Product Details
 

Power Divider / Splitter

BASIC PRODUCT DETAILS

RF POWER DIVIDER / SPLITTER

RF Power Divider is a passive RF device used to split an input signal into multiple output signals with minimal losses. Power divider will have 1 port are input and many ( Two or more) output ports. 

Power dividers are widely used in RF and Microwave wireless systems to transmit the RF signal from the output port of one system like a transmitter into multiple systems like receivers.

What is a power divider?

Types of Power dividers.

Difference between power divider and splitter.

Applications of Power divider.

What specifications need to consider in the selection?

Power divider Manufactures.

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Design and Application

What is a power divider?

A power divider is a component used to divide an incoming signal into multiple output signals as per the no of output ports. Power dividers are a reciprocal component. As the name implies RF power divider, is designed to split an RF or Microwave singles.

  • The same design circuits of power splitter are used to design the power combine, the only difference being in the port on which RF power is applied. 

A power divider can use as a power combiner by feeding an RF signal into the output port and taking the signal from the input port of the power divider, when power divider used as a combiner, in the input port we will get the power combined signals which feed to the output port.

  • For use as an RF divider, RF signal needs to feed to one port (input port ) and extracted from other ports (Output ports), and for the RF combiner application, power needs to feed in opposite direction.

Power dividers can make with any number of output ports. As the no of output ports increases loss of the output signal also increases. The signal power reduction due to division can be calculated as mentioned in the table with different numbers of outputs is given below. During the signal power loss, there is no loss of actual signal only the strength of the signal is reduced. For 2 way divider power become half, I.e. output signal strength reduced by 3 dB, and power loss will be doubled as the no of output ports doubles.

SPLITTER DIVISION REDUCTION LOSS TABLE

 

 

NUMBER OF
OUTPUT PORTS

THEORETICAL
DIVISION REDUCTION (DB)

2

3.0

3

4.8

4

6.0

5

7.0

6

7.8

8

9.0

10

10.0


The losses tabulated for the signal are theoretical. In reality, due to imperfection in design, some more loss will introduce into the chain. This loss is called "insertion loss" which need to add to the division loss in any loss calculations for system design purpose.

The T-Junction power divider can be designed on any simple 3-port network and can be easily implemented in any kind of transmission medium like a co-planar waveguide, microstrip, strip-line, etc.

RF Power Splitter & Combiner types:

There are three broad categories of RF splitters / Dividers. As per the user requirement, dividers can be designed for 50 Ohm or 75 Ohm impedance.

Resistive Power Divider:  

These power dividers and combiners are designed with resistors. These dividers are able to maintain the characteristic impedance in the ports. As it is designed by using resistors, it causes to introduces more loss in the output ports. Resistive power dividers are cheap and easy to make. Resistive power divider acts as an RF hub for power division.

Hybrid power Divider:  

Hybrid dividers designed using transformers and it helps to reduce the loss between the input and output ports. There are only a few physical losses in the transformer. As it is using the transformer technology to make the power dividers, it will be slightly costlier than resistive power dividers.

Wilkinson power dividers:

The Wilkinson power divider is a reactive power divider. This power divider is designed using two, parallel, uncoupled quarter-wavelength transmission line transformers.  

As it is designed using transmission lines, it is difficult to make the power dividers for very low frequencies such as frequencies less than 500 MHz. In Wilkinson, the power divider resistor between the output ports provides matching impedance with good isolation. In Wilkinson, power divide output ports will have the signals of the same amplitude and phase. Reactive power dividers typically have 20dB isolation between the output ports.

Splitter and combiner symbols:

The below images are self-explanatory about the operation and have a function description on the symbol. P1 is the input port and p2 and P3 are the output ports for the 2-way power divider. The number of output ports based on the number of output divisions. The strength of the signal in P2 and P3 are half of the signal in port P1.

The power combiner will have the reverse symbol of the power divider. The input signal is feed to ports P1 and P2 and the output signal will get in port P3, which is the combination of signal feed-in P1 and P1.

Applications:

  • RF power divider is used to distribute the RF power among various paths.
  • RF power divider can be used as a combiner when it connects in the reverse direction and it is used for combining the RF signals from multiple channels and feed into a system.
  • Wilkinson Power Divider is used for applications where users need isolation between the output ports and need to maintain a matched condition on all ports.
  • Power dividers enable users to use the same signal in another circuit.
  • Power splitter basically used for the ratio measurements in RF circuits.

RF power Divider vs Splitter:

The resistor configuration used to separate the power is the fundamental difference between power splitters and power dividers. In the power divider, 3 resistors are used for power division but for Power splitter uses only 2 resistors. The power splitter is used for the ratio measurement and the Power divider is used for simple power division among the channels.

Can an RF Splitter be used as a combiner?

In General design, every RF splitter can be used as a combiner by connecting in the reverse direction to the ports. In most RF power dividers the RF signals pass back and forth directions. If an RF divider does not suppose to work as bidirectional it has to design especially.

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Basics & Selection Feature

Main specifications need to consider in selection.

Frequency Range :

RF frequency needs to select as per the application, There are many manufacturers available with a wide range of frequency bands covering up to the W band.

Type :

Different types of power dividers are available like co-axial, microstrip, waveguide… For lower frequencies, co-axial power dividers will be ideal and for higher frequencies, microstrip and waveguides are available.

VSWR:

If VSWR is lower, power divider performance is better. Ideal VSWR is in the range of 1.1:1 for the full band of operation.

Insertion Loss:

Need to select the power divider with lower insertion loss. If Insertion loss is more output signal strength is much lower than the division loss I.e sum of division loss and insertion loss.

Amplitude Tracking:

Amplitude tracking is the variation of amplitude among the output channels. If Amplitudes track of ± 0.1 dB throughout the band of operation is an acceptable variation.

RF Input Power:

Power handling is one of the prime features that needs to consider, Power handling capability of the input port of power dividers should be at least 3 dB more than the expected maximum input power for the safe operation.

Operating Temperature Range :

The operating range of -40ºC to +85ºC is ideal for normal ground testing applications. For space-grade, it is better to have a wide operating range as per the expected surrounding temperature conditions.

Impedance :

50 Ohms and 75 Ohms are the nominal available impedance designed by the manufacturers. If any specific impedance is needed, need to inform the manufacturers of the custom design.

RF Connectors:

Power dividers will available with many options of the RF connectors like SMA, N, BNC, TNC… As per the application need to select

Physical Size:

Physical size and the position of the mounting screw need to select as per the design space availability.

Conclusion:

RF and Microwave power splitters are available from many manufacturers in different form factors and sizes. Designers can select a suitable RF power divider as per the suitability of the design. Most of the RF splitters can be used as combiners if connected in the reverse direction.

Thanks & Regards

RFMWC: RF & Microwave Community

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