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What Is Real-time Power Processing & Its Impact on RF Power Measurement?

Boonton Real-time Power ProcessingTM (RTPP) a digital signal processing methodology that says goodbye to convention and hello to signal acquisition free of any gaps or latency.

Let's take a look at the limitations of traditional signal processing and how RTPP paves an improved path for RF power measurements.

Conventional Signal Processing

The conventional approach captures samples along a waveform, enough to create a signal trace on a display.

Acquisition then stops to perform various processing steps. These stages, which occur sequentially, include trigger-based adjustments, linearity corrections, unit conversion and scaling, and the creation of the waveform trace.

Remember that signal acquisition is at a standstill until the completion of the long serial processing cycle.

It is this conduct that reveals a significant limitation with conventional signal processing. This pause in signal acquisition culminates in a wasted time interval where vital information can be lost and excluded from analysis. If critical waveform events (e.g., dropouts) occur intermittently along a waveform, their existence could go completely unnoticed during testing.

Standard RF power sensors, therefore, are limited by prolonged gaps between triggered sweeps that can miss signal phenomena essential for accurate characterization, evaluation, and fault-finding.

RTPP Technology

How can power sensors surpass the constraints of traditional processing? The answer lies in Boonton RTPP.

Signal acquisition is never halted. Instead, waveform samples are captured and processed in parallel to the acquisition. Fears that events may be hiding in long acquisition gaps are thwarted, since RTPP technology ensures measurements without lapses or latency.


The “Principles of RF & Microwave Power Measurement” webinar from Boonton touches on this very subject, stating:

“Boonton’s RTPP reduces the total time for sample acquisition and processing by performing steps in parallel, beginning immediately after the trigger instead of waiting for the end of the acquisition cycle, eliminating the need to halt acquisition for trace processing. Therefore, RTPP delivers gap-free signal acquisition that virtually guarantees the capture of intermittent signal phenomena such as transients, dropouts, or interference, which are most often missed by the latency of conventional test systems.”

For a snapshot view of RTPP, download the Boonton poster on the fundamentals of power measurement.

RTPP in Action

Boonton RTP5000 Series and RTP4000 Series RF power sensors utilize RTPP to deliver the fastest measurement rate of 100,000 measurements per second with zero dead time. Moreover, RTPP works in conjunction with a free Boonton software application – the RTP Series Measurement Buffer Mode Application – to enable extended measurement windows.

With this performance, RTPP-backed sensors can aid many applications in a myriad of industries, including but not limited to the semiconductor, defense, aerospace, medical, and communications industries. For example:

When it comes to RF power measurements, never miss a pulse, glitch, or waveform detail again with RTPP.