RF/Microwave Switching Systems Subtleties: Achieving the Performance You Need

The continuing growth of the communication industry and growing integration of wireless technology into consumer products means increased testing of communication systems components, ranging from active components like RFICs, MMICs and SOC devices to space communication systems. Typically, these are tested at GHz frequencies or higher. The main components of a typical test system may include a DC bias source, DC measurement instruments, RF power meter, network analyser etc. Automating the test process and improving test efficiency demands integrating RF & Microwave and low frequency switching systems into the test system.

With the help of a switch, an instrument can measure multiple devices under test (DUTs) with increased efficiency, and the test process can be automated. Multiple tests with different instruments can be run on the same DUT or multiple instruments can test multiple DUTs. This article addresses several important aspects of configuring a high frequency switch system, including the system configurations and critical switch specifications.