Spectrum Analyzer Measurement Guide : Spectrum Analyzer : Video Bandwidth
Video Bandwidth
Spectrum analyzers typically use another type of filtering after the detector called video filtering. This filter also affects the noise on the display but in a different manner than the resolution bandwidth. In video filtering, the average level of the noise remains the same, but the variation in the noise is reduced. Hence, the effect of video filtering is a “smoothing” of the signal noise. The resultant effect on the analyzer’s display is that the noise floor compresses into a thinner trace, while the average position of the trace remains the same.
Changing the video bandwidth (VBW) does not improve sensitivity, but it does improve discernability and repeatability when making low‑level measurements. As a general rule, most field spectrum analyzer measurements are made at a video bandwidth that is a factor of 10 to 100 smaller than the resolution bandwidth. This ratio can be specified in the BW main menu. Using this ratio, with a resolution bandwidth of 30 kHz, typically, the video bandwidth is set between 300 Hz and 3 kHz, although it can be set anywhere from 1 Hz to 10 MHz.