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Home / BLOG / Thunderbolt™ 3: Next generation connectivity for next generation spectrum monitoring

Thunderbolt™ 3: Next generation connectivity for next generation spectrum monitoring

2018-10-08T09:22:47+00:00

Radio receiver technology is advancing with larger available instantaneous bandwidths at high resolution. However, for desktop-based or portable systems connected to a PC, this higher performance is constrained by the relatively low speed data transfer capabilities available over USB. CRFS is pioneering Thunderbolt™ 3 connectivity in our portable spectrum monitoring solutions to enable full rate high fidelity 16-bit data transfer is achievable.




Many spectrum monitoring missions involve recording multiple channels over several hours or even days, accumulating massive amounts of data. Terabytes must be transferred to external storage at speeds well in excess of the 5 Gbps of USB 3.0. The real-time or instantaneous bandwidth specifications of receivers become meaningless if data transfer rates cannot keep up.

Thunderbolt 3 has four generation 3.0 PCIe lanes to provide 20 Gbps in full duplex (40 Gbps throughput) giving it the muscle that’s really needed for big data applications. That’s in addition to separate power and HD video connections. Thunderbolt ports also have the added convenience of allowing daisy chaining of up to 6 devices, so you’ll be running out of desk space before you run out of ports.

For those of you who like thin laptops and dislike spending half your life getting a USB cable the right way up, Thunderbolt is also available over the new USB-C cables with their identically-ended reversible connectors.

Given the outstanding high fidelity of our RFeye® receivers with instantaneous bandwidths of up to 100 MHz, Thunderbolt 3 compatibility was the obvious solution for ensuring users can take full advantage of this performance.

Thunderbolt 3 is just one of the technologies used to enable our RFeye Portable Recorder to perform long duration and high-fidelity recording of the spectrum.

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