RF Interference

Every day, all around the world, RF interference costs customers millions of dollars in…  

  • Delayed product releases

  • Last minute fixes

  • Limited functionality

It doesn’t have to be that way!

At EMA, we have a team of experts dedicated to identifying and mitigating RF interference (RFI) problems. We have worked on RFI problems for decades helping commercial and military customers resolve complex interference problems. The earlier that customers get us involved with new designs, the more opportunity we have to positively impact the design through detailed analysis of the RF systems on the platform as well as those RF systems in the environment in which the platform will operate.

Interference between RF devices is one of the biggest challenges in designing and maintaining commercial and defense systems. These systems include ships, airplanes, drones, cell phones, satellites, automobiles and generally, anything that has RF systems installed in or on it. The problem is complex for a number of reasons including the broadband nature of the interference, the lack of detailed performance data, intermodulation products that occur when multiple systems interact with one another and a host of other reasons. Identifying and mitigating RF interference issues early in a design is critical as discovering an interference problem right before bringing a product to market or after it has been put into service can cost millions of dollars to fix the problem and lost revenue.

RF interference occurs when one or more source signals cause a victim system to not function properly. Interference can vary from non-critical annoyances to critical safety issues that can result in costly last-minute fixes or in extreme scenarios, loss of life. It is essential to perform RFI analysis early in the design phase of a program to identify and mitigate issues before they become reality. EMA utilizes an advanced software framework for managing RF system performance data, simulating interference and mitigating RFI issues. The analysis accounts for all of the RF systems on the platform and all of the possible channels that those RF systems operate over. It is important to consider both in-band and out-of-band interference when analyzing RF interference taking into account transmitter harmonics and spurious emissions as well as receiver mixer products and spurious responses. Further, when multiple RF systems are operating simultaneously, one must account for intermodulation products produced by nonlinear devices such as amplifiers.

EMA also offers measurement services to very accurately characterize the broadband performance of transmitters and receivers. The Automated Radio Measurement System (ARMS) is used to generate data for RFI analysis. Using high-fidelity measured data in an RFI analysis greatly improves the accuracy of the analysis.

As part of the RFI analysis, EMA employs commercially available computational electromagnetic (CEM) software tools such as Ansys HFSS and SBR+ to very accurately predict installed antenna patterns and antenna-to-antenna coupling. Measured antenna-to-antenna coupling data can also be used in the RFI analysis if available. The out-of-band performance of antennas is extremely important to quantify when performing an RFI analysis. Simple coupling models that do not accurately capture the out-of-band performance of the antennas may result in predicted interference problems that simply do not exist.

To learn more about how EMA can help your organization with RFI analysis, Contact Us.

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