In the last few days, I've seen announcements for upgraded or new versions of test equipment that accommodate a 160MHz channel bandwidth. For example, Teledyne LeCroy announced a new model of its Wavestation line of waveform generators with models that can produce signals up to 160MHz. The company has introduced 80MHz and 120MHz models as well.
Teledyne LeCroy Wavestation 3162, a 160MHz waveform generator.
This week, Tektronix announced that its RSA5000B real-time spectrum analyzers now have a capture bandwidth of 165MHz. In June, Agilent Technologies announced a 160MHz bandwidth specification for its MXA signal analyzers.
Textronix RSA5126B Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer has 165MHz capture bandwidth.
160MHz is the channel bandwidth specification for IEEE 802.11ac, the WiFi standard that makes a performance jump over the 40MHz IEEE 802.11n. The figure and table below show the signal spectrum and the bandwidth at several points.
The spectrum specification of an 802.11ac channel is 160MHz wide.
This table shows the bandwidths noted in the figure above, an IEEE 802.11ac channel.
Introduction to IEEE 802.11ac manufacturing test requirements explains the channel bandwidth in greater detail. Testing 802.11ac devices is necessary for both compliance to the standard and for inte4roperability among wireless devices.
While you'll unlikely need such bandwidth at home, the wider bandwidth and its greater data throughput will be a boost in public places such as at sporting events where many users want to connect their mobile devices at the same time. After all, why go to a football game if you not going to tweet every play, right?
—Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor