A device that is used route and pass signals having high frequency, in the field of electronics and telecommunications is called an RF switch box. The routing of electromagnetic signals is managed through specific transmission paths, which are integral factors associated with radio-frequency transmissions. Entire systems, which consist of electronic devices and similar instruments, make use of RF switch boxes while the systems are being tested.

An RF switch box can also be used to switch between multiple systems, apart from routing between single devices. In few words, one can say that an RF switch box enables performing of multiple testing processes, simultaneously. The box unit can be set up along a switch matrix, in line with the transmission paths.

While testing, the entire process is automated. Such automation helps to generate greater production output from the system in less time period, while using RF frequency to manage communications. Radar technology, cell phone communication, microwave applications, radio communications, satellite communications, and many others, are some of the fields where RF switches are extensively used. While choosing to buy RF switch box, businesses need to keep few aspects in mind. Considering these aspects can definitely help the business to choose the most appropriate ones, which can further enable them to manage communication and signal transmissions. These aspects depend on factors such as switch type, condition of switches, material used, etc. Few of these factors are briefly explained below.

Signal Isolation

An RF switch module may be made up of multiple circuits, which are utilized as per necessity. All these circuits are connected to each other. In this case, whenever a signal input occurs, the signal magnitude may get coupled across an open circuit. This coupling may cause a loss of signal frequency, along separate circuits that are installed in an RF circuit box. Loss of signal frequency also indicates signal leakage. Such loss may cause decrease in quality of signal passed during the transmission. This coupling and subsequent leakage can be decreased with the help of signal isolation aspect, that is an integral part of every device that uses RF sources. Thus, to ensure that the chosen switch box fulfills the requirement, before choosing such devices, businesses should check their isolation potentials at specific signals (digikey.com, CHOOSING AN RF SWITCH, 2012).

Signal Insertion Loss

If the transmission line length is greater than 0.01 of the signal’s wavelength, there are chances of decreasing signal strength, along with occasional loss of signal, entirely (digikey.com, CHOOSING AN RF SWITCH, 2012). Alternatively, this also is called attenuation of signal strength and is known as insertion loss. Apart from the line length ratio, other causes of this loss are: material capacitance, inductance, conductance, etc. The loss can be measured and treated as a standard specification that is related to a specific input frequency, using RF switches. Businesses can make sure that for a specific bandwidth, the existing insertion loss does not hamper any associated applications, by using RF switches to measure the loss.

There are several other aspects related to an RF switch box such as power required, switching speed, operating life, etc., apart from insertion loss and signal isolation. A complete understanding of these aspects is very essential, if businesses want to make sure that their communications and transmissions operate as perfectly as possible.

“The above opinions are purely the reflection of the author’s point of view. They do not reflect the position of Ranatec.”