As digital data rates rise ever faster, the need to understand an electrical interconnect’s effect on system performance becomes more and more critical. Therefore, in the development of an interconnect product, it is often necessary to make S-parameter measurements to gain the knowledge of the electrical behavior of the interconnect device. The Time Domain Network Analyzer (TDNA) is one test method Samtec uses in the development of high speed connectors, cable assemblies, and flex circuitry.

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that with proper technique, the TDNA has adequate dynamic range for such applications and can be used to make accurate S-parameter measurements. The paper will focus on S-parameter magnitude characterization while phase resolution will not be addressed.

The paper will first focus on establishing a noise floor for a representative state-of-the-art TDNA measurement system. The relative accuracy of the TDNA system will then be evaluated by comparing TDNA results to those obtained from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable network analyzer measurements.