Microwave Journal

Mobile World Congress: Test and Measurement Coverage

February 22, 2011

Aeroflex announced that its TM500 Test Mobile has added support for the 3GPP DC-HSDPA Release 9 standard to the multiple UE (user equipment, or handset) emulation product. Release 9 provides a maximum data rate of 84 Mbps by enabling concurrent operation of MIMO and DC-HSDPA. The TM500 Rel-9 DC-HSDPA Multi-UE Test Mobile enables 3G infrastructure equipment manufacturers to test a DC-HSDPA base station and network against a multiple handset configuration.

The new TM500 model provides full multi-UE implementation of HSDPA Categories 1 – 28, including DC-HSDPA, MIMO and 64QAM, with support for seamless reconfiguration from Single Cell HSDPA to Dual Cell HSDPA and vice versa, and soft handover for up to six cells. HSUPA categories 1 to 7 and Continuous Packet Connectivity in Layer 1, HARQ and MAC test modes are also supported.

As prolific as ever Agilent Technologies showcased a number of products for the first time. The GS-8800 series for cellular design verification and conformance are intended for engineers testing LTE devices to meet the TS 36.521-1 standard. All three use the Agilent E6621A PXT wireless communications test set as their core signaling engine. The U1905A GS-8800 (PXT) is an economical solution for engineers developing LTE devices who need standards-based testing on the bench. The system uses the E6621A PXT wireless test set, the Agilent N9020A MXA signal analyzer with optional software licenses for Section 6 and part of Section 7 3GPP test cases for LTE.

Designed for engineers performing more in-depth verification or conformance testing, the U1901A GS-8800 (PXT) provides for complete automated testing of LTE devices with coverage for test cases from Section 6 to Section 9 of the 36.521 LTE test standards. It is an integrated dual-bay rack consisting of the E6621A PXT wireless test set, the N9020A MXA signal analyzer, and signal generators for fading and adjacent channel simulation, along with switching and band-dependent filtering. The U1901AU GS-8800 (PXT) LTE design verification and conformance system upgrade is intended as an economical solution for customers already using the GS-8800 2G/3G design verification and conformance systems, providing the same functionality – test coverage, user interface and operating bands – as the U1901A.

The Agilent EXT wireless communications test set for wireless device manufacturing includes X-Series Measurement Applications and Sequence Studio software along with enhanced Signal Studio software to support the required testing of existing and emerging communication technologies such as LTE. The Sequence Studio software application, exclusive to the EXT, dramatically reduces the time it takes to develop and troubleshoot the advanced fast-sequencing test code used in non-signaling test techniques. Signal Studio allows test engineers to quickly create standards-compliant waveform files to test the receiver and stimulate the chipset to test the transmitter of wireless devices.

Also featured were: the industry’s first commercial design support for the physical layer of 3GPP Release 10 – the W1918 LTE-Advanced library, DigRF testing and characterization using the company’s Radio Digital Cross-Domain (RDX) solution, MIMO handset antenna design and MIMO handset verification for MIMO handset acceptance testing using over-the-air test methods, as well as network simulation and software verification tools and installation, maintenance and spectrum monitoring of RF systems.

On show for the first time was the MW8219A PIM Master™ from Anritsu, which is claimed to be the first field test solution that can accurately and quickly locate the source of passive intermodulation (PIM), whether it is at the base station or in the surrounding environment. Covering the PCS and AWS cellular frequency ranges, the MW8219A provides field personnel with a test system that can help ensure optimum network performance and also locate PIM faults before intermodulation distortion adversely affects signal transmission.

The instrument has been designed to work with the company’s S332E/S362E Site Master™, MS2712E/MS2713E Spectrum Master™, and MT8212E/MT8213E Cell Master™ handheld analyzers, as well as the MT8221B/MT8222A/MT8222B BTS Master™ handheld analyzers. Field personnel can use it to generate two high-power tones in the transmit band of a base station, and use any of the handheld analyzers to measure the 3rd, 5th, or 7th order intermodulation products in the receive band that travel down the same cable. Using the GPS option available on all the analyzers, the location of the measurement can also be recorded. A key feature of the MW8219A is its 40 W testing, which enables it to locate intermittent failures due to light corrosion, high-traffic loading, or changing weather conditions. It also permits users to find faults in a multicarrier antenna system or discover microscopic arcing in connectors.

The company also highlighted the ME7834 Mobile Device Test Platform, which provides the most flexible way to combine existing and new components. As well as integrating the leading LTE development and proving tools, the test platform supports formats including HSPAEvo, UTRAN, GERAN and cdma2000. It can be configured to include protocol conformance testing as well as acceptance tests for a number of carriers as well as development. A choice of formal TTCN or the innovative RTD graphical flow chart languages can be combined with internal test sequencers and automation.

Setting its sights high – literally – Rohde & Schwarz has added a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) simulator to the field-proven R&S SMBV100A multi-purpose vector signal generator, enabling it to generate customized scenarios for GPS and Galileo from up to 12 satellites in real time. It is claimed to be the only simulator on the market that supports several satellite, mobile radio, wireless and radio standards simultaneously. Now, manufacturers of mobile phones or car radios with GNSS receivers need just one signal generator to check multiple functions at the same time.

Only a few keystrokes are needed to generate complex scenarios that are unlimited in time and utilize up to 12 satellites. The user can select the almanac file, the number of visible satellites and the receiver's geographical position. It is also possible to simulate stationary positions and scenarios that simulate the movement of a receiver along a chosen route. The user can also simulate restricted reception conditions, multipath propagation and atmospheric effects.

The company also highlighted its LTE offering. The new version of R&S ROMES provides a complete LTE drive test solution. The software accesses data from the R&S TSMW LTE scanner or an LTE USB test terminal. The LTE test terminals have multiple antennas and support MIMO transmission as specified in the LTE standard. The R&S FSH4 and R&S FSH8 handheld analyzers offer a full range of functions for installing and servicing LTE mobile radio networks. They facilitate spectral and modulation analysis in the LTE FDD and TDD modes and support all key LTE measurements such as SISO and 4x4 MIMO transmission.

The company has also enhanced its R&S CMW500 multistandard platform and now offers options for testing the handover between LTE and 1xEV-DO networks. All tests are carried out in line with the 3GPP2 enhanced high-rate packet data (eHRPD) specifications. They are of particular interest for manufacturers who address the American and Asian markets with their user equipment or chipsets.

Spirent Communications has added MIMO Over-The-Air (OTA) Environment Builder software to its wireless channel emulation product line, facilitating the prediction of user experience of MIMO devices prior to deployment. The software reduces the complexity and uncertainty of chamber-based MIMO OTA implementations for LTE device performance testing.

LTE mobile devices rely heavily on MIMO antenna technology to increase the theoretical maximum data speeds that can be delivered to mobile subscribers. The actual data speeds experienced by a user are highly dependent on how well a mobile device performs under the range of harsh mobile environments it encounters in the real world. The MIMO OTA Environment Builder software allows the test operator to select the desired mobile environment, and then automatically configures a Spirent wireless channel emulator to correctly supply the multiple signals to the chamber.