In-field spectrum monitoring and signal identification with remote instrumentation head

April 10, 2013 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Narda Safety Test Solutions has expanded the range of functions of its Remote Spectrum Analyser: the NRA-3000 and NRA-6000 models now provide uninterrupted I/Q data as a real-time stream. At the same time, the number of samples for spectrum analysis has been increased to over 600 000.

The “Scope and I/Q Data” option for the NRA-3000 and NRA-6000 analyzers deliver data from signal sequences separated into the real (or in-phase) and the imaginary (quadrature) components. Coverage is uninterrupted up to a channel bandwidth of 400 kHz. The data are available as a gapless stream via TCP/IP or UDP. The NRA transfers the data in blocks of up to 250,000 points for channel bandwidths of up to 32 MHz. Remote commands similar to plain text allow for further evaluation using add-on software and hardware analysis tools. Additionally, the NRA is suitable for use as the RF frontend (DSP) in the satellite communications range, e.g. in measurement and control systems, where constellation diagrams and quantities such as MER (modulation error ratio), EVM (error vector magnitude) or Eb/NO (energy per bit to spectral noise density) are required.

The number of samples (bins) in Spectrum Analysis mode has been increased to more than 600 000. This means that users can, for example, measure a spectrum 6 GHz wide with a bin separation of about 10 kHz without needing to tune to different ranges, and with a free choice of one or more result types (instantaneous (actual) value, maximum value, average value, etc.).

The NRA provides authorities, measurement service providers and transmitter operators – especially teleport operators – with the means to monitor the spectrum locally or remotely (spectrum monitoring complying with ITU-T), to check the signal quality, to determine interference, and to make use of or lease unoccupied frequency gaps (multi-carrier spectrum filling).

Depending on the device type, Narda Remote Spectrum Analysers cover a frequency range from 9 kHz to 6 GHz with resolution bandwidths from 10 Hz up to 32 MHz. They can be integrated into any test and monitoring environment using an Ethernet interface (100BASE-TX) and plain text remote control commands in ASCII. Rapid transmission of large quantities of data is possible in binary format. The application-oriented operating modes