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Spectrum Analyzer - RF or Wifi Spectrum Analyzer Overview by Nuts About Nets

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Published on Nov 10, 2014

Spectrum Analyzer - RF or Wifi Spectrum Analyzer Overview by Nuts About Nets. Visit us online at http://www.NutsAboutNets.com

Mike is from Nuts About Nets. In this video, he walks us through what an RF Spectrum analyzer is and why it's a valuable device for anyone who is designing or troubleshooting wireless systems. He also explains how an RF Spectrum analyzer works, and what options you have for owning a device - from large devices weighing around 30 pounds to small USB dongles. To find out more about RF Spectrum analyzers, please visit our website: http://www.NutsAboutNets.com

Video Transcript
Hi, I'm Mike. I'm with Nuts About Nets. We develop wireless diagnostic tools and today I want to talk about RF Spectrum Analyzers.

An RF Spectrum analyzer is an amazing device because the data it provides is very powerful and very useful. It's used for designing and troubleshooting wireless systems.

Just as humans use sound waves to communicate from one person to another, wireless devices use radio waves to communicate from one point to another.

In order for a wave to move through a medium, in this case the medium would be air, energy is required. That's what the RF Spectrum analyzer measures. The good news is that it's easy to use and and the data is easy to interpret.

An RF Spectrum analyzer is the tool of choice when working with wireless devices. Why is that? It's the only instrument capable of measuring RF signals across a spectrum. Furthermore, information presented by an RF Spectrum trace is most useful when designing or troubleshooting wireless systems. Let's see an RF Spectrum analyzer in action.

An RF Spectrum analyzer is similar to the radio we are familiar with in our cars or at home. If we tune to a particular station, also referred to as a channel or frequency, a radio detects the RF signal broadcast at the frequency we tune to.

An RF Spectrum analyzer sweeps across all the frequencies within a particular range or frequency band. That is to say a spectrum of frequencies and measures the strength of the transmitted RF signal at each frequency.

The RF Spectrum analyzer repeats its sweep over and over again.

The result of each sweep is displayed and called an RF spectrum trace. Each peak in a spectrum trace represents a transmitted signal. Here you can see the spectrum trace of the FM band from 88-108 MHz. Each peak represents a different broadcast station transmitting an RF signal at a particular frequency.

Within the FM band, each broadcast station requires a license from the FCC to broadcast at a particular frequency. There are certain bands, for example the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz ISM bands that do not require a license for broadcasting or transmitting RF signals.

RF Spectrum analyzers were first introduced in the early 1960's. Today they come in a variety of sizes. From large bench top models that weigh more than 30 pounds to portable luggable devices that weigh about 10 pounds to hand-held models and even USB dongles. And costs range anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars down to just a few hundred.

Since cost is no longer a barrier to owning an RF Spectrum analyzer it's a valuable addition to anyone's toolbox.

Anyone who considers themselves technically inclined and who needs to troubleshoot RF problems or check for RF interference that may be degrading their wireless system or configure a wireless system should consider this device.

To find out more about RF Spectrum analyzers, please visit our website: http:www.nutsaboutnets.com

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