Over-the-air BLE test systems solve wireless quality issues: Page 3 of 5

September 07, 2017 // By Allen Henley, LitePoint
Bluetooth Low Energy - BLE - performance can be difficult to verify due to packaging, but novel OTA measurement methods can overcome those problems, especially when it comes to packet error rates and receiver sensitivity.

Challenge #2: BLE technology has low data rates when compared to other common wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi or cellular. For receiver tests, a large number of packets is required to perform measurements that are statistically significant and accurate.

With low data rates, BLE receiver tests in a production environment would take a long time, which adds significant cost. Long test times and higher costs of course aren’t acceptable, so the second challenge is to design a new measurement method to accurately determine PER using significantly fewer packets than existing, traditional PER test methods.

Solution #2: Receiver sensitivity is typically performed by measuring PER over a range of RF levels. Bluetooth SIG, the specification body for Bluetooth performance, has specified that 1,500 packets must be used to measure receiver sensitivity. Using the advertising method described previously, a typical BLE device would take several minutes at each level to receive this many packets. Furthermore, assuming it was measured over multiple RF levels, a complete receiver sensitivity test could take more than 10 minutes.

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