How to right-size your wireless testing

July 11, 2016 //By JFW Industries
Whether mobile devices, Internet of Things, or industrial RF applications, the world runs on wireless. As a result, wireless testing is more important than ever before. But how do you balance thoroughness, speed, and budgets? Quipping “pick any two of the three” isn’t a good answer. Testing must be thorough, fast enough to keep up with getting to market, and yet within tight budgets. Test engineers should adopt a right-sizing approach to manage trade-offs and find solutions that are the best fit for a particular situation.

Spec out the test requirements

Right-sized wireless testing starts with comparing and contrasting the two general types of wireless test systems: transceiver and handover. Transceiver testing means testing how radios directly communicate with one another. In handover testing, you test how antennas or access points perform with radios, which generally are called handsets.

Whether looking at transceiver or handover testing, testing gear has the following considerations:

  • Ports connect devices to the test system.
  • Internal RF components attenuate, divide, or combine signals.
  • Attenuators may be remotely programmable or manual.
  • Systems work over specific frequency ranges.
  • Configurations establish paths of communications among devices.

The ports, attenuators and divider/combiners, frequency ranges, and internal configurations are where tradeoffs will happen that affect overall testing speed, thoroughness, and cost.

 

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