Digital Spectrum Analyzer and Signal Generator

What is a spectrum analyser?

Published: 22nd November 2013

Like the oscilloscope, the spectrum analyser is a piece of test equipment that produces a picture of an electrical signal. The picture on the oscilloscope will show you how the signal varies over time, but this might not tell you all you need to know about the signal.

This is where the spectrum analyser steps in. The spectrum analyser looks at how the signal varies according to frequency, rather than time. If you’re looking at a complex signal made up of more than one frequency, the spectrum analyser separates the signal into its different frequency components and displays the level at each frequency. The spectrum analyser can display information about the signal including voltage, power and frequency.

So what are Spectrum Analysers used for?

Spectrum analysers have many applications in the design, manufacture and repair of electrical devices and systems. Their job is to analyse the signals being either transmitted by the equipment or passing through the equipment. By analysing the signals you can see if your equipment is working correctly or if it has a fault. You could also use a spectrum analyzer to identify the frequency of any sources of interference to your equipment, for example, harmonic distortion.

There are many different models of spectrum analyser available covering a range of different frequencies such as the FSV3 from Rohde & Schwarz which covers up to 6 GHz . At the other end of the scale you have the FSW67, also from Rohde & Schwarz, with a frequency range of 2 Hz to 67 GHz.

Benchtop spectrum analyzers are designed to be used in a fixed setting whereas handheld devices like the 9103 from Aeroflex are, you guessed it, lightweight analysers which you can carry round with you in the field.

What are the different types of Spectrum Analysers?

Spectrum analysers come in different form factors, below are some of the different types of spectrum analysers you might come across:

  • Benchtop Spectrum Analysers
  • Portable Spectrum Analysers
  • Handheld Spectrum Analysers
  • Networked Spectrum Analysers

RF & MW Signal / Spectrum Analysers

A Spectrum Analyser measures the magnitude of an input signal versus frequency within the full frequency range of the instrument. The primary use is to measure the power of the spectrum of known and unknown signals.

Read More about RF & MW Signal / Spectrum Analysers

You Might also like

New software Updates on the Viavi 3920B and the 8800SX Auto-Test Applications

New Radio Test Set Applications and Updates for the VIAVI Solutions 3920 Series Radio Test Platform and the 8800 Series Digital Radio Test Set

VIAVI Solutions released new and updated Auto-Test Applications for the 3920 Series and the 8800 Series Radio Test Sets.

Read more
Interact for 5G Success

Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E - What do you need to test and why?

Any manufacturer releasing Wi-Fi enabled devices such as mobile phones, tablets, modems, access points and routers needs to ensure that they transmit compliant Wi-Fi signals which also meet regulatory limits set-out by telecom bodies such as OFCOM and the FCC.

Read more
Wi-Sun (Wireless Smart Utility Network) Test Equipment

What is Wi-Fi 6E and what benefits does it bring?

Wi-Fi 6E is the new name given to Wi-Fi 6 – Extended in the 6 GHz band. It was named by the Wi-Fi Alliance in order to distinguish IEEE 802.11ax devices capable of operating in the 6 GHz unlicensed band.

Read more

Sign up for the MCS Newsletter

You will receive all the latest test & measurement news and rental offers.