Sources and Effects of Radio Frequency Interference

By Tunde Sofolahan

Radio frequency interference (RFI) is a serious challenge confronting radio wave propagation. RFI is all around us.

It can come from natural phenomena like lightning and sun spots to a diverse of man-made sources. Basically, those trying to protect or prevent against interference signals are more concerned with man-made sources.

Here are some examples of man-made sources:

1. High power broadcast systems such as AM/FM radio and TV transmitters.

2. 2-way Radio

3. Paging

4. Mobile telephones

5. Public safety and emergency communication systems

6. WiFi WLAN systems

7. Bluetooth system

8. Microwave ovens

9. Power lines

10. Transformers

11. Medical Equipments

And so on. Each of these sources produce RF energy as they perform their various functions. If any of these equipment is using the frequency channel of your radio equipment and is very close, there will be a serious interference.

In a severe situation, RFI can make RF based systems totally non-functional. It can cause an intrusion of music, conversation, noise or signal distortion. It can also create serious problems in system performance that are extremely difficult to trace back to the RFI. RFI can degrade or totally disrupt signal quality, raise bit error rate (BRT) to an unacceptable levels of over all performance, disrupt connectivity between two or more station, and lower system carrying capacity in common communication system.

Anticipating RFI and providing for its control, prevention and management of RFI are important aspects of communication engineering design.

A thorough study of Radio frequency environment is highly important. To achieve this, a site survey using spectrum analyzer equipment will reveal great information of interest.

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Article Source:

Lighthorse Technologies INC