Guest Column | March 18, 2014

RF Signal Capture And The Beauty Of The Digital Domain

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By Jim Taber, director of sales and marketing, X-COM Systems

From defense systems to wireless communications networks, bandwidth is an issue to be reckoned with. In the defense industry, electronic warfare (EW) systems in particular have always needed as much of this commodity as it can get, but it has now been joined by radar systems that have operating bandwidths in excess of 1 GHz, which presents significant challenges for their designers as well as those who must measure their performance.

In the wireless world, the only way to meet the promised blistering data rates of LTE Advanced is to cobble together the required 100 MHz of bandwidth necessary to accommodate it. As contiguous spectrum is generally unavailable, wireless carriers are addressing the issue through a technique called “carrier aggregation.” The technique requires joining two bands or sections of bands at different frequencies that are assigned to a wireless service provider.