Switch matrices can greatly enhance the productivity of a test-and-measurement system, reliably routing input signals to different output ports as needed. In terms of flexibility, the 5 × 5 switch matrices in the FX500 series and the 10 × 10 matrices in the FX1000 series—both from SenarioTek—offer a variety of different configurations for testing commercial and military applications. In addition, the firm recently announced the extension of these FlexMatrix reconfigurable switch matrices to incorporate signal conditioning when needed.
The rack-mountable FX500 and FX1000 switch matrices (see figure) are available in models that provide frequency coverage of DC to 6 GHz, DC to 26.5 GHz, and DC to 40 GHz (see table). The FlexMatrix expansion ports on these reconfigurable units make it possible to expand them to a greater number of ports, as needed. In addition, the company recently announced that the flexibility of these expansion ports also makes it possible to add signal conditioning, such as an amplifier or filter, between a FlexMatrix input and output port without adding external switching. This can help simplify testing of consumer wireless components as well as military communications and radar equipment.
All FX500 series units are 5 × 5 switch matrices with 1 W power-handling capability and 10-ms switching speed, housed in a 2U-high rack-mountable chassis. The FX500 series consists of the DC-to-6-GHz model FX506, the DC-to-26.5-GHz model FX526, and the DC-to-40-GHz model FX540. Typical performance for the lowest-frequency switch matrix includes insertion loss of 1.5 dB, VSWR of 1.50:1, and isolation between ports of 80 dB across the full frequency range. The FX526 switch matrix has typical insertion loss of 1.5 dB from DC to 6 GHz, 2.5 dB from 6 to 18 GHz, and 3.5 dB from 18 to 26.5 GHz. The VSWR is 1.50:1 from DC to 6 GHz, 2.0:1 from 6 to 18 GHz, and 2.5:1 from 18 to 26.5 GHz. The isolation is typically 80 dB from DC to 6 GHz, 70 dB from 6 to 18 GHz, and 60 dB from 18 to 26.5 GHz.
The highest-frequency 5 × 5 switch matrix, model FX540, exhibits insertion loss of 1.5 dB from DC to 6 GHz, 2.5 dB from 6 to 18 GHz, 3.5 dB from 18 to 26.5 GHz, 4.5 dB from 26.5 to 32.0 GHz, and 6.0 dB from 32 to 40 GHz. The VSWR is typically 1.50:1 from DC to 6 GHz, 2.0:1 from 6 to 18 GHz, and 2.5:1 from 18 to 40 GHz. The typical isolation is 80 dB from DC to 6 GHz, 70 dB from 6 to 18 GHz, 60 dB from 18 to 32 GHz, and 55 dB from 32 to 40 GHz.
The FX1000 series consists of 10 × 10 switch matrices in 4U rack-mount chassis, also with 1-W input rating and 10-ms switching speed. The series includes models FX1006 for use from DC to 6 GHz, FX1026 for applications from DC to 26.5 GHz, and FX1040 for use from DC to 40 GHz. As might be expected, the electrical performance is somewhat degraded compared to the smaller FX500 units, but still quite good. The DC-to-40-GHz model FX1040 exhibits insertion loss of 3 dB from DC to 6 GHz, 4 dB from 6 to 18 GHz, 6 dB from 18.0 to 26.5 GHz, 8 dB from 26.5 to 32.0 GHz, and 10 dB from 32 to 40 GHz. It has VSWR of 1.60:1 from DC to 6 GHz, 2.10:1 from 6 to 18 GHz, 2.60:1 from 18.0 to 26.5 GHz, and 2.70:1 from 26.5 to 40.0 GHz, with typical isolation of 80 dB from DC to 6 GHz, 70 dB from 6 to 18 GHz, 60 dB from 18 to 32 GHz, and 55 dB from 32 to 40 GHz. For the other models, performance over the common frequency bands is quite similar.
The 6- and 26.5-GHz FX500 and FX1000 switch matrices are outfitted with precision SMA connectors, while the 40-GHz models have precision 2.92-mm connectors. The 40-GHz models are rated for operating lifetimes of 2 × 106 switching operations while the 6- and 26.5-GHz models are rated for lifetimes of 10 × 106 switching operations. The switch matrices offer front-panel light-emitting-diode (LED) position indicators and standard three-year warranties, and are available with LAN, GPIB, or USB interfaces.