White Paper: Test & Measurement

Fundamentals of Vector Network Analysis Primer


This white paper is a definitive guide to understanding the technology behind vector network analysis. One of the most common measuring tasks in RF engineering is the analysis of circuits, from simple filters and amplifiers, to complex satellite communication modules. As an extremely versatile test instrument, a vector network analyzer (VNA) is the ideal equipment for quickly and precisely uncovering signal integrity problems such as reflections and crosstalk.

The VNA is used in applications in research and development and also for test purposes in production. When combined with one or more antennas, it becomes a radar system. Systems of this type can be used to detect invisible material defects without resorting to X-ray technology. Because of its complexity, great care must be taken in the measurement setup and calibration procedures.

This primer describes the fundamentals of vector network analysis, as well as practical instructions for improving accuracy, performing calibration, and making typical linear and time-domain measurements.

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