Siglent Solutions

Time Domain Analysis of RF Systems

Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) and other modes of time domain analysis of RF signals enable engineers to study the effectiveness of communication systems and channels for high speed serial data transfer. Impedance changes, noise, cross-talk, mechanical connections, and system bandwidth all play important and complex roles in the fidelity of signals for high-speed communications. Network Analyzers with TDR capabilities and oscilloscopes with communication analysis tools give engineers a complete set of tools for investigating, characterizing, and debugging these signals and systems.

SNA5000A Time Domain Analysis Configuration Window


Time domain analysis can be set to low pass impulse, step, or bandpass modes. The most important characteristic is the gating function. Use the gating function to eliminate extraneous responses outside of the area of interest and get a clear view of the device characteristics in the time domain with a Fourier Transform.

Additional windowing and coupling capabilities make this a powerful test setup for Time Domain Analysis. Add modes like enhanced TDR (below) for complete analysis.

The SNA5000A’s complete, enhanced TDR test mode enables a statistical modeling of signal response to an established digital communication method. The user can set the noise, levels, and bit rate of the test signal and the TDR measurements visually shows the outcome of an eye diagram measurement. Standard and customizable Eye Mask tests are included. Test the complete system for throughput, bandwidth, and noise characteristics by injecting jitter into the described test signal.

This is a powerful statistical test model. Download our App Note to learn more.


Check out The Signal Path discussing TDR with Siglent at IMS 2023:


Watch the latest TDR Eye Mask Video:

Differential and Single-Ended TDR Probes simplifies characterization of devices and systems on board.

Model Description
ADP-18 Adjustable Differential TDR probe DC~18 GHz
ADP-26 Adjustable Differential TDR probe DC~26.5 GHz
ASP-18 Adjustable Single-end TDR probe DC~18 GHz
ASP-26 Adjustable Single-end TDR probe DC~26.5 GHz

TDR Probes for your Network Analyzer:

SNA5000A Time Domain Options Comparison

Compare the capabilities of different Time Domain options for the SNA5000A Series VNAs.

Measured frequency responses can be transformed to the time domain to analyze the
time-domain characteristics of the DUT.

Enhanced Time Domain Reflectometer (SNA5000-TDR) Basic Time Domain Reflectometer (SNA5000-TDA)
Similarities 1. Time-domain responses obtained by IFFT on frequency-domain data.

2. Includes gating and de-embedding

Differences TDR simulates the setup of a traditional time domain reflectometer N/A
Includes time domain low-pass step and pulse response for reflection and transmission Includes time domain low-pass step and pulse response as well as bandpass response for reflection and transmission
The rise time of the step signal and the width of the pulse signal can be set N/A
Supports eye diagram transmission testing N/A

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Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers with VNA capabilities can also make important contributions to testing RF systems like these.

Use Real-Time mode to capture spurious emissions during dynamic test conditions. Learn more about EMI measurements here.

These instruments can also capture S11, S21, SWR, and additional measurements critical to characterization and functionality of these RF systems.

Check out our application note of filter testing with these analyzers.


Distance To Fault is a type of time domain analysis available on some spectrum analyzers and most vector network anaylzers. Distance To Fault maps changes in impedance by distance from the connection to find cable and connection issues. This is an important field measurement for installed systems – it is a standard capability on our Handheld SHA850A Series Portable Analyzers.

Find the SIGLENT Resources you need to find the best instrument for your application


Distance To Fault Measurements 

Distance to Fault uses a time domain methodology to highlight discontinuities and impedance changes over a length of cable. It is useful in the field, but is also important in benchtop applications. Many SIGLENT Spectrum Analyzers include this capability along with S11 and S21 scattering parameter analysis.

This video shows the function.

Learn more about Distance To Fault Measurements here.

Learn More about SIGLENT Instruments for Time Domain Analysis and other RF Testing

SNA5000A Series Vector Network Analyzers

TDR, Time domain gating, and Statistical Eye Tests in the RF domain

SHA850A Series Portable Spectrum Analyzers

Time domain and cable test modes for outdoor and handheld applications

SSA3000X-R Real Time Spectrum Analysis

Characterize dynamic signals with real-time bandwidth and test S11 and S21 parameters with VNA capabilities

SSA3000X-R Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers