Automated and Portable Test Solutions for RF Devices

With recent developments in technologies like MIMO, femtocell and LTE, the RF device testing is reaching new dimensions. Read on to find out what’s new in this field -Anagha P She is a dancer, karaoke aficionado, and was a technical correspondent at EFY. Find her on Twitter @AnuBomb.



Keysight uxm wireless test set E7515A
Keysight uxm wireless test set E7515A

E6650A EXM wireless test set by Keysight Technologies and EAST Femtocell by EXFO Inc. are one-box test solutions dedicated to the manufacturing of femtocells. These solutions can easily measure various formats of femtocells like 2G, 3G, 4G and WLAN.

Long-term evolution (LTE). LTE and LTE Advanced are becoming global standards for mobile broadband data and high-definition audio. LTE based networks are also used as standards for providing public safety enhancements such as police, fire fighting and emergency medical services.

MD8430A signalling tester (base station simulator) and ME7873L LTE RF conformance test system by Anritsu and E6621A PXT wireless communications test set by Keysight are products exclusively for the LTE and LTE Advanced technologies.

Commercial LTEs can only transmit up to a maximum power of +23dBm. In order to provide extra coverage for critical systems in band 14, release 11 of 3GPP (3rd generation partnership project) has made the maximum transmit power for LTE devices in this band to be +31dBm. R&S CMW500 wideband radio communication tester, a joint effort by Rohde & Schwarz and Elektrobit, now meets this requirement, i.e., measuring a high output power of +31dBm.

Testing multiple devices. Minimising time consumption for testing is necessary for reducing the cost of production. Leading players in the industry have come up with instruments that can test multiple devices at a time.

The upgraded MT8870A universal wireless test set by Anritsu can simultaneously measure four wireless devices, through parallel processing of four different modules integrated in this test set.

R&S CMWS switch matrix, together with CMW500 wideband radio communication tester from Rohde&Schwarz, concentrates more on the reducing bit error rate (BER) measurements in the receiver section by introducing an advanced RF switch device. The RF switch matrix collects test signals from 24 RF ports, which can be connected to a maximum of 24 devices, and all these signals are processed simultaneously.

Vector signal transceiver. With increasing complexity of RF signals, engineers are often challenged to make a system with improved functionality without increasing the cost or time for the test. The introduction of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) makes this task simple by increasing programming flexibility. These FPGAs can be configured to implement custom hardware functionality through software-defined platforms.

Vector signal transceiver (VST) by National Instruments combines vector signal generator and vector signal analyser and provides real-time signal processing and control with a user-programmable FPGA. The users can customise the RF instrument to the pin so as to make it application specific.

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