DesignCon and the future of bench instrumentation

-February 11, 2015


Rohde & Schwarz



Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) is a German-based company who offers RF and microwave instruments and, most recently, oscilloscopes.  I was interested in talking with them, as they have a reputation for a focus on “box” instrumentation, though very fine box instrumentation.

As I wandered into their booth I spied a faceless network analyzer, and immediately made a beeline to the non-traditional product.




I was met by Dr. Chris Schotz, a product manager for R&S.  We had a very engaging discussion about form factors and use models.  The R&S use model is very simple- traditional instruments with displays and keyboards are used in the design lab on the bench, and the faceless products are for production.  You can see both in the image above.  The faceless network analyzer on the right is pre-configured at the R&S factor for the number of ports needed. The measurements from the bench instrument on the left matches those from the faceless instrument on the right.

I included PC-only display in the R&S table at the top of this page due to the faceless network analyzer.  However, if we are just considering lab bench use, then the table should indicate only the traditional bench category.

It seems fitting after visiting a proponent of the traditional paradigm that my next appointment was with a disruptor who offers no traditional instruments at all, National Instruments…

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