The BBC has an article today on how an old television was found to be the source of radio interference that caused an entire village to lose internet connectivity. Radio interference can disrupt communications. Sometimes disruption to communications can be a matter of life and death. Other times it can simply be an annoyance.
So how do you detect such interference? With a Spectrum Analyzer.
Spectrum Analyzers are used to measure, visualize and analyze the Radio spectrum. Any signals out of the ordinary can be easily identified.
Here is an interesting video on the process of RF interference hunting – a process that was likely followed to pinpoint the old television as being the source of the problem.
Interference is unpredictable and can occur at any time. This makes it very frustrating. It is also very difficult to track down as RF signals can propagate in mysterious ways.
Most people experience the effects of RF interference almost every day – especially in Wi-Fi networks. In many situations, the Wi-Fi access point and system takes care of the problem so that the user does not notice it. However sometimes this interference manifests itself by way of a total disruption and disconnect from the network. At other times the quality of a video call can decline to a point that all you see is grainy images and lousy audio quality.
A special type of spectrum analyzer can be used to detect and analyze interference in Wi-Fi systems. This analyzer only operates in the ISM bands and provides additional visual features and functionality appropriate to the task of interference hunting in these bands.
Over time, with the growth of wireless we will have more and more RF signals operating around us. We are also going to experience more issues with radio interference and it will be interesting so see how this issue will be managed and mitigated in the future.