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Free space path loss



L = fspl(R,lambda) returns the free space path loss in decibels for a waveform with wavelength lambda propagated over a distance of R meters. The minimum value of L is zero, indicating no path loss.


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Calculate the free-space path loss (in dB) of a 10 GHz radar signal over a distance of 10 km.

fc = 10.0e9;
lambda = physconst('LightSpeed')/fc;
R = 10e3;
L = fspl(R,lambda)
L = 132.4478

Input Arguments

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Units are in meters.

Wavelength units are meters.

Output Arguments

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When lambda is a scalar, L has the same dimensions as R.

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Free Space Path Loss

The free-space path loss, L, in decibels is:


This formula assumes that the target is in the far-field of the transmitting element or array. In the near-field, the free-space path loss formula is not valid and can result in a loss smaller than 0 dB, equivalent to a signal gain. For this reason, the loss is set to 0 dB for range values R ≤ λ/4π.


[1] Proakis, J. Digital Communications. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced in R2011a