Programmable Attenuators

Written by Kelly Wand
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Programmable attenuators are used to regulate the power of RF signals. Employed extensively to regulate the distribution of signals to testing systems and other components, these units are essential pieces of good RF designs. Reduction of signal strength through the use of attenuators leads to many desirable results.

Programmable attenuators often spare systems from overload, which can cause loss of transmissions or damage to equipment. Signals in their native form are often too "hot" for some systems to handle, and the high amplitudes of such signals can lead to the difficulties mentioned above. While high amplitude is often a positive feature of a given signal, sometimes too much signal strength can be a bad thing.

Some systems are designed to handle only a certain range of signals. While system overload is not the inevitable result of too powerful a signal, there are many other side effects of such signals. Testing systems are especially prone to incorrect functioning when given too much gain, as they are very carefully calibrated to produce usable readings.

Programmable Attenuators

Programmable attenuators make dealing with different signal strengths a stress-free proposition. These devices are, as their name suggests, programmable, leading to less need for tweaking even when switching signals or applications. Such devices keep systems happy and healthy with a minimum of fuss.


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