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Year In Review... Agilent Technologies

agilent_l_sm1210 At Agilent Technologies, we provide the measuring instrumentation that ensures satellites operate as intended, once they reach their destination orbit. Clearly, this is a serious task where there is little margin for error. High performance equipment must be available to test state-of-the-art satellite systems. Just as important, the advancing technology must be supported, and the cost of that support must be affordable.

Through Agilent’s expertise in measurement science and test processes, the Company gives you more time for the bigger issues: fulfilling today’s satellite mission and managing the transition to what comes next. Agilent has been a major test equipment supplier to satellite manufacturers for decades and is committed to meet the industry’s measurement needs into the future.

For the past year, strong sales growth for the world-wide satellite market with expanding business from abroad, where Japan and South America are ramping up development capabilities, has been experienced. There was also continued strength for the industry in military communications and surveillance applications.

This year, new modular products in the PXI and AXIe form factors were launched, which expanded our portfolio and enabled new capabilities and choices not previously available. The growing range of modular products is an extension of Agilent’s measurement expertise geared to meet the challenges of current and future satellite test requirements. For example, the industry’s first single-vendor PXI microwave vector signal analyzer (VSA) — Agilent M9392A — provides detailed analysis of communications signals up to 26.5 GHz and industry-leading instantaneous bandwidth of 250 MHz. The Agilent M9392A is enhanced by Agilent’s powerful and widely used 89600 Vector Signal Analysis (VSA) software for use in next-generation communication systems and other wide bandwidth applications.

Looking forward to 2011, Agilent notes movement of the satellite industry into the Ka-band. The Company is well positioned to provide viable solutions, including the PSA and PXA Signal Analyzer product lines. These offer the low noise and wide bandwidth capabilities needed for demanding microwave measurements. For signal stimulus and custom waveform generation, Agilent continues to manufacture the only integrated vector signal generator with a frequency range to 44 GHz with the PSG signal generator. Additionally, the PSG is able to modulate signals with an instantaneous bandwidth of up to 2 GHz. To provide these wide bandwidth baseband signals, Agilent has new arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs) available with features that make waveform engineering easy.

RF payload test systems are offered through the integration group in association with channel partners. Systems are presently specified for testing up to 40GHz with bandwidth of at least 1 GHz. Systems include flexible switching for medium to high-channel count testing and simple calibration procedures to ensure results and optimize test time.

The coming year will also see the continuing quest for improved efficiency of transponder power amplifiers. With the ability to characterize the non-linear performance of these amplifiers with the PNA-X based Non-Linear Vector Network Analyzer through the use of X-parameters, engineers can accurately model their amplifiers under operational conditions. This enables them to achieve their desired design goals and optimize design tradeoffs. X-parameters are revolutionizing the characterization, design, and modeling of nonlinear components and systems.

The expanding use of Orthogonal Frequency Domain Modulation (OFDM) on space-based communication platforms is also noted. This modulation scheme has demonstrated the promise of higher data rates, less susceptibility to interference, as well as lower power consumption. To adapt and optimize this technology for satellite applications, there will be development of non-standardized OFDM waveforms unlike the terrestrial counterparts. The development of these waveforms is facilitated by Agilent’s SystemVue modeling product with the capability for modeling and generating proprietary OFDM configurations.

agilent_sm1210_bio To receive and demodulate these signals, the Company’s VSA software enables flexible demodulation and analysis of the transmitted signals.

Agilent is optimistic about satellite test in 2011. Agilent will continue to provide test tools and resources with the latest technical insights and best practices to help customers focus on what matters most; the assurance that satellites and subsystems will work the first time, every time for the duration of the mission. For the latest in Satellite test recourses from Agilent, visit: