R&S ZNrun software optimizes network analyzer automated test

March 26, 2015

The new R&S ZNrun software from Rohde & Schwarz assists users in configuring measurements specifically for multiport DUTs using Rohde & Schwarz vector network analyzers (VNA). The user selects the VNA and any additional test equipment—for example an R&S ZNB vector network analyzer and an R&S ZN-Z84 switch matrix—and sets the parameters to be measured on the DUT. Based on this information, the R&S ZNrun software takes over communications with the test equipment, makes all of the settings, and executes and controls the test sequence. This procedure simplifies in particular the time-consuming characterization of multiport components.

The software is especially suited to production applications, where speed is vital. The R&S ZNrun software creates a connection plan for connecting a multiport DUT to a matrix in order to keep the number of switching operations and switching levels to a minimum. This leads to a boost in measurement speed, in particular when the R&S ZNB vector network analyzer is used in combination with an R&S ZN-Z84 or R&S ZN-Z85 switch matrix.

R&S ZNrun also supports the user during calibration, which is especially time-consuming and complex in the case of multiport applications. The software shows exactly which test port should be connected to which calibration standard or to which port on a calibration unit. Moreover, each port can be color-coded or assigned a user-specific label to make it easier to identify. It is also possible to repeat individual calibration steps—for example, if a test cable is found to be defective or if an incorrect standard was used during manual calibration.

The software runs on an external PC. A graphical user interface is available for easy configuration of complex test scenarios. In addition to vector network analyzers, switch matrices, and DUTs, the software also allows the integration of external devices such as power supplies into the test setup by using plug-ins. The configured test scenarios are independent of the test equipment used. If a test setup is modified, the user merely selects the new test equipment in the software; there is no need to completely redefine the test.

For daily use in the production line, the R&S ZNrun GUI offers a simplified view. The straightforward pass/fail result display for every test is especially helpful. The software also indicates how many of the DUTs passed the tests and how many failed.


About the Author

Rick Nelson | Contributing Editor

Rick is currently Contributing Technical Editor. He was Executive Editor for EE in 2011-2018. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

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