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Handheld V-Band Spectrum Analyzer for 56 to 67 GHz

17 2017 October

Rising demand for bandwidth is driving the growth in deployment of point to point radios in the 60 GHz band (V-Band). V-Band is unlicensed in the U.S. and serves as a complement to the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band. The unique characteristics of the signal allow for dense deployments using small cell or picocell technology.

Deployment in V-Band presents some unique challenges. Because signals in that frequency are susceptible to both atmospheric and rain attenuation, link distances are limited to 500 to 700 m (1600 to 2200 ft). With a 5 mm wavelength, unobstructed line of sight, careful link planning, and proper antenna alignment are essential to ensure that link budgets are met. Until now, there have been no convenient tools to perform these tasks. Reference solutions available on the market today are large, complex, and quite expensive.

In addition to data backhaul, The Wi-Fi Alliance has begun certifying devices for 60 GHz WI-Fi, or WiGig. The Alliance established a well-tried interoperability test bed for device certification. However, a portable solution for physical layer testing in deployed environments that is able to provide real-time information has so far been unavailable. So, the options have been limited to bringing large lab standards into the environment or using a screen-less portable spectrum analyzer and analyzing all the data in a post-processing environment.

SAF Tehnika has addressed these issues with the introduction of the J0SSAP60 Spectrum Compact spectrum analyzer with a frequency range of 56 to 67 GHz. This is the latest addition to the Spectrum Compact family that already covers 2 to 40 GHz and 70 to 87 GHz.

Characteristics

As the first handheld spectrum analyzer on the market covering the 56 to 67 GHz frequency bands, it enables microwave engineers to observe what’s going on in real time. It does not use an external down-converter but works directly with V-Band frequencies. The J0SSAP60 has a fixed 10 MHz resolution bandwidth (RBW) and a guaranteed noise floor of -90 dBm.

It comes with a wide beam sniffer antenna that can be attached to the waveguide flange (WR 12) located on the back panel of the analyzer. The scan speed of 0.5 seconds at 1 GHz span and the level of system gain make this spectrum analyzer suitable for interference detection, free channel investigation, tower inspections from ground level, and environmental mapping for indoor environments.

The instrument can be used by mobile operators and private network owners in the planning stage to avoid interference adversely affecting the performance of a link upon installation. For regulatory authorities, it’s a great asset for gaining insight into the traffic levels and potential interference challenges in the band. The receiver’s high sensitivity allows users to perform tower inspections from the ground. For Wi-Fi engineers deploying WiGig, the Spectrum Compact offers the ability to fully map the space and use the unit’s 4 GB of memory to save an almost unlimited number of spectrum traces for later analysis and reporting.

Once a system is deployed, a report of the signal density and propagation can be generated using the Spectrum Manager software that is included. In established environments, interference or signal loss caused by rogue RF or unwanted absorption can be investigated and remedied. Like the entire Spectrum Compact range, the J0SSAP60 is designed specifically for comfortable use for extended periods of time in a variety of challenging environments.

Watch our YouTube animated tutorials about Spectrum Compact applications here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SAFTehnika. Make sure you subscribe to our channel!

Being battery powered the instrument is suitable for microwave radio engineers performing equipment installation, link troubleshooting or gathering data for planning purposes. A key feature of the spectrum analyzer is its form factor – dimensions of the device are similar to those of a cell phone.

Field operation

Figure 2 The standard kit includes the spectrum analyzer and a small wide angle horn antenna.

Instead of focusing on features that would only be useful in a laboratory environment the Spectrum Compact has the qualities and functionality needed by microwave field engineers to efficiently perform their daily tasks: radio parameter verification, antenna alignment, interference and multipath detection, power in-band measurements, link troubleshooting and saving the spectrum traces for reports and later analysis.

The analyzer utilizes a resistive touchscreen, allowing operation while wearing gloves. The unit’s high sensitivity and low noise floor enable field engineers to detect exceptionally weak signals, which makes it possible to do multiple measurements from the ground level and carry out link troubleshooting without site traffic interruptions.

A standard kit includes the spectrum analyzer and a small wide-angle horn antenna. The V-Band antenna can be attached to a WR 12 waveguide flange at the back of the spectrum analyzer, enabling detection and visualization of the incoming signal just by pointing it towards the transmitting radio.

The J0SSAP60 is housed in a rugged dust and splash resistant IP54 rated enclosure. A weatherproof, dedicated DC charging socket enables fast charging, and a fully charged unit has up to three hours of battery life.

This article was originally posted in The Microwave Journal's October 2017 issue, and can be acessed here: http://www.microwavejournal.com/articles/29181-handheld-spectrum-analyzer-covers-56-to-67-ghz

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