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Digital Spectrum Analysis for Interference Detection and Analysis
With the advent of new digital technology it is now possible to detect and analyze interference anywhere within the bandwidth of a main carrier without having to drop the main carrier from service. This paper covers the technology in use today and the latest developments in the area of Interference Detection and Analysis

Commercial satellite operators have been trying to minimize interference from first operation. To meet market demand for more bandwidth, commercial satellites operators have pioneered: • • • New frequency bands, Frequency re-use through polarity diversity and the use of multiple beams Closing the spacing between satellites on the geo stationary arc.

Although these innovations led to greater available bandwidth they also brought higher probability of interference occurring. Much of the interference is accidental, such as crosspol bleed through, adjacent satellite interference and the wrong time wrong place type of interference, where a signal is being transmitted either at the wrong time or at the wrong frequency or polarity. The main tool for minimizing and tracking down interference has been the spectrum analyzer. Using computers brings automation to the use of spectrum analyzers for measuring RF signals. The spectrum analyzer can provide quality of service type measurements such as carrier power, occupied bandwidth (OBW), signal to noise (C/N). Other parameters can be calculated from the frequency domain data, such as center frequency (CF), satellite EIRP and carrier power to noise density (C/No). It is also SAT Proprietary Information August 2005

the system then simply confirms the parameters and can produce measurements such as Eb/No and Error Vector Magnitude (EVM).sat. SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 . just much faster spectrum measurements.SAT CORPORATION www. The fist generation of DSA produced only spectrum measurements much like a spectrum analyzer. The second and third generations of DSA make use of new digitizer technology with greater instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous dynamic range.. or deal with time varying signals. When combined with the latest cost effective powerful computers and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms. feel and measurement capability of the traditional spectrum analyzer. What a spectrum analyzer can not do is determine if the signal spectrum is made up of a single carrier or multiple carriers layered on top of each other. Second and third generation DSA instruments determine modulation type and symbol rate without any prior knowledge of the carrier and then measure Eb/No and EVM. either with manual or automatic functions. capable of time domain measurements as well as providing the look. Interference Detection Techniques The first step in detecting interference is to determine the modulation type of the carrier or signal. Digital Spectrum Analyzers Digital spectrum analyzers have been in use for 10 years or more. Many instruments can measure the modulation parameters of a carrier if they first have some knowledge of the carrier. However there are very few options that can provide full bandwidth carrier under carrier interference analysis. Satellite operators are now moving from spectrum analyzers to digital spectrum analyzers. they provide fast spectrum measurements as well as time domain measurements. such as modulation type and expected symbol rate. There are many potential suppliers of DSA technology with some degree of interference detection "An Integral Systems Company" possible to detect interference in empty spectrum slots.

com "An Integral Systems Company" Once these first level of measurements have been made it is then possible to take the EVM time stream data (there is one EVM measurement for every symbol of the main carrier) and create a residual spectrum.sat.SAT CORPORATION www. The residual spectrum is the noise or interference spectrum within the main carrier. Third generation instruments use an enhanced technique that provides a residual spectrum that covers the entire bandwidth of the carrier. hence does not cover the entire bandwidth of the main carrier. see figure 2. An example of a typical output of this second generation technique is shown is figure 1 Figure 1: Second Generation DSA Interference Display The total spectral bandwidth of the residual signal is equivalent to the symbol rate of the main carrier. SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 .

C/I. SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 . Eb/No and spectral carrier detection techniques on the residual trace it is possible to determine if there is an interference problem and if the interference is caused by another carrier or "An Integral Systems Company" Figure 2: Third Generation DSA Interference Display Using C/No.sat.SAT CORPORATION www.

sat. This in itself can be enough to assist with determining the source of interference. it tells us that interference is present. SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 . For this type of DSA the interfering carrier needs to be in the center on the main carrier and also needs to be less than half the symbol rate of the main carrier in order to be displayed correctly. however as Figures 3 and 4 show second generation DSA’s do not always detect or show the whole story. Spectral analysis and any further time domain analysis is "An Integral Systems Company" Interference Analysis Interference detection provides the first stage of information.SAT CORPORATION www. Figure 3 and 4 show examples of the problems that can occur. A second generation DSA is limited in the display of interference.

SAT CORPORATION "An Integral Systems Company" Second Generation DSA Third Generation DSA Figure 3: Interference -2MHz from Center Frequency SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 .

com "An Integral Systems Company" Second Generation DSA Third Generation DSA Figure 4: Interference is same BW as main Carrier SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 .SAT CORPORATION www.sat.

A second generation DSA is limited in the analysis that can be performed. symbol rate and FEC as well as bandwidth.sat. These parameters can be used to rapidly search databases to help determine the source of the interference.SAT CORPORATION www. Figure 5: Third Generation DSA with Interference Analysis SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 . and can analyze these interfering carrier in the time domain and produce modulation "An Integral Systems Company" Once it has been determined that interference exists it is possible to perform analysis on the interfering signal. center frequency. Third generation DSAs are capable of displaying interferers up to the same bandwidth as the main carrier.

Bandwidth and center frequency can be measured with out removing the main carrier.SAT CORPORATION www. Figure 6 shows that two carriers can easily be analyzed.sat. These parameters can be used to search databases and/or provided to satellite providers (including adjacent satellite) to determine the source of interference or handed off to geo-location systems. FEC. Figure 6 Analysis of Multiple Interferers It is now possible to analyze interference to the extent that carrier parameters such as Modulation type. Symbol Rate/Data Rate. SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 .com "An Integral Systems Company" It is also possible to analyze multiple carriers that may be causing interference.

SAT CORPORATION SAT Proprietary Information August 2005 +1 408 530 1020 x232 www. All measurement data including constellation plots are time stamped and saved in SQL compliant databases. Either as a stand alone instrument SAT-DSA complete with APIs for integration into custom measurement systems or as an IDSP instrument as part of Monics. SAT has been developing satellite measurement systems for over 15 years and pioneered the use of second generation DSA into the commercial satellite market. The latest third generation of DSA products from SAT can capture an 85MHz wide carrier and complete interference detection and analysis as part of an automatic monitoring "An Integral Systems Company" Third Generation DSA Third generation DSAs are available from SAT Corporation. For more information contact Doug Krudop Dkrudop@sat.