Keysight Technologies, a Santa Rosa-based global electronic-measurement technology company, released a scalable microwave signal generator on June 5 that can be used to create complex waveforms needed to drive emerging fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks.

Most urban cell phones run on 4G wireless technology; 5G is the next generation, offering blazing download speed of nearly 10 gigabits a second. So one could download a high-definition movie in about a second.

On a 5G network, a phone is expected to almost never drop calls no matter where it goes.

On June 1, Keysight (NYSE: KEYS) and the University of California, San Diego, announced the world’s fastest bidirectional phased-array link in the 28-gigahertz 5G band. The achievement marked a milestone for delivering future applications in 5G, aerospace and defense.

Gigahertz is a measurement of signal frequency, representing a billion of cycles per second.

The 64-element phased array, built on a low-cost printed circuitboard, consumed only 7 to 11 watts of direct-current power in transmit or receive modes due to UC San Diego’s high-performance system-on-a-chip designs that use a third-generation silicon-germanium process from TowerJazz, based in Israel.

New 5G networks will harness femtocells — tiny base stations that enhance cell-phone quality and signal strength in small zones, approximately a 30-foot radius. Keysight launched a femtocell tester in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Expanding research in 5G mobile networks has boosted demand for some of Keysight’s test products. Extremely fast 5G networks may begin testing late this year or in 2018, according to the company.

South Korea aspires to demonstrate 5G for the 2018 Winter Olympics there. Tokyo aims to jump further forward for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Both countries are racing ahead of the United States in 5G technology. Verizon and AT&T have invested seriously into 5G, according to Keysight.

Revenue from 5G test equipment comprises a tiny portion of Keysight’s business, which brought 2016 total revenue of $2.9 billion.

Keysight’s new PXIe microwave signal generator covers frequency up to 44 gigahertz and modulation bandwidth up to 1 gigahertz for generating complex waveforms used in 5G and aerospace and defense applications for digital video transport (DVT) over a secure network.

“Wideband devices introduce new challenges in terms of signal quality, flatness and calibration,” said Ron Harrison, director of sales and marketing at Keysight.

“Engineers can now create Keysight-validated Verizon pre-5G standard-compliant waveforms and 5G-candidate waveforms,” the company said. The software allows engineers to create custom waveforms for 5G applications.

Pricing for the products, available today, start at $25,147 for a M9383A PXIe analog-signal generator, and $69,147 for a M9383A PXIe vector-signal generator.

James Dunn covers technology, biotech, law, the food industry, and banking and finance. Reach him at james.dunn@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4257