What differentiates a high-end spectrum Analyzer from a more cost-effective Analyzer?

Most Test & Measurement companies offer high-end Spectrum Analyzers that are very expensive and lower cost alternatives. Many of these cover the same frequency ranges. What is the main difference between the products?

1 Answer
Can you answer this question?

Dr. Michael Simon, Application Support for Spectrum Analysis - Rohde & Schwarz

Jul 6, 2019

The answer depends on the intended application of the spectrum analyzer. An average user will usually have to think about performance to price ratio, and what will the purpose of their spectrum analyzer be. For others top performance is required for specific tests, and they will need a spectrum analyzer with a frequency range of up to 85 GHz.

Some analyzers offer additional advanced features that are unnecessary for many, but those features enable them to perform certain complex measurements more quickly, something that is not required for average applications.

For example, handheld analyzers are focused on providing the best possible performance in a form that is light, easy to carry and offer a great battery life. They provide quick and easy measurements in the desired frequency range. A good example of a handheld instrument is the R&S®Spectrum Rider FPH that can offer up to 8 hours of battery life, weighs only 2.5 kg, and can support up to 31 GHz.

Benchtop spectrum analyzers are optimized to have constant access to AC power, and can be found in specialized labs and production areas. They offer advanced features, as well as improved cooling for heat dissipation, making them perfect for complex measurements. They are heavier, and designed to focus on top performance, they are not always easy to carry around and they will use a lot of power during intensive measurements.

Top-of-the-class spectrum analyzers help with even the most demanding tasks – and usually have a wider internal analysis bandwidth up to 5 GHz that allows for characterization of complex systems. They also have lower phase noise, and a wider frequency range. For example, the R&S®FSW signal and spectrum analyzer supports the frequency range from 2 Hz to 90 GHz, and up to 500 GHz when combined with external harmonics mixers available from Rohde & Schwarz.

Users can select different spectrum analyzers based on their performance, their form, their price, and their future application.


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