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Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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WLAN RF TEST - RF Cafe Forums

RF Cafe Forums closed its virtual doors in 2012 mainly due to other social media platforms dominating public commenting venues. RF Cafe Forums began sometime around August of 2003 and was quite well-attended for many years. By 2010, Facebook and Twitter were overwhelmingly dominating online personal interaction, and RF Cafe Forums activity dropped off precipitously. Regardless, there are still lots of great posts in the archive that ware worth looking at. Below are the old forum threads, including responses to the original posts.

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 Post subject: WLAN RF TEST
Posted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:42 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:07 am

Posts: 37

Hase anyone found a relatively cheap way to make WLAN RF measurements (802.11 a/b/g). I need to measure EVM, clipping, phase errors, phase noise, etc. There seem to be a lot of $70K solutions out there. Anything worthwhile in the $5 K range.

It would also be nice if it could do other measurements, such as data demod for FSK and DSSS ISM band links.

I do have a TEK MSO4104 and was wondering if I could downconver into it, and interface it to Matlab and do the RF measurements?



Maguffin Microwave Consulting


 Post subject: Re: WLAN RF TEST
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:49 am 

Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 8:13 pm

Posts: 8

If you're looking to do meaningful measurements, then really nothing short of a communications analyzer will do the job. Trying to sample with MS4104 will probaly introduce errors because it is impossible to discern how successful your downconversion is (introduction of intermods and other nonlinearities).

Have you looked into renting a piece of TE from a place like Test Equipment Connection, Alliance Test Equipment, etc. (there are a lot of companies listed on this website)? For a couple grand, you can get one for a month.

 Post subject: Re: WLAN RF TEST
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:07 am

Posts: 37

I am looking at used test equipment. My concern is that things change SOOOO fast nowadays, and communications gear software becomes obsolete and non-supported in a wink of an eye. I was wondering if the best way was to 1)get a dedicated piece of gear, like a VSA, and make sure it is current enough to still be supported, and add the measurement personalities as needed, or 2)i/Q downconvert the signal myself, and import it into Matlab or NILabview, and do the processing there.

I am a consultant, and therefore need low cost but also the flexibility to work with anything a customer throws at me. For instance, if I had a dedicated VSA, and I got a number of LTE test jobs, I would have some trouble upgrading unless the VSA was one of the latest models.



Maguffin Microwave Consulting



Posted  11/12/2012

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