Advantages of Spectrum Analyzer | disadvantages of Spectrum Analyzer

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Spectrum Analyzer. It mentions Spectrum Analyzer advantages or benefits and Spectrum Analyzer disadvantages or drawbacks.

The spectrum analyzer is frequency domain measurements tool unlike oscilloscope used for time domain measurements. RF Spectrum analyzer is used to measure power level, spurious, harmonics, sidebands, phase noise etc. The spectrum analyzers measure RF/Microwave signal in real time.

Spectrum Analyzer

The figure-1 depicts RF spectrum analyzer from R&S used for measurements upto 30 GHz. There are various types of spectrum analyzers viz. swept spectrum analyzer, FFT spectrum analyzer, real time spectrum analyzer (RTSA) and audio spectrum analyzer. Each of these types have their own respective advantages and disadvantages. We will highlight generic merits and demerits of these types of spectrum analyzer.

Benefits or advantages of Spectrum Analyzer

Following are the benefits or advantages of Spectrum Analyzer:
➨Swept type operates up to frequencies in many GHz.
➨FFT spectrum analyzer can analyze signals very faster and sample by sample. It also captures and analyzes phase related informations of the signal.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Spectrum Analyzer

Following are the disadvantages of Spectrum Analyzer:
➨Swept type can detect only CW signals without any phase informations.
➨FFT analyze can not work in higher RF frequencies due to limitations on sampling rate of ADC (Analog to Digital Converter). More it will have limitations on bandwidth supported by the spectrum analyzer.

Conclusion: Modern RTSA (Real Time Spectrum Analyzer) utilizes both super heterodyne and FFT concepts with large amount of memory to provide benefits of both of these types in a single unit.

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