Rising demand for bandwidth is driving the growth in deployment of point-to-point radios in the 60 GHz band (V-Band). V-Band is unlicensed in the U.S. and serves as a complement to the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band. The unique characteristics of the signal allow for dense deployments using small cell or picocell technology. However, deployment in V-Band presents some challenges. Because signals in that frequency are susceptible to both atmospheric and rain attenuation, link distances are limited to 500 to 700 m (1600 to 2200 ft). With only a 5 mm wavelength, meeting link budgets requires unobstructed line of sight, careful link planning and proper antenna alignment. Until now, there have been no convenient tools to perform these tasks; reference solutions available on the market are large, complex and quite expensive.
In addition to data backhaul, the Wi-Fi Alliance has begun certifying devices for 60 GHz Wi-Fi, or WiGig. While the Alliance established a well-tried interoperability test bed for device certification, a portable solution for physical layer testing in deployed environments, one able to provide real-time information, has, so far, been unavailable.
Options have been limited to bringing large lab standards into the environment or using a portable spectrum analyzer that does not have a screen, then analyzing all the data in a post-measurement environment. SAF Tehnika has addressed these issues with the introduction of the J0SSAP60 Spectrum Compact spectrum analyzer. With a frequency range of 56 to 67 GHz, this is the latest addition to the Spectrum Compact family that already covers 2 to 40 GHz and 70 to 87 GHz.
As the first handheld spectrum analyzer on the market covering 56 to 67 GHz, the J0SSAP60 enables microwave engineers to observe what is going on in real-time. It does not use an external down-converter, working directly at V-Band frequencies. The analyzer has a fixed 10 MHz resolution bandwidth (RBW) and a guaranteed noise floor of ‐90 dBm. It comes with a wide-beam sniffer antenna that can be attached to the WR15 waveguide flange located on the back panel of the analyzer.
With a scan speed of 0.5 s at a 1 GHz span and the level of system gain, this spectrum analyzer is suitable for interference detection, free channel investigation, tower inspections from the ground and environmental mapping for indoor environments. The instrument can be used by mobile operators and private network owners in the planning stage to avoid interference that would adversely affect the performance of a link. For regulatory authorities, it is an asset for gaining insight into traffic levels and potential interference challenges in the band. The receiver’s high sensitivity allows users to perform tower inspections from the ground. For Wi-Fi engineers deploying WiGig, the Spectrum Compact can fully map the space, using the unit’s 4 GB of memory to save an almost unlimited number of spectrum traces for later analysis and reporting.
Once a V-Band system is deployed, a report of the signal density and propagation can be generated using the included Spectrum Manager software. In established environments, interference or signal loss caused by rogue RF or unwanted absorption can be investigated and remedied. Like the entire Spectrum Compact range, the J0SSAP60 is designed to be used comfortably for extended periods of time in a variety of challenging environments.
Battery powered, the instrument is useful for microwave radio engineers performing equipment installation, link troubleshooting or gathering data for planning. A key feature of the spectrum analyzer is its form factor: its dimensions are similar to those of a cell phone, as can be seen in Figure 1.
Instead of features that would only be useful in a laboratory environment, the Spectrum Compact has the qualities and functionality needed by microwave field engineers to efficiently perform their daily tasks: radio parameter verification, antenna alignment, interference and multipath detection, in-band power measurements, link troubleshooting and saving the spectrum traces for reports and later analysis. The analyzer utilizes a resistive touch screen, allowing operation while wearing gloves. The unit’s high sensitivity and low noise floor enable field engineers to detect exceptionally weak signals, making it possible to do multiple measurements from the ground and carry out link troubleshooting without site traffic interruptions.
A standard kit includes the spectrum analyzer and a small wide angle horn antenna, as shown in Figure 2. The V-Band antenna can be attached to a WR15 waveguide flange at the back of the analyzer, enabling detection and visualization of the incoming signal just by pointing at the transmitting radio. The J0SSAP60 is housed in a rugged dust and splash resistant IP54 rated enclosure. A weatherproof, dedicated DC charging socket enables fast charging; a fully charged unit has up to three hours of battery life.