s focus is to provide the appropriate tools that best position our customers to succeed in mmW. As an example, phase has become an important measurement in verifying 5G designs that combine mmWave frequencies and small packaging. Anritsu VectorStar™ and ShockLine™ vector network analyzers (VNAs) have exceptional phase performance to conduct highly accurate measurements on components used in 5G UE and base stations. This will help ensure optimum performance of 5G wireless networks, especially as FR2 is implemented.