What is Real-Time Bandwidth?

In a spectrum analyzer what does real time bandwidth mean?

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

Jul 6, 2019

This value represents the highest frequency that the spectrum analyzer can calculate without missing any data, or the widest frequency range for which the spectrum analyzer can continuously transform time domain data into frequency domain results. The real-time analysis in spectrum analyzers refers to a mode of gapless recording of spectra that captures even very short pulses.

This speed is influenced by many factors, but mostly by the speed of the digital signal processor (DSP) and the time it requires to calculate fast Fourier transform (FFT). If the frequencies are higher than the real-time bandwidth, then there will be gaps while the processor finishes all the required calculations.

This does not represent a problem for the information that is periodic and repeating. On the other hand, if the signal is a transient one, a chance exists that it might not be analyzed.


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