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Comparing Narrowband and Wideband Channels (.PDF Download)

Feb. 7, 2018
Comparing Narrowband and Wideband Channels (.PDF Download)

Bandwidth is limited at all frequencies. This holds true whether we’re discussing those in the kilohertz range used for amplitude-modulated (AM) radio broadcasting; microwaves and millimeter waves for commercial and military radar systems; or those frequencies bands with the shortest-wavelength electromagnetic (EM) signals, including infrared (IR), ultraviolet (UV), x-rays, and gamma rays.

No single component, such as a filter or amplifier, has enough bandwidth to handle them all. But some components are designed for more narrowband use while some are wideband and can process (for example) a number of different communications frequency bands at the same time. It might make economic sense to use a single amplifier or filter rather than two of each to tackle two different frequency bands in a system. But just what are the tradeoffs (other than cost) in using wideband rather than narrowband components in an RF/microwave system?