Glossary  >  Attenuator



An attenuator is a device used to reduce the power of a signal without significantly degrading its integrity. Unlike amplifiers that increase signal power, attenuators are designed to introduce loss.

Attenuators are typically used to manage high-level signals before they are processed by antenna circuits. They function as two-port electronic devices that employ resistors to decrease signal strength.

Attenuators come in various types to suit different applications:

  • Fixed attenuators: These have a set attenuation level and are used to reduce transmission power within a signal path. They can be directional or bidirectional depending on the application.
  • Adjustable attenuators: These allow for varying levels of attenuation. They can be adjusted manually or electronically using solid-state components to achieve the desired signal reduction.
  • Step attenuators: Similar to fixed attenuators but allow users to select attenuation levels through digital controls, push-buttons, or rotary switches.
  • Waveguide attenuators: Specific to RF devices, these are designed to reduce signal power without distorting the signal's waveform.

Attenuators are widely used in radio frequency and optical applications. In RF applications, they are incorporated into electronic circuits, while in fiber optics, they help manage light transmission.

Other uses of attenuators include dissipating power during RF signal measurements, matching levels between transmitters and receivers in fiber optics, improving impedance matching in circuits, and protecting circuits from high-voltage damage.

Example of Attenuator in a sentence:

"You can use an attenuator to reduce the strength of the incoming signal to your amplifier and prevent overload."

Related Terms for Attenuator: