Wireless signals are all around us. Wireless networks power our mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and more. Everything from basic video streaming to entire utility grids now depend on reliable, high speed, and uninterrupted connectivity. This new reality has placed increased pressure on spectrum monitoring users and is changing the requirements for spectrum analysis equipment.
Traditional, hardware-based spectrum analyzers no longer meet the needs of today’s complex, dense, and evolving spectrum environment. Users need the ability to network units together for remote deployment, portability to deploy in vehicles, and embedded Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) capabilities such as Global Positioning System (GPS) to conduct geolocation and direction finding applications.
To meet these needs, advances in software-defined radio (SDR) technologies have led to a new class of spectrum analysis equipment. Software-defined spectrum analysis platforms are designed and built for distributed spectrum monitoring and can be deployed in a variety of wireless sensor network (WSN) topologies depending on the application and requirements.
This article will show how SDR technologies, networkability, and embedded GPS capabilities combine to create a spectrum analyzer that is portable, versatile, and suitable for a variety of deployment scenarios for applications such as direction finding, interference hunting, coverage mapping, situational awareness, and wireless public safety and security.