What is Noise Floor?

Test & Measurement 

What is the Noise Floor in RF Test Equipment?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

May 5, 2019

The Noise Floor is the signal created from adding up all the unwanted signals within a measurement system. The noise floor consists of noise from a number of sources which includes thermal noise, atmospheric noise and noise from components used to make the measurement system.

Noise floor is an important parameter in spectrum analyzers and vector network analyzers. It determines the lowest possible signal level that these systems can measure. For example, to measure a signal that is -140 dBm, the system must have a noise floor of less than -140 dBm.

In Spectrum Analyzers and VNA's the Noise Floor is called the Displayed Average Noise Level (DANL).