The increasing sophistication of consumer electronics, rising acceptance of 4G, and the constant introduction of innovative products all contribute to the growth of the signal generator market. Signal generators have evolved from mere continuous wave devices to advanced modulation devices with superior software control, modulation capabilities and user interfaces. These improvements, along with the use of new software techniques that enhance the linearity, bandwidth and signal creation capabilities, are stoking the market for signal generators.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of Opportunities for Signal Generators Market , finds that the market earned revenues of €693 million ($742.0 million) in 2014 and estimates this to reach €1043 million ($1127.5 million) in 2020. The study covers the segments of radio frequency (RF) tests, microwave tests, arbitrary waveform generators (AWG) and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) eXtensions for instrumentation (PXI).
Earlier, users found it challenging to synchronise multiple instruments for multichannel applications because of the closed architectural designs. This is now a thing of the past as these integrated systems share internal local oscillators.
“This will enable the synchronisation of multiple instruments and in turn, ease the tasks of test engineers.” said Frost & Sullivan Measurement & Instrumentation Industry Analyst Prathima Bommakanti. “This is important as more applications are requiring multiple simultaneous signals.”
Another important technological issue in the microwave signal generators market is the management of phase noise. Phase noise increases with carrier frequency multiplication during the generation of higher frequencies. The use of yttrium iron garnet (YIG)-based microwave oscillators, rather than voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs), is expected to help achieve the desired level of phase noise performance.
In spite of their improved functionalities, signal generators’ prices have remained stable. Since alternative integrated test solutions and have become attractive options, one way to improve the revenue generation potential of the equipment is to offer modular options.
“Developments in semiconductors, including processors, field-programmable gate array and data converters, have resulted in cutting-edge modular solutions,” observed Bommakanti. “With the communication industry introducing new standards constantly, there is a need for scalable/flexible solutions, which in turn is driving the need for PXI-based instruments, including signal generators.”