White PaperTest & Measurement

Fundamentals of An RF Design


In a wireless or radio-frequency (RF) system, we are typically communicating through free space or air, as opposed to through a wire or a fiber network. In early applications, it was more common to have a one-way path for the RF signals in RF design. Today, data is a major part of the communicated information where there is a two-way path for the RF signals.

This white paper covers the fundamentals of designing an RF communication system, including coverage on the transmission medium, wave propagation, free space path loss, transmit and receive portion, link design and other key components. It also discusses the required test equipment and considerations during the design, development, and verification processes.

Throughout the design process, it is important to evaluate the performance of your components and systems using test equipment that will verify your designs from prototypes through manufacturing and even field operations. This test equipment can be used to verify not only the total performance of the system but also to replace parts of the system, which may not be available at test time. This white paper also provides a brief review of the most common types of test equipment for performing this verification.

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