Tag Archives: Test Equipment

Contact: CJ Legner

Email: clegner@conres.com

Continental Resources wins Supplier of the Year Award 2017

From Microboard Processing Inc

Bedford, MA, December 19, 2017 – Continental Resources (ConRes) today announced it has been named the Supplier of the Year Award winner from Microboard Processing Inc. Customers voted, and nominated ConRes as the #1 Supplier for 2017.

ConRes received 1’s in each of the key categories including: Leading Edge Technology, State-of-the-art Equipment, Best Customer Service, Enabling Efficiency, Understands Needs, On-Time Delivery, and Number One Supplier.

The Account Manager for Microboard Processing Inc is Al Shigo, out of the Bedford, MA office. This is the first Supplier of the Year Award for the Test and Measurement Division at ConRes.

About ConRes

U.S. and international test equipment sales and rentals from the friendly professionals at Continental Resources (ConRes), your authorized source for new and refurbished test equipment sales and rentals including oscilloscopes, signal generators, network and spectrum analyzers, wireless communications testers, field testing and general purpose test equipment. If you’re an engineer in manufacturing, R&D, QC, design, field test, or education, you can rely on ConRes for test equipment with warranties and calibrated in our ISO-registered, NIST-traceable metrology lab to ensure measurement accuracy. ConRes is an authorized test equipment partner for Rohde & Schwarz, Tektronix, Keysight, Spirent, and others.


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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 TestEquipmentTeam@conres.com to contact one of our experts.

Download for your industry now:

Wireless Connectivity: http://bit.ly/2nsfeOR

Aerospace and Defense: http://bit.ly/2okKeo7

Education: http://bit.ly/2okGK53

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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 TestEquimentTeam@conres.com to contact one of our experts.

Download for your industry now:

Wireless Connectivity: http://bit.ly/2pIQyG8

Aerospace and Defense: http://bit.ly/2oPoorU

Education: http://bit.ly/2oPuQPz



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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 TestEquipmentTeam@conres.com to contact one of our experts.

Download Our Guide for your market:

Wireless Connectivity: http://bit.ly/2jSrGYK

Aerospace and Defense: http://bit.ly/2jAdaBP

Education: http://bit.ly/2koQXdE

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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 TestEquimentTeam@conres.com to contact one of our experts.

Download our Case Study Flipbook for your market: 

Wireless Connectivity: http://bit.ly/2fAPcYu

Aerospace and Defense: http://bit.ly/2glfijq

Education: http://bit.ly/2flE9zr

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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 TestEquipmentTeam@conres.com to contact one of our experts.

Download Our Report for Your Market:
Wireless Connectivity: http://bit.ly/2cd0Zfh
Aerospace and Defense: http://bit.ly/2cR6n4l
Education: http://bit.ly/2cMgOaC

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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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The growing demand for high-speed digital applications calls for increases across the board for greater system bandwidth and faster signal edge speeds, as well as smaller and more efficient chipset and component design.

In turn, these developments also result in greater complexity for PCB layouts, challenging high bandwidth probes to meet the performance levels required at greater speeds. This blog post takes a look at the issues involved when selecting probes suitable for high speed digital applications, and what obstacles designers may face.

The demands of a high bandwidth probe

For a probe to be efficient and effective, it should provide an accurate reflection of the signal being measured. For high bandwidth probes, loading characteristics can vary much more significantly than in standard probes, and the resultant loading effects can lead to much greater limitations on a probe’s performance than expected.

One key difference in high bandwidth probes is the variation in input impedance. While traditional probes will often have an impedance characteristic of around 50 MΩ, higher bandwidth probes may have much greater impedance characteristic, of up to 100 MΩ.

This can lead to a higher crossover frequency than conventionally found. Combined with fast edge speeds, standard probes can also experience interaction between input impedance and resistors, leading to long time constant effects. To minimize this, a probe with higher impedance across a wider bandwidth is more suitable for usage.

Probe noise

Another factor that can impact a probe’s performance is the inherent noise that is a pre-existing part of it. While many factors affect the noise figure of a reading, the most significant of these is the signal to noise ratio.

A lower attenuation ration will often result in a higher signal to noise ratio with reduced noise, but this also produces a lower input resistance and reduced dynamic range.

In order to get an optimum balance between the different values, a compromise is often needed – one way of doing this is to use the attenuation ratio and probe noise level, and use it to estimate probe noise. In addition, using the vertical range of a scope – the most sensitive part of it – will also reduce unnecessary magnification of the scope’s noise. By choosing a probe with a lower attenuation ratio to start with, it is possible to optimize the signal to noise ratio as much as possible.

Choosing a probe tip

For any probe, its tip is its most important element – but this is also most susceptible to flaws and limitations.  Each component in a measurement system can impact the bandwidth of the overall device – and probes and probe accessories are more prone to loss of bandwidth than any other component.

High bandwidth probes with longer input lead wires at the tip are often more susceptive to greater degradation, and resultant frequency response variation. In addition, that can increase loading and non-flat frequency responses, with greater variation in measurements.

In order to optimize performance of probe tips, they are best kept as small as possible, both with input leads and across the loop area. For single-ended probes, it is more efficient to keep their low inductance ground connection as short and wide as possible.

Do you have any questions about selecting probes for high-bandwidth applications? Share them with us here.


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Vector Network analyzers (VNAs) are an essential part of RF testing, as they allow designers to assess signal parameters and measure the performance of components and circuits across a variety of complex systems.

With a wide variety of analytical functions available across different models of vector network analyzers, they enable a number of components to be tested in detail — from high end VNAs that allow for amplifier and mixer measurements, to affordable handheld devices that provide support for spectrum analysis and power measurements.

This blog post takes a closer look at the wider testing options introduced by a new generation of vector network analyzers.

Using vector network analyzers

 Vector network analyzers have been widely used across the industry for component testing and help to achieve more accurate characterization through measuring the amplitude and phase of swept-frequency test signals.

VNAs can be used to plot the amplitude and phase of a signal over a period of time – this information allows troubleshooters to assess a signal’s behavior and identify how it is being transmitted and reflected. Doing this can help to characterize signal scattering – a key issue that can impact the performance of a component.

Finding greater precision

 Existing VNAs have a high degree of accuracy already, but with the addition of lasers, their function can be improved to enable greater precision in measuring signal strength and phase in components.

With a more complex structure, the new generation of prototype analyzers exceeds frequencies of 1THz. The enhanced precision of new network analyzers is due to the use of a femtosecond laser to generate test signals – using short and precise voltage pulses that are passed down a short gold strip of 4mm length, the electric field of a gallium arsenide chip can be changed. Another laser beam subsequently tracks and measures changes in phase and amplitude as the signal progresses.

This technique allows for greater precision in measurement, as it can resolve both signals travelling up and down, and additionally measure their reflection.  By measuring voltage pulses at different positions, designers are able to separate voltage signals in both directions, even when signals are temporarily overlapped. Taking these values over a range of frequencies enables designers to characterize the device under test comprehensively.

However, while femtosecond lasers are low in price and simple to install, the new generation of analyzers is not entirely free of drawbacks. Its most obvious limitation is a smaller dynamic range – while conventional VNAs have a range of 120 dB, these are restricted to 40 dB, despite having a measurement bandwidth of 500 GHz.

Nevertheless, their overall simplicity and the broad frequency range accessible through a single piece of hardware is a significant advantage, and they are likely to continue to grow in usage.

What are your thoughts on the new generation of VNAs? Do you prefer to use more standard analyzers, or will these give you an advantage? We’d love to read your thoughts – share them with us in the comments!



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