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On track to a brighter future

The History of Wireless Communication

Helping to Bring the World Mobile Phone ServicesThe world’s smallest and lightest testers for base station maintenance

Compact, lightweight testers for construction and maintenance of a growing number of base stations

Base stations are an essential part of mobile phone systems, relaying a signal to each phone. In order to ensure proper mobile phone connections, it is crucial to verify that the base stations are functioning properly during construction and maintenance. The size of the testers posed a problem, however – as many base stations are located in high places and remote areas, large and heavy testers were very inconvenient for the field technicians. Anritsu addressed this problem by developing handheld testers.

  • (White Paper: Information and Communications in Japan 2005, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)(White Paper: Information and Communications in Japan 2005, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)

It all began with one letter

The first Site MasterThe first Site Master

One day in 1994, our MMD (microwave measurement division) engineer in the USA was reading a magazine when he saw a photo of a maintenance technician lugging a large spectrum analyzer to a base station at the top of a mountain. To make maintenance technicians’ jobs easier, he pitched an idea for a compact measuring instrument to other engineers.
“A large number of antennas are required for the various wireless networks”, his letter read. “Factors such as return loss need to be tested when installing each antenna and when the performance of an antenna is questioned. These antennas can be difficult to access, so a small portable test device is required.” This led to the development of the first handheld tester.
The instrument was developed based on a circuit diagram that an engineer had drawn on a napkin after having an idea during a meal. The prototype was completed in just four months, and the instrument was commercialized ten months after its conception. And so the Site Master was born in 1995.

A handheld tester that dramatically lightened field technicians’ load

In addition to being compact and lightweight, the Site Master was battery powered. It could therefore be carried and used anywhere, dramatically lightening field technicians’ load. The biggest factor in the success of the smaller device was that the developers had increased the insulation against radio waves so that the device could give accurate readings even when used directly below a base station emitting strong radio waves. Other factors included the fact that inexpensive and high-performance radio frequency devices (high-frequency devices) could be used. At that time, the rise of the second generation of mobile phones had resulted in a higher volume of work building and maintaining base stations, so this new device took the market by storm. As an additional sales strategy, we offered a training program for customers who were new to the testing work. The product was a hit, garnering us a 70% market share.
In the 20 years since the first model was developed, we have successively rolled out new versions of the Site Master. It is now on its 13th version, and is still used in the construction and maintenance of base stations.

  • Microwave Site Master S820EMicrowave Site Master S820E

Branching out into other uses and fields

After creating the field of handheld testers for base stations, Anritsu worked on more and more projects for this field. We began working to develop a tester that could detect when a base station was producing or affected by a signal other than the one stipulated by law in each country. The result was the Spectrum Master, a compact spectrum analyzer. This product was also highly acclaimed, as the rise of mobile phones had highlighted the issue of signal quality.
Terrestrial digital television broadcasts also happened to begin in Japan at around this time. Anritsu had already developed test instruments for this purpose, but as the equipment for terrestrial digital broadcasts was also located in the mountains, there was a need for smaller devices. Our Japanese and American engineers therefore worked together to pair our completed analysis software with a handheld console developed by the MMD (Microwave Measurement Division), and in 2005 we succeeded in releasing a handheld measuring instrument for terrestrial digital TV signals. This prompted a wave of other collaborations in which software developed in Japan was used in American consoles.

  • Spectrum Master MS2711Spectrum Master MS2711

Making mobile phone services available everywhere

Area TesterArea Tester

Anritsu’s reputation as a leader in handheld testers was cemented in the age of 3G mobile phones. As the market for 3G base stations grew, we developed a succession of base station analyzers and area testers – instruments for measuring the area of a base station – that were compatible with systems such as W-CDMA and CDMA-2000. These instruments played a key role in the spread of 3G services. By lightening the load of base station construction and maintenance technicians, Anritsu’s handheld testers contributed to the maintenance of base stations and the construction of more, as well as the global spread of easy mobile communication that was available everywhere.

Wiltron, the parent company of Anritsu’s US company

Handheld testers originated with Wiltron in the US. Wiltron began as a startup created by former employees of a famous American manufacturer of measuring instruments, and had sophisticated technology and excellent developers. They possessed outstanding high-frequency and network measurement technology that Anritsu needed and their corporate culture resembled Anritsu’s in many ways: they took a long-term view when investing and they were expanding markets with high-level product development. Anritsu purchased the company in 1990 on receiving a proposal from Wiltron itself.

Extending our winning formula to terrestrial digital TV

In 2003, Japan’s first terrestrial digital TV broadcasts commenced in the Tokyo metropolitan area – and the transition from analog to digital was supported by a handheld measuring instrument from Anritsu. Anritsu had already developed test instruments for this purpose, but as the equipment for terrestrial digital broadcasts was also located in the mountains, there was a need for smaller devices. Our Japanese and American engineers therefore worked together to pair Japanese analysis software with a handheld console developed by our US division, and soon succeeded in releasing a handheld measuring instrument for terrestrial digital TV signals. The instrument was also used in South American countries such as Brazil, which used the same system as Japan, contributing to the global spread of terrestrial digital TV.

Digital Broadcast Analyzer MS8911Digital Broadcast Analyzer MS8911

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