RF power dividers and RF power combiners are circuits that accept input signals and deliver multiple outputs that are equal in phase and amplitude. There are two basic product categories: passive and active. Passive products produce an output signal with a power level that is smaller than the input signal’s power signal. Active products produce an output signal with a higher power level than the input signal power level. Other types of RF power dividers and RF power combiners are also available.
There are three main types of RF power dividers and RF power combiners: 0º, 90 º hybrid, and 180 º hybrid. Zero-degree RF dividers split an input signal into two or more output signals that are theoretically equal in both amplitude and phase. Zero-degree RF combiners join multiple input signals to provide one output. When selecting 0 º dividers, power divider division is an important specification to consider. This parameter is the number of outputs of the device, or the number of ways the input signal is divided at the output. Choices include 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, 32, 48, and 64-way devices.
RF power dividers and RF power combiners also include hybrid products. Ninety-degree hybrids split an input signal into two equal amplitude output signals, which are 90º out of phase from each other. In addition, 90º hybrids can be used as RF power combiners. One hundred eighty-degree hybrids split an input signal into two signals of equal amplitude and phase when the input signal is applied into one of its two input ports (SUM port), and two equal amplitude signals which are 180º out of phase with each other when the input signal is applied at its second input port (DELTA port).
Performance specifications to consider when searching for RF power dividers and RF power combiners include frequency range, insertion loss, isolation, and RF connector type. The frequency range is the range for which the power divider/combiner will meet all guaranteed specifications. Insertion Loss (in dB) it defined as the measured loss through the device excluding the power division factor. It is calculated as the ratio of power output to power input. Isolation is defined as the isolation (in dB) between any set of output ports. It is calculated as the ratio of the power of one output port to the power at any other output port, with matched terminations on all other ports. RF connector choices for RF power dividers and RF power combiners include BNC, MCX, Mini UHF, MMCX, SMA, SMB, SMP, TNC, Type F, Type N, UHF, 1.6/5.6, and 7/16.