Radio Frequency

What Does Radio Frequency Mean?

Radio frequency (RF) refers to the rate of oscillation of electromagnetic radio waves in the range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz, as well as the alternating currents carrying the radio signals. This is the frequency band that is used for communications transmission and broadcasting. Although RF really stands for the rate of oscillation of the waves, it is synonymous to the term “radio,” or simply wireless communication.


Techopedia Explains Radio Frequency

Radio frequency is being used in a lot of fields, but in the context of information and communications technology it refers to the frequency band at which wireless telecommunications signals are being transmitted and broadcast. The frequency band is being divided into different parts, which are then assigned to different technology industries. This is known as the radio spectrum. For example, the VHF (very high frequency) band, which ranges from 30-300 MHz, is being used for FM radio, TV broadcasts, and amateur radio and its counterparts. For a lot of electronic communication devices, the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band is being used. This is the space used by mobile phones, wireless LAN, Bluetooth, and TV and land radio.

Radio frequency is produced by oscillating current a specified number of times and then radiating it off a conductor, referred to as an antenna, into empty space (this refers to space occupied by air rather than solid objects and does not refer to outer space) as electromagnetic radio waves. RF signals are sent and received using conductors through the phenomenon known as the skin effect, where RF current latches itself and flows through the surface of conductors rather than penetrating and passing through them like it does with other non-conducting solids. This effect is the core and basis of radio technology.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.