Spirent Communications announced the addition of MIMO Over-The-Air (OTA) Environment Builder software to its wireless channel emulation product line. When equipped with this new capability, Spirent’s wireless channel emulators can be used to predict user experience of MIMO devices prior to deployment. The innovative new 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. While a traditional conducted (cabled) approach can be used to test LTE device performance, only OTA test methods are able to fully characterize the effect of an LTE device’s MIMO antenna design on the user experience.

“With the onset of multi-antenna, multi-band devices in ever-shrinking form factors, optimizing OTA performance is critical to the success of LTE,” said Rob VanBrunt, Vice President of Spirent’s Wireless group. “Spirent’s test experts are leading the industry in developing a range of new MIMO OTA test methodologies, including techniques that use anechoic and reverberation chambers.”

When MIMO OTA tests are performed using an anechoic method, wireless channel emulators apply real-world spatial channel models to the signals that are sent to antenna probes mounted in the chamber. This enables the user to precisely characterize how well a mobile device receives signals with these real-world spatial properties, which are arriving from a specific direction. Spirent’s 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. Unlike competitive approaches, the Spirent solution allows the mobile environment to be reconfigured in real time, increasing test coverage while reducing test time.