Need for EMC testing benefits spectrum-analyzer market

-August 01, 2008

World spectrum-analyzer market revenues from 2003 to 2008.

Electromagnetic compliance (EMC) remains a hot topic among regulatory groups and manufacturers. With the continued integration of electronics in consumer devices, there will be a significant increase in the number of possible electromagnetic sources present in any given environment. EMC testing, therefore, is necessary to guarantee the safe and effective operation of such products.

To combat the risks associated with electromagnetic interference (EMI), product manufacturers are adopting spectrum analyzers as reliable tools for EMC testing. Typically lightweight and feature-rich, spectrum analyzers can be used in conjunction with antennas, line impedance stabilization networks (LISNs), and near-field probes to find EMI radiation sources. The use of spectrum analyzers often saves time and money for engineers who do not wish to travel to an EMC lab for their compliance tests. Spectrum analyzers that can handle an 18-GHz frequency range are well suited for examining satellite communications systems’ operations, testing communications equipment, and fulfilling wireless system commissioning and troubleshooting.

There is a wide range of human risk associated with electromagnetic interference.

The communications industry is perhaps the most important area of growth for spectrum analyzers, as this sector continues to witness the deployment of new wireless networks and standards that must be tested for EMI. As technologies such as WiMAX, 3G wireless, and WCDMA continue to evolve, they are expected to contribute a significant proportion of revenues to the overall spectrum-analyzer market. Although spectrum analyzers have been known for their somewhat hefty price tag in the past, the introduction of lower-cost testers has made such devices more affordable and desirable to many end users. This is largely attributed to vendors who have moved toward the development of less-expensive handheld devices. With their small footprints and portable nature, such products allow for utility both in the field and on the bench. Despite the increased use of handheld devices, spectrum-analyzer vendors must realize that their revenues may be hindered by the availability of previously used systems currently in the market, which are prime options for R&D engineers who wish to minimize operating costs.

Even with used systems available, the mature spectrum-analyzer market will continue to experience modest growth, given its importance in EMC testing. The figure depicts market revenues from 2003 to 2007 and expected revenues for 2008. With a high degree of market competition and price sensitivity, vendors must understand the importance of developing products with enough features and capabilities to satisfy the testing needs of end users.

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