Test and Measurement: Keysight expects to be at full capacity by end of Q3

Keysight Technologies said this week that after pandemic-driven shut-downs in March and April, it expects to be back to full operational capacity by the end of the third quarter.

“After site closures and limited capacity in March and April, we are pleased to announce that we are re-opening sites and ramping our production, which we expect to be back to 100% capacity by the end of the third quarter,” said Ron Nersesian, Keysight’s chairman, president and CEO.

The company, which released its second quarter earnings this week, did see some financial impacts from the global COVID-19 crisis, with its revenues and profits taking a hit. Revenues for the quarter were $895 million, compared with $1.090 billion last year, a decrease of 18%. Profits were impacted even more, dropping 54% from $153 million in the year-ago quarter to $71 million. Orders were down 3% year-over-year to $1.089 billion.

Within its Communications Solutions Group, Keysight reported that second-quarter revenues were at $653 million, down 18% due to supply chain disruption from the pandemic. However, CSG still saw “record 5G orders” in the quarter, Keysight said, and strong demand for government and aerospace/defense solutions from the U.S.

Keysight’s Electronic Industrial Solutions Group’s revenues were down 19% year-over-year to $242 million because of pandemic-related issues, and the company said that “general electronics, education and automotive markets were weak.”

Keysight said that for its outlook on third-quarter performance, it expects to have revenues, operating margin and earnings “in line with, or better than, the most recent quarter,” but noted that its expectations are based in part on assumptions of limited additional supply chain issues or additional shutdown disruption from a potential second wave of the pandemic.

In other test news:

The 5G test equipment market is expected to hit a compound annual growth rate of 5% through 2024, according to research from TechNavio.

“The market is fragmented, and the degree of fragmentation will accelerate” during the next four years, TechNavio posited, going on to add that “The transition from cable to [over-the-air] test methodologies will offer immense growth opportunities. To make the most of the opportunities, market vendors should focus more on the growth prospects in the fast-growing segments, while maintaining their positions in the slow-growing segments.Transition from cable to OTA test methodologies has been instrumental in driving the growth of the market.”

The firm estimates that year-over-year growth for 5G test equipment for 2020 will be 4.5%. In terms of regional growth, TechNavio anticipates that 31% of the market’s growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region.

Rohde & Schwarz said that Finnish test house Verkoten will be the first to use its plane wave converter to test 5G base New Radio sub-6 GHz base stations over the air. The PWC200 was designed to test massive multiple-input-multiple-output base stations in both research and development and production environments, and the test company said that it is the first commercially available plane wave converter test solution and has an “unprecedented” small footprint.

rohde & Schwarz plane wave converter

Verkoten will use the R&S PWC200 for sub-6 GHz 5G NR base station OTA testing. (Image: Rohde & Schwarz)

-Test and measurement components and accessories company Pasternack released seven new short-open-load-through (SOLT) calibration kits for vector network analyzer calibration, bringing its line of such kits to 12. The company said that the kits are suited for use with VNAs from a number of leading manufacturers.

Empirix has added new functionality to its Hammer Cloud Platform, which the company says makes the platform the “first self-service test automation solution capable of testing and monitoring the performance of the network, infrastructure and applications from a call’s point of origin to its endpoint.” The solution is aimed at call centers and enterprise voice networks.

“The need for flexible, self-service end-to-end testing has become even more critical as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has, in a matter of months, forced millions of agents and workers worldwide to work remotely,” Empirix said in a release. “This shift has led to a substantial change in network traffic patterns, creating capacity and reliability issues with firewalls, VPNs, SBCs, and home networks.”

“Technical issues have a significant impact on customer experience and can cost companies billions of dollars,” said Edoardo Rizzi, SVP of product management and marketing at Empirix. “Enabling companies to execute end-to-end tests via the cloud gives them the flexibility they need to improve the quality of service and, therefore, customer experience.”

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