14 Important Noise Figure Meter Terms

Noise Figure Meter

A Noise Figure Meter, also referred to as a Noise Figure Analyzer, is a device used to test communication equipment’s sensitivity. It compares the signal between the input signal and the output signal based on the parameters programmed into the meter. Testing of the noise figure is often done through the meter’s bandwidth range.

Excess Noise Ratio

Excess Noise Ratio (ENR) is a signal injected into the device under test to determine the noise figure.

Frequency Translation

Frequency translation is the transfer of the signal along the frequency spectrum so that it does not alter the arithmetic frequency within the frequency band. Frequency Translation eases overall band usage.

Gain Measurement

Gain Measurement, also referred to as Gain Mode or Gain Method, is the measurement of the increase of the signal as it relates to the signal transmission. The Gain Measurement can be adjusted to optimize signal strength.

Local Oscillator Signal

A Local Oscillator (LO) Signal is the output of the oscillator device that determines a base so an electronic circuit’s timing frequency can be stabilized.

Measurement Bandwidth

Measurement Bandwidth is the range between the highest frequency and the lowest frequency along which a particular signal travels. Tuning accuracy depends on the measurement bandwidth, which is usually set at 4 MHz on the majority of noise figure meters.

Noise Figure

Noise Figure or Noise Factor refers to noise performance in wireless communication systems. Essentially, it measures the degradation of the noise, or signal, as it moves through a device. Noise Figure is calculated using output noise measurements, where the total power is divided by the input source.

Noise Source

Noise source is the component in an electronic circuit that generates a signal that impacts the baseline signal. This source is important to consider when measuring Noise Figure.

Noise Temperature

Noise Temperature is the amount of noise in a signal produced by an electronic device. The Noise Temperature is primarily a result of the components used in the manufacture of that piece of equipment. This will often directly impact signal-to-noise ratio within a system.

Resolution Bandwidth

The Resolution Bandwidth is the effective frequency which is measurable on a meter or analyzer such as a noise figure meter or spectrum analyzer.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Signal-to-Noise Ratio is the relationship between the noise of the signal and the strength of the signal. It is commonly referred to as SNR, S/N or S/N Ratio and is usually expressed in decibels (dB).

Standing Wave Ratio

Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) compares the amplitude of a wave at its peak with the same wave at its null. It will optimally be a 1:1 ratio, though the measurement can be affected if the line is impeded.


Uncertainty is the standard error of measurement as it relates to the accuracy and precision of the measuring instrument. Low uncertainty value means higher accuracy and precision of the device.


Y-Factor is the method used to determine the ratio between when the source is turned on (hot) and when it is turned off (cold). This method is primarily used to determine gain measurement and noise temperature.