What You're About to Discover
You can have the best equipment at your disposal, and even that doesn't guarantee a strong, constant radio frequency signal that you can use to carry out your work. There are a host of factors responsible for signal strength, and many depend on the immediate environment of the location where you are trying to catch a signal. By the end of this post, you'll get an understanding of the different types of interference and how to eliminate them in your future designs.
2 Types of Electromagnetic Interference
Electromagnetic Interference is used to broadly define the disturbance present at a location which prevents a radio device from receiving a strong and uninterrupted radio frequency. Disturbances are classified on the level of severity as permissible, acceptable, and harmful interference. Electromagnetic is the third type of interference that causes the most problems. The two main types of electromagnetic interference are:
- Narrowband: This type of interference is found to emanate typically from intended transmissions in the form of radio or TV signals. The signal can also be from cell phones and other devices.
- Broadband: This refers to the type of interference which is a result of unintentional radiation from nearby sources such as electric power transmission lines.
Previous Interference Management Tactics
In the past, interference was dealt with by networks using various protective tactics such as microwave backhauling, shielding the source or the receiver, improving circuit design, and making use of swept-tuned and FFT spectrum analyzers to detect radio frequency signals. These RF signals can lead to interference. The problem with using the latter option is that while it can detect a near-constant signal, it is less adept at tracing random bursts that are responsible for the interference, radio frequency signals which occur in narrow pulses, or when their duration is based on network traffic.
The Cure to Interference - Real-time Spectrum Analysis (RTSA)
To get around the limitations of traditional interference detectors, you have a new method of ensuring strong radio frequency at your location, and this can be done by making use of Real-time Spectrum Analysis, or RTSA. This is a new breed of full-fledged spectrum analysis applications that carry marked improvements over the earlier radio frequency analyzer designs.
The RTSA graphical user interface uses the plot display as the primary scope containing the monitored band. This displays resolution and video bandwidth as well as the frequency span and the current amplitude settings. This makes RTSA ideal for dealing with dynamic radio frequency signal interference or agile frequencies. The user interface comes equipped with various controls and measurement tools that are used to operate the analyzer in the RFE mode. This mode allows for:
- Multi-stage environments
- Intermittent signals that are of a shorter duration
- Spread spectrum radios which make use of radio frequency hopping
- Other types of interference signals including unwanted, unintentional, or self-interface signals
Advantages Offered by the RTSA
The main distinctive feature of the RTSA is the fact that it offers real-time analysis. This results in the user being able to track marker functions, multi-trace capabilities, and frequency controls. It also allows you to track:
- Frequency range
- Real-time bandwidth
- Intercept probability
- Dynamic range of the interference signal
- Filtering and removal of the DSP
- Synchronization of the signal over multiple channels
You will have the ability to export the collected data over to a CSV file. The device also allows you to save the configuration settings at any point in time. You don't want to lose all that hard work!
Frequency interference is not an unavoidable part of your radio frequency broadcasting habits. By making use of the RTSA, you can ensure a smooth and strong signal strength for all your radio-related activities.
Now that you have the power to eliminate frequency interference, try learning about and eliminating Phase Coherence problems. No one likes Phase Coherence Problems!