Spectrum analyzers aim for IoT projects

By Chris Edwards |  No Comments  |  Posted: March 22, 2016
Topics/Categories: Blog - Embedded, PCB  |  Tags: , , ,  | Organizations:

Tektronix has aimed a pair of RF instruments at the growing number of engineering teams trying to incorporate low-power wireless communications into their designs.

The instruments follow on from the RSA306 launched last year, which was Tektronix’ foray into USB-attached low-cost spectrum analyzers designed to cost about two-thirds of traditional designs. The RSA500 and RSA600 analyzers offer frequency coverage from 9kHz up to 7.5GHz with 40MHz acquisition bandwidth. The RSA500 is a portable, battery-powered unit for in-field testing and commissioning; the RSA600 is aimed at benchtop use.

Dean Miles, technical marketing manager for Tektronix in EMEA, said: “The RF spec starts to compete with the performance of spectrum analyzers that were sitting in the $30k block.”

A 3GHz instrument costs around $6000; the price rises to around $10,000 for a 7.5GHz system.

Using the SignalVu software running on a host PC, the instruments are intended to give engineers who are relatively new to RF design assistance in making sure the transmissions are within spec.

Miles said the software uses a signal database of common protocols to determine the most likely candidate, such as Bluetooth or 3G, for a given measurement and then perform pass/fail analyses. “Proprietary signals can be stored as references and used in the field,” Miles said.

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