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CTIA Wireless returned to Las Vegas last week for its annual gathering of wireless industry leaders to discuss the ideas and experiences transforming this dynamic industry. CTIA was founded in 1984 as the Cellular Telephone Industry Association and merged with the Wireless Data Forum to become the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association in 2000. In 2004, the name was changed to CTIA – The Wireless Association to reflect that the wireless industry now included data and other communications services in addition to telephone service.
This industry trade groupmembers include cellular, personal communication services and enhanced specialized mobile radio providers and suppliers, and providers and manufacturers of wirelessdata services and products. The association advocates on behalf of the industry by lobbying at all levels of government and has been a vocal supporter to acquire more electromagnetic spectrum for the U.S. wireless industry.
Over time, the makeup of the attendees has shifted from the technologists and OEMs that are responsible for mobile infrastructure and devices to a eclectic mix of loosely related enterprises and products. According to the associations web site, the top 5 business categories in attendance were:
Making up the top two product categories were devices/handsets and accessories. 4G/LTE wide area networks were only the third most popular product category, followed by consumer electronics and 2.5G/3G WAN. Attendees by job function ranked engineering/technical operations fifth behind marketing, business development, general management and sales. With a conference program emphasizing apps, content and media, cybersecurity, mobile marketing and advertising, next generation networks, it is clear that the event’s main emphasis is no longer the sweet spot for RF technologists.
And yet, with over 30,000 attendees, there seemed to be enough critical mass to make it a worthwhile venture for some component and test equipment manufacturers, especially those addressing 4G/LTE, DAS, public safety, M2M and small cell. While traffic started off strong in the exhibition the first day, especially in the M2M Zone, by the second and third day show floor traffic was certainly modest in certain areas. While many vendors were not overwhelmed by booth visitors, most seemed to have identified enough new contacts with the “right” kind of prospects to make the trip pay off; or worst case break-even. And in Vegas, breaking even isn’t half-bad.
More than 1,000 companies participated in this year’s 300,000 square foot exhibition space. Special pavilions of note included the Emerging Technology Zone (Automotive, Cloud Computing, Mobile Apps, and Security), Featured Technology Zones (Connected Health, M2M, RF/Microwave, Mobile Backhaul), Tower & Small Cell Summit, and Regional Pavilions (China, Brazil, Ontario, Germany, Korea, Spain). Microwave Journal met with the following companies to catch up on their CTIA 2013 announcements.
Aeroflexdemonstrated a range of instrumentation for the design, verification, servicing, and manufacturing test of both LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and LTE networks and mobile devices . Among its solutions on display, the company was demoing the Aeroflex TM500 LTE-A Test Mobile, the first in the industry to support carrier aggregation, a key technology for LTE-Advanced. The TM500 now supports all the key LTE-A features of 3GPP Release 10, enabling customers to prepare their migration to LTE-Advanced. Used by almost every base station manufacturer worldwide for base station development and testing, the TM500 supports both FDD and TDD modes of LTE, and provides backwards compatibility with worldwide 3G standards.
The company also featured its E500, LTE and LTE-A capacity test system. The E500 is flexible and scalable in terms of both the number of mobile devices it emulates— from hundreds to tens of thousands—and the number of cells supported. It offers true end-to-end LTE network load testing over RF including FDD-TDD Handover. The E500 supports a comprehensive range of IP data services, providing network equipment vendors and cellular operators with a realistic lab-based end-to-end test solution, providing insights on real data applications with independent per-flow behavior and analysis including web browsing, video streaming, and voice over LTE (VoLTE).
Anritsu Companywas demonstrating its solutions for two emerging technologies called for in future 4G networks, namely VoLTE and carrier aggregation. Working with HEAD acoustics, the company was demonstrating the measurement of VoLTE voice quality of wireless devices utilizing the new features available in the MD8475A Network Simulator. With the new features, the MD8475A can report voice quality metrics for both AMR-NB and AMR-WB voice codecs. Coupled with pre-existing functional test capabilities, including circuit switched voice calls on both GSM and UMTS, the MD8475A is capable of assessing audio quality under real-world network conditions. Emulating a VoLTE endpoint by sending and receiving packets to a simulated head and torso, the solution targets UE R&D designers and carriers that need to set compliance standards.
The company also announced its collaboration with NETGEAR to provide a solution that brings LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation (CA) devices one step closer to commercial deployment, offering a demonstration of 150 Mb/s data throughput. The demonstration utilized the new NETGEAR AirCard 780S Mobile Hotspot and Anritsu’s MD8430A LTE Network Simulator with RTD test sequences. Aggregation of two 2x2 MIMO carriers into one “pipe” was demonstrated, with data rates faster than most commercial networks currently on the air. The MD8430A LTE Network Simulator can simulate up to two active and four interfering LTE base stations on up to four RF channels. A mix of Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) base stations can be simulated, with multiple MIMO configurations possible for each base station, including SISO, 2x2 MIMO or 4x2 MIMO. A full lineup of advanced Rel. 8, 9, and 10 features are available, including Carrier Aggregation, Dual-Layer Beamforming, Enhanced Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS), Robust Header Compression (RoHC), Semi Persistent Scheduling (SPS), and others. The MD8430A is a building block for Anritsu’s LTE Conformance and Carrier Acceptance Test (CAT) solutions, including the ME7873L LTE RF Conformance Test System and ME7834L Mobile Device Test System.
Azimuth Systemsannounced that the company had teamed up with JDSU to support more efficient, effective and end-to-end test solutions. Azimuth’s Field-to-Lab™ system replays live-network radio environments by parsing captures and logs from the JDSU E6474A RANAdvisor Wireless Network Optimization Software and W1314A/B Multi-Band Wireless Measurement Receiver.
The Field-to-Lab (FTL) strategy from Azimuth and JDSU allows service providers and equipment manufacturers to replay real-world channel conditions collected from drive testing in Azimuth’s ACE™ channel emulators. FTL includes AzMapper software, thoroughly analyzing raw data collected with JDSU’s RANAdvisor to recreate that same radio environment through intelligent mapping of the logged field conditions to the available lab testbed. FTL and AzMapper enable operators and device, infrastructure and chipset OEMs to visualize the drive test through dynamic replay, profile multiple drives to compare performance and recreate the drive test in the lab for faster benchmarking and analysis in real world environments.
JDSU's RANAdvisor platform includes a receiver with up to eight frequency bands and software that can simultaneously measure and troubleshoot network RF coverage and service delivery across all existing 2G, 3G and 4G technologies, including WiMAX™, LTE and VoIP. The solution reflects JDSU's general strategy of protecting customer investments by building solutions that can quickly incorporate new technologies with software upgrades. Multi-technology RANAdvisor measurements are critical because diverse networks do not operate in isolation. The broad frequency coverage supported by JDSU’s RANAdvisor made the collaboration particularly successful in identifying inter-radio access technology (RAT) issues including handover and multi-frequency support.
Kaelus was in the RF/microwave Zone showcasing the new iPA Battery Powered, Portable PIM Test Analyzer a high-power analyzer that is designed specifically for challenging test locations. This battery powered, highly portable, rugged, and reliable test instrument is ideal for testing at the top of tower, as well as bottom of tower, and in-building DAS environments. Each iPA comes equipped with a protected touch screen interface for local control as well as an iPad Mini for remote control allowing the operator hands-free testing to ensure an easy, efficient and safe portable field testing experience.
Kaelus was also featuring its latest offerings in RF conditioning products to optimize and improve the most demanding 3G and 4G networks and the new Kaelus power management tray for use in in-building applications. The DAS Interface Solution (DIS) which is designed to interface between an in-building RF source (BTS or repeater) and SISO or MIMO DAS head end provides excellent PIM performance and outstanding reliability in continuous operation.
Microwave Vision Group launched a new antenna measurement test systemfor “4G” devices, with up to three-times faster measurement capabilities and a broader dynamic range in passive antenna measurement mode. The new SG 24 system is compliant with CTIA OTA performance specs, for testing mobile device conformance at high throughput or high frequencies for LTE and Wi-Fi 802.11a and 802.11n protocols. The company also demonstrated its EME Spy 140this week, which is a portable, personal device for measuring electromagnetic field exposure on predefined frequency bands. The device also features Bluetooth options in its real-time kit, so that a user can view his or her measurements in real time on an Android device.
Rohde & Schwarzhad a large presence at CTIA with a handful of new product announcements. The company has developed the world's first integrated end-to-end test solution that examines the impact applications have on smartphones and the network using IP and protocol statistical analysis. The R&S CMW500 wideband radio communication tester with the new R&S CMW-KM051 option can analyze and test IP-based applications using field-tested PACE software from ipoque, a Rohde & Schwarz subsidiary, to integrate precise application awareness to the device. The combination of RF, protocol and application testing in a single instrument allows network operators, smartphone manufacturers and application developers to test how mobile apps affect the performance of wireless communication devices and the networks they operate on.
The R&S CMW500 provides a real-time testing environment for wireless communications networks such as LTE, WCDMA and even WLAN. Using the integrated data application unit, the instrument combines standard RF testing requirements with the IP world. By adding the R&S CMW KM051 option, the R&S CMW500 can analyze and test IP-based applications, giving network operators a way to qualify applications or optimize them for their networks. Smartphone manufacturers can also obtain more precise information on how certain applications affect resources such as battery capacity. The IP analysis involves logging each IP data packet that is sent and received at the IP protocol level. The intelligent and reliable IP analysis records the IP traffic of applications, even when they are active in the background. This makes it possible to identify error sources.
This past April, the company released the R&S SMW200A, which combines a baseband generator, RF generator and MIMO fading simulator in a single instrument. CTIA represented the first major show in North America where the SMW200A was on display. The vector signal generator covers the frequency range from 100 kHz to 3 or 6 GHz and features an I/Q modulation bandwidth of 160 MHz with internal baseband. Exceptional modulation and RF characteristics make it suitable for developing high-end components, modules and complete products for wideband communications systems such as LTE-Advanced and WLAN IEEE 802.11ac. The generator performs especially well when it comes to the verification of 3G and 4G base stations as well as aerospace and defense applications. The R&S SMW200A can be equipped with an optional second RF path for frequencies up to 6 GHz and with a maximum of two baseband and four fading simulator modules, giving users two full-featured vector signal generators in a single unit. Fading scenarios such as 2x2 MIMO, 8x2 MIMO for TD-LTE and 2x2 MIMO for LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation can be simulated.
At CTIA Rohde & Schwarz and 7Layers, an accredited test laboratory, announced that they have verified and validated the Synchronized test approach to determine the Envelope Correlation Coefficient (ECC), a value characterizing the antenna subsystem of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) LTE devices. The Synchronized ECC approach delivers significantly shorter test durations and repeatable results, ultimately resulting in reduced costs. Long term, this collaboration will also help product manufacturers develop devices that achieve greater data speeds over LTE by using highly optimized MIMO antenna configurations.
The Synchronized ECC approach involves over-the-air transfer of measured data between the test platform and a mobile device in a synchronized fashion. This method, proposed by a leading US wireless carrier, does not require any overhead or user interaction to calculate the ECC, making it easier and faster to execute test versus other approaches. 7Layers test engineers used the Rohde & Schwarz TS8991 OTA Performance Test System and software option R&S AMS32-K30 as a test platform for validation. Rohde & Schwarz and 7Layers validate test results from MIMO LTE devices utilizing the Synchronized ECC test method, proves reduced test times compared to traditional methods.
Spirent announced that its 8100 Location Technology Solution (LTS)now offers support for end-to-end Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) E911 testing, supporting North American carriers that are looking to deploy VoLTE and are required to provide FCC-mandated E911 services. Providing reliable support for E911 with VoLTE service presents new challenges, which has led major carriers to embrace Spirent’s solution and to beginenforcing VoLTE E911 testing as part of their device certification process.
The company also announced the launch of Spirent Nomad HD call and voice measurement system. Nomad HD provides critical voice quality analysis for HD voice and VoLTE services on any device, across any network. It incorporates Perceptual Objective Listening Quality Assessment (POLQA), a next generation voice testing methodology standardized by the ITU. Using the POLQA algorithm for HD Voice and VoLTE voice quality measurement allows for actionable comparison between legacy circuit-switched and packet-switched voice from the same service provider, across networks and technologies. Nomad HD makes available to the industry a much-needed capability to simultaneously measure VoLTE voice quality, delay and call performance objectively under real-world conditions in both lab and field environments
As the sponsor of the coffee station in the RF/microwave Zone, JFW Industries, kept attendees refreshed and informed with product information on their line of high performance fixed and variable RF attenuators and switches. JFW components are used in the cellular, telecommunications, OEM test equipment, medical, automotive, defense, and automated test markets.
JQL Electronics was also exhibiting their line of high performance coaxial, surface mount, drop-in, microstrip and waveguide isolators and circulators. JQL Electronics is specialized in microwave components including ferrite isolators, circulators, directional coupler, combiners, ceramic filter and cavity filter.
First time exhibitor Galtronics Corporation Ltd.was showing off its latest ultra-broadband in-building antenna, PEAR™ S5491i, which offers simultaneous coverage for TETRA, cellular, GSM850, PCS and AWS bands. The ultra-wideband frequency range (380-6000 MHz) supports public safety and cellular networks on the same antenna. The S5491i quad-band antenna offers superior omni performance with a positive gain at 380 MHz (0-1.5dBi), compared to most public safety antennas with a gain of -2 dBi or lower. It is the only public safety antenna with a guaranteed low PIM performance of < -150dBc @ 2x 20W. At 13.2 inches diameter x 4.8 inches height (two inches smaller in height than other models on the market), the small size of the antenna makes it uniquely suited for cellular projects that cover public safety [TETRA] frequencies. The company also announced the launch of its newest MIMO iDAS antenna, PEAR™ M4936i for 4G/LTE in-building environments. The broadband omni antenna operates from 698-2700 MHz, enabling the capacity and spectral efficiencies of cross polarization in all MIMO frequency bands where LTE is currently and planned to be deployed.
SPINNER was also in the RF/microwave Zone featuring the company’s latest connectors, jumpers, test and measurement products, as well as our combining and distributing systems to support cost-efficient 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE and DAS rollouts. At CTIA, the company was highlighting their jumper assemblies, connectors and combining systems that ensure a low-PIM path between the transmitter and the antenna. The company’s 4.1-9.5 connectors are well suited for applications in mobile communication systems especially the DAS market. The robust, stable threaded connection not only meet all requirements of measuring technology, but also the extreme demands regarding resistance to weather and climate in outdoor applications. The special selection of materials and the mechanical design ensure good transmission performance in communication systems requiring low attenuation and inter-modulation with a cut-off frequency of 14 GHz.
Creewas a first time exhibitor in the RF/microwave Zone, showing off their GaN products that target telecommunication applications. GaN-based RF power amplifiers offer greater efficiency and bandwidth and are therefore attracting the attention of network operators looking to reduce their operating expenditures.
Freescale maintains a dominant market share in cellular infrastructure PAs and MMICs and was once again exhibiting in the RF/microwave Zone, showing off its latest Airfast products, GaN, MMICs and LNAs. The company introduced a new enhancement-mode pHEMT low noise amplifier (LNA) based on GaAs process technology and designed to optimize receiver performance for a broad array of wireless systems operating between 700 and 1400 MHz. Typical applications include small cell and macrocell transceivers, as well as a range of applications requiring extremely low noise figures, high linearity, and high RF output power.
The noise figure of the new MML09231H is 0.36 dB at 900 MHz, making it a top-performing LNA in its frequency range, while maintaining one of the lowest noise figures of any small signal device in the industry. This performance level is ideal for receiver designers, because it can boost product sensitivity to very low-level signals. In addition, the MML09231H has an output third order intercept point (OIP3) of 37.4 dBm at 900 MHz delivering the high linearity required by today’s wireless systems.
Additional featured solutions included multiple Airfast power devices for the 1800 to 2200 MHZ (AFT20S015-2S) and 2500 to 2700 MHz (AFT26P100-4WS) bands. The AFT20S015-2S is a 28V LDMOS device with 100 MHz of video bandwidth and peak output power of 15W, 22 % drain efficiency and 17.5 dB gain (avg power 1.5 W). The AFT26P100-4WS is also a 28V LDMOS device for higher band operation with a video bandwidth of 160 MHz, 110 W peak power, 22 watts average (gain 15.5 dB, 41 % drain efficiency and ACPR -31 dBc).
Freescale also introduced a line of GaAs MMIC control circuits specifically designed to optimize the performance of Freescale Airfast Doherty amplifiers. The new MMDS20254H advanced Doherty alignment module (ADAM) enables more accurate alignment of phase and amplitude on the carrier and peaking paths of high-power Doherty amplifiers, thereby improving overall base station performance. The sophisticated technology also helps enhance power efficiency while boosting performance across the entire cellular frequency band. The MMDS09254H and 2025H, advanced Doherty Alignment Module (ADAM), offer cellular operation from 700 to 1000 MHz and 1800 to 2200 MHz, respectively. This module which is housed in a QFN 6x6 package offers 0.5 dB step attenuators with a max range of 7.5 dB, 7 degrees step phase shifter (max range is 49 degrees) and operates at a maximum input power of 25 dBm.
Next year The Wireless Association plans to create a "super" mobile industry trade show. CTIA 2014™ will combine its CTIA Show with its focus on technology and consumer electronics and MobileCON™ which emphasizes mobile IT solutions. The resulting event will offer attendees, exhibitors and speakers withspecialized opportunities to network and conduct business with all of the companies that comprise the wireless ecosystem. The first CTIA super mobile show, CTIA 2014, will take place next year between Sept. 9, 10 & 11 at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.