Wideband RF RPA systems are widely used in commercial, aerospace, and defense markets. They digitize and store RF data in I/Q format (typically 16-bit/16-bit), support real-time and non-real-time analysis of the data, and, in some cases, convert it back to RF (playback) to stimulate devices under test (DUTs).
Wideband RF RPA systems are very data-transfer- and storage-intensive. A rule of thumb for data rate requirements for RF RPA systems is 5 bytes/second of I/Q data (16/16) per Hz of bandwidth. So, a single channel (1-CH), 500 MHz bandwidth wideband RF RPA system must sustain 2.5 GB/sec write and read speeds for the duration of the recording or playback session. At a 2.5 GB/sec data rate—which is about 10x the performance of a single SATA III 6gbps HDD—the data storage capacity requirements get very big, very quickly. The 500 MHz bandwidth 1-CH RF RPA system described above would need 2.5 GB/sec x 60 sec/min x 60 min/hour = 9 terabytes (TB) of storage to support just one hour of recording duration. The required data rates and capacities increase linearly with the number of channels and the bandwidth per channel in the system.