Monday, June 17, 2024

Telecom T&M instruments have a high level of sophistication

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Q. What are the top tech trends that are changing the testing landscape world over?
A. Confluence and convergence of computers and communications, and the emergence of automation in a wide range of industrial systems (and even consumer products), has not only created a bigger demand for T&M products but also posed new challenges to their technical capabilities. Today, all T&M products have to be intelligent and digitally addressable, both for data acquisition and control. They need to be fully digitally controlled using microprocessors and digital signal processors. Also, they need to be capable of self-calibration and user-friendly data acquisition.

There is a need for T&M equipment that are capable of measuring high-rising pulses, glitches and fast-changing digital signals and working in mixed domain. Broadband signal measurement with modulation and demodulation measurements, and simulation with computer for in-depth analysis is in high demand.

At the same time, these high-performance equipment are needed in a portable form. Complex digital modulation, e.g., orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing, and measurements on wide bandwidths have become commonplace.

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Q. In India, what are the top three markets for test and measurement that have come up recently?
A. In India, telecom is today the largest market for T&M products as telecom has grown both terrestrially and via satellites. The sophistication here is high and it covers a wide range of techniques and measurement topologies. The next large market is education and training. Engineering education is growing and so is the market. Fast obsolescence is another reason for market growth. T&M products are also needed in applications such as defence and industrial automation.

In India, there is very little hardware manufacturing being done both in telecom and IT fields. Not even 5 per cent of the hardware needed for these two sectors is produced in India. It is a direct result of the lack of planning by the government as well as the industry. As a consequence, T&M demand for manufacturing, like for calibration and quality assurance, does not exist.

Demand is primarily for maintenance of the user equipment. Here again fast technology changes lead to products getting obsolete before their useful life is over. There is no great need for repair and reuse like 25 years ago. We have therefore ended up with huge electronic garbage to deal with.

Q. Telecom and education being the two major markets, what’s the area of focus here?
A. For educational sector, equipment need to be simple to use but at the same time these should be able to meet the latest measurement requirements. Telecom sector is widely using optical-based technology for transmission and reception. So another category of T&M equipment is required for this segment.

Solution providers are quite in line with market demand. Newer versions of equipment and software are available to engineers, encouraging further work in the field of R&D to arrive at the next generation of products.

Q. With 4G mobile network coming up and transition to IPv6 Internet addressing scheme, is the industry ready with new testing solutions?
A. At present, this concept is new in India and we are studying the requirements closely. But we have some equipment like vector network analyser that can meet this test and measurement need to some extent.

Q. What are the priority applications for Aplab in India?
A. We are focused on the field of education. Our focus was always to bridge the gap between higher-technology products and students who are new to the concepts and have to quickly fill up the gap to make themselves up to the mark with current development in electronics and electrical engineering areas. Besides, we are focused on telecom and defence segments for our range of test and measurement equipment.

Telecom sector is widely using optical-based technology for transmission and reception. So another category of T&M equipment is required for this segment

Q. What’s brewing in Aplab’s R&D labs right now?
A. Aplab’s R&D for test and measurement instruments is focused on optical communication test equipment and certain range of RF measurement equipment.

Q. Going forward, what would be a future test and measurement product like?
A. The test and measurement space is very dynamically changing. But with growing software developments, it is quite possible to design new concepts with simulation based on the measurement taken on similar circuits. This will reduce the engineering time for design and help professionals to quickly bring the product to the market.


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