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What is Radio Frequency I Type I Features I Uses I How to Improve

When we think about some devices on how to use them, radio frequencies are all around us. Most of the technologies that we use in today’s generation are made possible by radio waves. In this article, we will understand What is Radio Frequency, Types, Working, Characteristics, Uses, Importance, & How to Make Improvements.

What is a Radio Frequency?

Radio frequency (RF) is a term used to describe the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation that are commonly used for wireless communication. The frequency range typically spans from 3 kHz to 300 GHz and is utilized for various applications such as radio and television broadcasting, satellite communication, cell phone communication, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless communication, and other forms of wireless communication.

What is Radio Frequency Fig. 1: Image of Radio Frequency

RF waves are characterized by alternating currents that oscillate at these frequencies, which can be employed to carry information or transmit energy over long distances without the need for wires or cables. These waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation, similar to visible light, X-rays, and microwaves. However, they have different frequencies and wavelengths, and their behavior differs when they interact with matter.

Types of RF

Radio frequency (RF) can be classified into several different types based on their frequencies and applications. Some common types include:

  • Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)
  • Low Frequency (LF)
  • Medium Frequency (MF)
  • High Frequency (HF)
  • Very High Frequency (VHF)
  • Ultra High Frequency (UHF)
  • Super High Frequency (SHF)
  • Extremely High Frequency (EHF)

Types of RF

Fig. 2: Types of Radio Frequency

Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)

Frequencies from 3 kHz to 30 kHz are classified as Extremely low frequency. They are mainly used for radio communication, marine navigation, and some industrial applications.

Low Frequency (LF)

Frequencies from 30 kHz to 300 kHz are classified as low frequency. They are also used for radio communication, marine navigation, and some industrial applications.

Medium Frequency (MF)

Frequencies from 300 kHz to 3 MHz are classified as medium frequency. They are used for AM radio broadcasting, air traffic communication, and some navigation applications.

High Frequency (HF)

Frequencies from 3 MHz to 30 MHz are classified as high frequency. They are used for shortwave radio broadcasting, amateur radio, maritime communication, and some military applications.

Very High Frequency (VHF)

Frequencies from 30 MHz to 300 MHz are classified as very high frequency. They are used for FM radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, aviation communication, and some mobile communication applications.

Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

Frequencies from 300 MHz to 3 GHz are classified as ultra high frequency. They are used for TV broadcasting, satellite communication, mobile communication, and some navigation applications.

Super High Frequency (SHF)

Frequencies from 3 GHz to 30 GHz are classified as super high frequency. They are used for radar systems, satellite communication, and some microwave ovens.

Extremely High Frequency (EHF)

Frequencies from 30 GHz to 300 GHz are classified as extremely high frequency. They are used for military applications, satellite communication, and some scientific research applications.

Working of Radio Frequency

In the EM spectrum, the radio waves exhibit the longest wavelengths among all the other components. Hence, they have the capacity to transport information from one point to another point.

The radio waves usually undergo modulation which is known as alteration in other words. The carrier wave will be covered by a sound wave that compels it to change. Normally, the radio stations will alter their carrier waves within the span of two days: FM and AM, frequency modulation and amplitude modulation.

Working of Radio Frequency
Courtesy: Encyclopedia Britannica

Fig. 3: Working of Radio Frequency 

For example, a radio station which depends upon AM signal will broadcast its carrier wave to make sure a steady frequency. However, the overlay carrier wave will alter the amplitude.

On the other hand, it is different for FM stations. The broadcast signal is transmitted at a constant amplitude, while the frequency will be modulated in line with the overlay carrier signal.

Hence, with the help of analog signals AM and FM radios operate. However, to the opposite, the digital radios used now a days do transport information in digital format that are encoded in numbers.

Characteristics of Radio Frequency

Following are the main characteristics–

  • Low power.
  • The operating range of RF is good around 3 to 30 meters.
  • Supports data rate up to 1 to 2Mbps.
  • It penetrates walls.
  • It does not require a direct transmission route.

Applications of Radio Frequency

Below are some oof the main applications–

  • Vehicle monitoring
  • Remote Control
  • Telemetry
  • Wireless meter reading
  • Access control systems
  • Small range wireless network
  • Wireless home security systems
  • Industrial data acquisition system
  • Wireless data terminals
  • Wireless data transmissions
  • Biological signal acquisition
  • Robot remote control
  • Digital audio / video transmission
  • Digital home automation such as remote light or remote switch
  • Industrial remote control, remote sensing and telemetry
  • Alarm systems and wireless transmission of various types of low-rate digital signal


Fig: 3 Image of applications of Radio Frequency

How to Make Improvement in RF

Radio frequency is medium for radio or wireless communication. A researcher’s group at the New Jersey and Harvard University tried boosting radio frequency. Their report mentioned that the use of multiple antennas could boost the radio waves.

The researchers gave a demo that radio signal data transmission rate completely multiplied by three when more than one antenna is used in its transmission.

Further, they also mentioned that when multiple antennas were used, the mobile phone operators were able to support more traffic and more users. As per one of the researchers, whatever can enable the mobile phone operators to allow more traffic and get more in the process is good for business.

Importance of RF 

Still a big number of population has lack of understanding on how communication signals are generated and yet they can find one form of communication device or the other near them. This radio frequency is majorly used in all communication technologies from receivers to transmitters to computers TV’s, mobile devices etc. The radio frequency  is widely used in current carrier systems that includes control and circuit of telephony.

In the field of medicine, the radio frequencies are widely used. These frequencies are not new to the field of medicine. Instead, they have been using it for close to eight decades. They are used in electric current or radiating waves form. They have been mainly used in less harmful surgeries which uses radio frequency separation.

Author’s View:

Without the radio frequencies, the communication and information would not have been efficient. It is also stated that the radio frequency spectrum is different from the electromagnetic spectrum. However, here is one of the reliable ways to improve the RF is with the use of multiple antennas. It will remain at the heart of technology until the user will have a new means of communication

Read Also:
Oscillators – Classification, How it Works, Barkhausen Criterian
Slew Rate for OP-AMP, Square and Sinusoidal Wave – How to Calculate It
Chakrasthitha is a B.E (Medical Electronics) and has work experience in MatLab and Lab View Software as Design Engineer at BCS innovations and Manipal hospital as Biomedical Engineer. She is an author, editor and partner at Electricalfundablog.


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