Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced its 89600 WLA software, a MAC-layer complement to the company’s industry-leading 89600 VSA software. The seamless combination of vector signal analysis and wireless link analysis gives system-integration engineers and verification engineers greater visibility into the increasingly complex and dynamic interaction between the MAC and physical layers in product designs based on today’s wireless standards.

As implemented in Agilent’s 89600 WLA software, wireless link analysis decodes control and feedback messages and then correlates them with the physical-layer signals they manage. The key benefit is the ability to view and interpret RF activity and measurements — retransmissions, power, modulation format, timing and so on — in a MAC-message context, and to also view and interpret MAC messages in an RF context.

“A typical RF analyzer alone isn’t capable of providing a complete picture of complex link behavior,” said Guy Sene, Vice President and General Manager of Agilent’s Microwave and Communications Division. “With the 89600 WLA software, PHY-savvy engineers can add new analysis capabilities to their existing 89600 VSA test setups for a modest additional investment of time and expense.”

The 89600 WLA emphasizes the graphical representation of information, which is an effective way to assess the inherently dynamic nature of, for example, LTE signals. A visual approach enables fast identification of anomalies, even if the engineer is not expecting to see a problem — and especially if they are not an expert in LTE signaling protocols. Once a problem is identified visually, detailed analysis will help reveal the cause of the suspect behavior.