Category Archives: Test Equipment

Designing and testing sensor and device networks for wireless IoT deployments requires expertise in multiple areas, including knowledge of wireless interfaces, sensor network design, and wireless test protocols and equipment. Do you have the know-how?

Download our helpful how-to guide to learn the nine key questions to answer before you begin exploring the design of an RFID-powered IoT network. Our Q&A provides insights into these critical areas of consideration:

  • What are the primary test considerations for IoT networks? You will need to be familiar and comfortable with integrating analog RFID capability into designs that are primarily digital.
  • Which is the best RF strategy, build-your-own ICs or buy prebuilt modules? This depends on your end goals. Roll-your-own ICs allow for greater customization, while pre-certified modules might get your product to market faster.
  • How can you keep testing costs down? PC-based or multi-function test systems can save money, as can pre-owned equipment.

To learn more about RFID and IoT networks, download our convenient how-to guide Designing and Testing a Wireless IoT Network? Get Quick Answers to Nine Key Questions for no-nonsense advice and strategies to help you succeed with your wireless IoT network.

Let ConRes support your acquisition strategy for test and measurement equipment – making it easy to meet your requirements today and in the future. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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Engineers face a daunting task when they take on the challenge of testing and troubleshooting RF and microwave communication systems. Applications that embed RF and microwave capabilities are complex networks that combine high-frequency digital and analog circuits with cables, antennas, receivers and wireless connections. New and increasingly sophisticated signals and standards only add to the difficulties.

Fortunately, a new generation of test equipment is evolving to help address these challenges.

Download our new infographic to learn more about the tools and instruments that can help reduce the complexities of testing and troubleshooting applications that embed RF and microwave technologies.

You’ll learn:

  • How vector signal generators create test signals to analyze, measure and debug complex RF and microwave systems in the lab or the field.
  • How vector signal analyzers test and verify the performance of antennas, receivers, and cables in a wireless transmission system.
  • How vector network analyzers assess a signal’s behavior and measure the performance of components and circuits in complex wireless systems.

Download our infographic From Cables to Waveforms: Testing and Troubleshooting RF and Microwave Communication Systems [hyperlink] to learn about the latest innovations in wireless test and measurement equipment.

Let ConRes support your acquisition strategy for test and measurement equipment. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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Test and measurement professionals in industries such as aerospace, defense, wireless connectivity and education face plenty of challenges. Getting smart, trusted customer service from their T&M equipment supplier shouldn’t be one of them.

Yet, how many of you have experienced these T&M customer-service disappointments?

  • Sales reps on autopilot, anxious to make a sale without actually listening to and addressing the measurement problems you’re trying to solve?
  • Reps that can’t or don’t offer useful product guidance when your current equipment isn’t accurate enough to measure for new frequencies or tighter specs?
  • Manufacturers that can’t offer price or equipment flexibility when you have a firm (and limited) spending cap?

We offer a different kind of experience. We pride ourselves on identifying and addressing the specific needs of its customers with creative problem solving, flexible pricing options and the deep expertise to understand and deal with complex test and measurement issues.

As T&M requirements continue to evolve, with new frequencies, higher bandwidths, and tighter specs, new designs demand more accurate equipment. And while the need for new equipment increases, budgets often don’t. Busy designers and QA teams can’t always keep up with the latest T&M developments. And that’s where equipment suppliers like ConRes can offer a valuable service.

We’ve pulled together a trio of case studies that describe how we go above and beyond to help customers like you get exactly the T&M equipment you need, when you need it, and at a price that fits your budget. You’ll learn how we help resolve delays and use our long-standing relationships with manufacturers to cut through the red tape and expedite deliveries for our customers.

Let ConRes support your acquisition strategy for test and measurement equipment. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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Before you choose you next oscilloscope, you’d better have some answers.

The scope is probably the most useful and versatile tool on the engineer’s bench. So when you buy or rent a new one, make sure you’re getting a scope that can meet most or all of your test and measurement needs. In our convenient how-to guide, Seven Questions 
to Answer Before You Choose an Oscilloscope, you’ll find the seven key questions that you need to consider before choosing your next best test-bench friend. For example:

What is the highest signal frequency you are likely to measure? If you think a 200MHz scope is enough instrument for a 200MHz signal, think again. Your scope’s bandwidth needs to be at least five times higher than the signal frequencies you need to measure.

Are you likely to be looking for glitches or intermittent events? In this case, your sample rate may be just as important as bandwidth. And then consider memory record length, to capture all the events of interest.

View the other five key questions in our PDF how-to guide. It provides tips for how to answer each question, and what the answers mean when you decide on your next scope. Download it today and keep it handy!

Let ConRes help you get the right oscilloscope for your needs, today and in the future. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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Significant advances in electronics development and wireless design are on the horizon. To develop and test complex and highly integrated technologies based on these advances, your organization will require a more powerful and sophisticated T&M processes.

Are you prepared to capture a 6GHz signal?

Download our new infographic to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies that will soon impact your test and measurement needs. Your classrooms, R&D labs, and manufacturing and QA operations will need to be prepared – take a look at our infographic for a glimpse into the T&M future.

Key Trends: Higher frequencies and wider bandwidth are on the way, as are devices that require greater interoperability while sharing limited RF spectrum. Meanwhile, the Internet is increasingly embedded into everything, from cars to toasters to light bulbs. How will you develop and test these new and more complex devices?

Products of the future: New technologies will power new products and systems, including autonomous vehicles, drones and aerial surveillance devices, the Internet of Things, and connected manufacturing processes. These will depend on a new generation of smarter, more tightly integrated, and more technologically capable systems. How will you address the T&M requirements for these new technologies and markets?

Gaze into the crystal ball with our infographic and learn how you can be ready for upcoming T&M advances.

Let ConRes help you make the right strategic decisions for acquiring test and measurement equipment. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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Ensuring you have the right test and measurement equipment at just the moment you need it makes great business sense. But in real life, just-in-time test equipment inventory can be quite a challenge to plan for and pull off.

On the one hand, fast-moving test and research projects and agile development practices can make it difficult to see into the future and forecast what your electronic test equipment needs may be. And tying up capital in expensive equipment that isn’t used frequently isn’t a good use of inventory dollars—unless you deal with a test equipment supplier that’s willing and able to move quickly. The long lead times that many instrument manufacturers require to fill orders can make it hard to implement more efficient T&M inventory management strategies.

We’ve pulled together a trio of case studies that describe how engineers overcome significant obstacles to get the electronic test equipment they need, when they need it.  Wondering how to resolve delays and use long-standing relationships with manufacturers to cut through the red tape and expedite deliveries for your organization? Download our flipbook of case studies, How Engineers Get Electronic Test & Measurement Equipment When They Need It, for real-life examples of how companies and educational institutions manage their T&M inventory more strategically.

In addition to fast and responsive customer service, organizations also have the choice of new, used, rental, and rent-to-own options for test equipment acquisition. These programs provide an alternative way to procure necessary test and measurement gear without tying up budget dollars in a capital purchase, and obtaining exactly the gear you need, when you need it, for as long as you need it.

Make the best strategic decisions for acquiring electronic test equipment; give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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Today’s electronics are more complex than ever before, many with radio, wireless and cellular technologies integrated into ever smaller, more mobile form factors. Accurately designing, developing, and testing these systems often requires new and more technically sophisticated test and measurement equipment.

But top-tier equipment often comes with top-tier pricing. If you have a tight budget for acquisition of T&M equipment, this may mean that your design and QA teams are forced to purchase fewer instruments or settle for less capable gear to stay within spending guidelines.

This isn’t a sustainable long-term strategy, particularly for educational institutions (graduate programs) and organizations in the wireless connectivity, aerospace and defense sectors where responding to rapidly evolving technology changes – and new business opportunities – is essential.

Organizations faced with these choices need to develop a T&M strategy that enables their teams to access the latest technologies while minimizing impact to their equipment budget. And they need to work with a trusted T&M equipment provider with the expertise, inventory, and customer commitment to ensure that its customers have the right instruments at the right time – and at the right price.

Here at ConRes, we’ve put together some short case studies that illustrate how we have helped our customers source exactly the T&M equipment they need to stay up-to-date with complex new technologies – yet keep within budget. Download our report Test & Measurement Equipment: Building Acquisition Strategies to Optimize Your T&M Budget to learn how ConRes provides our customers affordable options for the equipment they need.

For over 50 years, ConRes has been a trusted source for acquisition of new, leased or rented, or pre-owned test and measurement equipment. We’re experts at working with you to develop the right strategy to maintain up-to-date T&M technologies while respecting tight capital or operating budgets.

Let ConRes help you make the right strategic decisions for acquiring test and measurement equipment. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to contact one of our experts.

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For many engineers, researchers and quality assurance analysts, having access to up-to-date and appropriate electronic test and measurement equipment is key to successfully developing top-performing products. Yet how organizations acquire their critical test and measurement equipment is no longer as simple as going scope shopping.

Today, instrument acquisition needs to be part of your organization’s broader business, budgetary, and technology development strategy. Whether you choose to purchase, rent or lease test equipment depends on multiple divergent factors, and your optimal solution may even be a hybrid of these approaches. What’s most important is putting an acquisition strategy in place that takes these factors into account – and then working with a partner that offers the flexibility and device selection to make your strategy a reality.

For more insights into instrument acquisition strategies, download our buyer’s guides for wireless connectivity, aerospace and defense, and education that explains the advantages of differing approaches, including:

  • Still the most popular option, buying is a good choice for companies with ample cash, and for acquiring key instruments that are in regular, long-term use. Purchase of pre-owned equipment is also an option.
  • Short-term equipment rental is a wise choice when specific devices are needed for a project of defined length or for instruments used in fast-moving, agile workflows where projects change direction and focus quickly. Test equipment rental companies also provide try-before-you-buy opportunities to test-drive equipment pre-purchase.
  • Longer-term equipment lease programs are smart choices for companies that don’t want to tie up money in expensive equipment inventories. In addition, lease payments are currently considered OPEX (as opposed to CAPEX incurring multi-year depreciation).

Every organization is different, and the optimal solution for acquiring electronic test and measurement equipment at your operation may be a unique mix of approaches. Let our buyer’s guide help set your strategy, whether you choose to rent, lease, or purchase new or pre-owned equipment, or pursue a hybrid of these options.

ConRes has the expertise to help you make the right strategic decisions for acquiring test and measurement equipment. Give us a call at 800-937-4688 or email to talk to one of our experts.

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Two new developments in cellular technology could potentially transform the way cellular operators work with spectrum – with the emergence of LAA, Licensed-Assisted Access and LWA – WiFi Aggregation – raising questions about potential difficulties between licensed and unlicensed spectrums. This article takes a closer look at the two new terms – and just why they may be of such significance to the industry.

Defining LAA and LWA

LAA and LWA are both terms for similar technologies – essentially, Licensed-Assisted Access. This can be seen as an evolution of a prior technology known as LTE-U, Long Term Evolution in the Unlicensed spectrum. The main principle behind their use is that they enable unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrums, as well as others, to be used for cellular data to be transferred.

Using the unlicensed spectrum could enable operators to capitalize on growing the extent of cellular service, by opening a large portion of bandwidth for use across a number of channels. These may allow high-speed data offloading, by using carrier grade Wi-Fi, as well as helping to refine future cellular standards.

Benefits and risks associated

Despite the potential benefit offered by the technology, one of the main concerns they pose – and why they raise important questions for the industry to consider – is of potential interference with existing connections. LAA could have the scope to interfere with Wi-Fi points and hot spots, leading to a serious impact for a vast majority of cellular operators and their customers.

The risk of interference also raises another important issue – the impact of LTE deployment in an unlicensed spectrum, without regulation. As well as creating greater congestion of Wi-Fi channels, the lack of guidelines around them could lead to conflict between different carriers.

As the amount of spectrum available becomes increasingly limited, the options available to develop and improve data speed, or enhance user capacity for data intensive use such as video streaming, have also greatly reduced. Although 2016 will see an FCC spectrum auction, this will come at a high financial cost, for a relatively small amount of spectrum.

Unlicensed spectrums do carry the tempting possibility of boosting cellular service and improving growth, but there remains a fine line between that and the risk of major interference.

While some initial tests, such as those conducted by Qualcomm, have claimed that the use of unlicensed spectrum has not led to any adverse issues, there is a still extensive research that needs to be carried out.

Some industry experts who are raising concerns with the move to the unlicensed spectrum suggest that LAA, or its predecessor, LTE-U, is not designed to share the Wi-Fi spectrum, and hence could only lead to greater congestion. It also poses questions about other potential risks that could emerge from cellular operators being enabled to subvert spectrum intended for established, pre-existing Wi-Fi.

This will only be explored through more developed testing – as further investigations into LAA are carried out later this year, they may provide more of a clearer view into this industrial debate.

But regardless of what these debates may reveal, some providers have already decided to press ahead and implement LAA anyway, in order to see what may happen.

Do you think cellular operators are facing potential risks from the emergence of LAA? Share with us what you think.

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The development of next generation wireless technology, going beyond the limits of 4G, are already on the horizon as 5G systems begin to be mapped out in greater detail. This change in mobile technology holds the power to potentially transform the industry entirely – and lead to a major shake up of our relationship with it.

However, while 5G systems remain undefined and without clear standards in place, there are questions about what can be expected from them, and how they will affect testing overall.

This blog takes a closer look at the potential issues that will need to considered by the industry when considering 5G development, and considers some developments that are already in motion.

Defining 5G

The term “5G” itself is deceptive – unlike 3G or 4G, there are no current standards to define it in place. However the concept that governs the proposed technologies around it are beginning to coalesce, and actual technological products could begin to be rolled out within the next six years.

As the next generation of wireless technology, it is intended to transform the wireless industry by significantly improving data speeds and coverage than what is offered at present by 4G. With higher frequency signals, 5G could offer speeds reaching 1 Gb/s. It is also expected to be more energy efficient than current systems, though what this could translate to in actual terms is still unclear.

Emerging developments

Though 5G systems are still undefined, the research into developing instruments that will be capable of working with this system has brought out a number of valuable developments.

One of the most valuable is the 5G Baseband Exploration Library from Keysight Technologies, which includes development into single processing methods that will enable the implementation of antenna beamforming and multiple-input and multiple-output, or MIMO.

Another key progression is the use of small cells in order to enhance MIMO. As MIMO does not need to be limited to a single base station, they can be used as distributed MIMO, with the use of multiple antennas and base stations. And of course, there is extensive discussion about the Internet of Things – as 5G begins to be refined with greater clarity, both consumers and manufacturers can expect to see 5G providing innovative new solutions and opportunities in this area.

Testing 5G

The development of a prospective new system also calls for the development of new testing tools, and for test-equipment manufacturers, the prospect of 5Gon the horizon calls for a re-evaluation of existing testing instruments and their limitations.

The lack of clear standards means that it is not as straightforward as it may be hoped to define the parameters for testing. However it is likely that frequency ranges will expand to 28, 38, 60 and 73 GHz. New modulation methods and the use of MIMO can also be expected. These anticipated progressions have already seen some new 5G development systems come into existence, to test different aspects of designs and investigate the stability of prototypes.

As 5G systems and technologies continue to develop, test instrument manufacturers will also need to advance the parallel development of tools capable of meeting the new challenges and complexities posed.

How do you think 5G development will change the industry? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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