Matrix Switch

Written by Kevin Little
Bookmark and Share

Matrix switches are the centerpieces of RF systems. Matrix switches make it possible for incoming signals to be routed to many different screens in a seamless manner. There are, of course, many other components that make such voice and data transfers possible, and sorting through these components can be a gargantuan task to the new user.

Why are so many devices needed to transmit RF signals? The process of transmitting voice and data streams is, by nature, a rather inexact science. Signals are prone to weakening when sent over long distances, no matter how proficient the design of the cables, antennas or receivers involved. Other problems arise when transmitting signals of high amplitude or frequency. These problems must be dealt with long before a transmission reaches its intended matrix switch.

The Road to the Matrix Switch

Certain steps must be taken to ensure that a signal reaches a matrix switch intact. Though signals dissipate over distance, there are several strategies that can be employed to strengthen signals. Repeaters, which heighten the amplitude of signals, can be placed along cable lines at certain intervals to produce a clearer signal. Signals can also be sent at high amplitudes to begin with, as strong signals are better able to be transferred completely, even when signal loss is factored into the equation.

Of course, additional problems arise when sending strong signals. Some systems are simply not set up to receive signals above a certain amplitude or frequency. Even systems that can handle such signals are prone to reflection, which occurs when a signal bounces back along its initial route.

Fixing RF Problems

Reflection can be very harmful to an RF transmission. The reverberation of a signal causes electrical noise along the affected line. This disturbance can disrupt incoming transmissions, and even end them altogether.

The key to stopping reflection is the use of an attenuator. Attenuators weaken signals, allowing systems to more readily use high amplitude signals. Attenuators also work to stem the tide of reflection, leaving channels free and clear for incoming data streams.

The Good Side of RF

So far, we've only discussed the problems involved in completing successful RF transmissions. There is good news on the horizon. Once RF signals reach their destinations, they can be used in a number of different ways, thanks to powerful matrix switches.

Matrix switches allow for the wide-scale distribution of RF transmissions among different users. These components are designed with identical numbers of inputs and outputs. One signal can be routed through a single output, or through all outputs at once! This feature is useful in a number of different fields. Computing networks obviously benefit from such versatility, as the same data can be transmitted to many computer terminals at once. Applications that involve RF testing are also aided by the flexibility of matrix switches, as signals can be quickly and easily compared.

Bookmark and Share