As the use of wireless devices, services and applications grow then RF interference becomes a fact of life and an important issue that affects the integrity and performance of all forms of wireless communication.

For analog systems the first indications of RF interference are noisy links. For digital systems, RF interference degrades performance by limiting the range of RF signal transmissions, causing data packets to be blocked or dropped, and low data rates. RF interference naturally affects reception first, where RF signal levels are normally small.

With wireless systems it is very difficult to predict the propagation of radio waves and detect the presence of interfering signals without the use of test equipment. Radio waves don’t travel the same distance in all directions — instead walls, doors, elevator shafts, people, and other obstacles offer varying degrees of attenuation, which cause the radio frequency (RF) radiation pattern to be irregular and unpredictable. In order to achieve optimal reliability and throughput for our wireless systems it is necessary to detect and identify sources of interference that impact negatively on its performance. And once the wireless system is working well it makes sense to continuously monitor for sources of RF interference that may occur at any time.

An RF spectrum analyzer is the instrument of choice for initially detecting and identifying sources of RF interference and then subsequently used to monitor the health of a wireless system. An RF spectrum analyzer is a basic tool used for observing transmitted radio frequency signals – and aids the user by providing a view into the local RF environment. This RF view can be used to help detect the presence of RF transmissions that are the source of interference. Armed with this information you can attempt to track down and eliminate the source of RF interference. Alternatively, you could choose to re-configure your own wireless gear to operate in a different freqency range of the RF spectrum that is less prone to RF interference from other wireless devices competing for bandwidth within the same frequency range.

RF Explorer – Low-Cost, Portable RF Spectrum Analyzers

RF Explorer is a new series of low-cost, portable, RF spectrum analyzers. The price-performance of these RF spectrum analyzers is truly remarkable and unmatched in the market — nothing else comes close. RF Explorer spectrum analyzers operate both standalone as handheld devices, plus they interface via USB cable to a PC running more sophisticated data acquisition and analysis software. Prices for these RF spectrum analyzers (including PC software) begin at $119 USD — which is unheard of in the test equipment industry.

Touchstone Pro – RF Spectrum Analyzer Software

Touchstone software turns data collected from RF Explorer spectrum analyzers into highly graphical charts and displays, enabling users to more readily visualize the RF environment, monitor RF signals, troubleshoot RF issues, and detect sources of RF interference. There are two different variations of the software — standard and professional. The standard version is free and the professional version is only $49 USD.

Clear Waves – RF Spectrum Analyzer and Frequency Coordination (Intermodulation Analysis)

Introducing the latest development in RF spectrum monitoring — Clear Waves is the next generation of PC-based, RF spectrum analyzer for the wireless pro audio and video industries that offers automatic charting of open white space, frequency coordination and channel assignment.

Take the guess work out of configuring your wireless audio gear — Clear Waves enables you to choose the optimal channel assignments — free of RF interference and intermodulation distortion (IMD). Clear Waves offers detailed RF spectrum scans using easy to view, graphical displays, along with interference-free channel assignments. Real-time RF spectrum analysis combined with our intermodulation distortion (IMD) module delivers optimal channel assignments for even the most demanding RF environments.

To learn more about Wi-Fi diagnostic tools, please visit our site at www.NutsAboutNets.com.
To learn more about RF Explorer, handheld RF spectrum analyzer, please visit our site at www.RFExplorer.com.

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