Aeroflex has outlined a comprehensive product strategy in support of WiMAX, the IEEE 802.16e standard that has been developed to enable the delivery of last-mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to wired broadband like cable and DSL.

The Aeroflex WiMAX strategy, which covers R&D test, protocol development test, pre-certification conformance test and manufacturing test, coordinates WiMAX expertise from across the Aeroflex business.

"The momentum behind WiMAX is enormous and the race is on to ensure that it emerges as one of the dominant technologies in the fixed/mobile substitution battle," said John Jager, general manager, Aeroflex Test Solutions, Wireless Division. "This, in turn, is creating considerable pressure and demand for appropriate test tools both from an infrastructure perspective and in terms of the development of WiMAX-enabled fixed, nomadic, portable and even mobile devices."

Aeroflex is already delivering test solutions targeting both the R&D requirements of early physical layer test and also protocol development test.

Designed for PXI-based RF test systems including the Aeroflex 3000 Series RF digitizer family, Aeroflex's WiMAX test suite performs WiMAX PHY (physical layer) OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access) testing of power, spectrum and modulation measurements. The WiMAX software library provides analysis of OFDMA RF transmit signal characteristics for both uplink and downlink.

For complete RF characterization, the WiMAX measurement library, combined with Aeroflex's IQCreator™ waveform creation software, provides a high performance, high speed stimulus and response capability for WiMAX OFDMA.

For protocol development test, the Aeroflex PCT AIME system is already being shipped to customers in its Development Test Mode, giving first-line WiMAX equipment manufacturers, chipset developers and protocol stack developers an early opportunity to test both subscriber and base station functionality and interoperability throughout the development phase of their products.

The system facilitates the standalone testing of the MAC (protocol layer), as well as integrated testing of the PHY and MAC to check the correctness of the protocol messaging and its conformance to WiMAX Forum specifications.

With this version of the Aeroflex WiMAX PCT system, users have early access to test cases under a Beta release scheme, along with the ability to develop their own test cases.

"The WIMAX Forum is playing an important role in accelerating the introduction of WiMAX to the market and its coordination of the test requirements is fundamental to this," said Paul Argent, business unit manager, Aeroflex Test Solutions, Wireless Division. "In February 2006, the WiMAX Forum awarded Aeroflex, jointly with AT4wireless, the contract to develop the WiMAX protocol conformance test solution and this is proceeding on schedule in accordance with the roadmap we announced last year."

The launch of the Aeroflex PCT AIME system in its Conformance Test Mode is imminent. The validation process is currently underway with an independent test house and will be completed shortly. The availability of the Aeroflex PCT AIME system in its Conformance Test Mode will enable the testing of both WiMAX infrastructure equipment and devices against validated test cases prior to their submission to the WiMAX Forum Certified Program.

Aeroflex is also actively pursuing further development of its PXI-based WiMAX test suite for manufacturing test purposes not only providing potential solutions for its 3000 Series PXI test system but also its PXI-enabled 3280 spectrum analyzer and 4550 Series ATE system.

"By outlining our WiMAX test strategy in this way, our aim is to clearly demonstrate our end-to-end support of the WiMAX test process from development through to manufacturing," concluded John Jager. "However, WiMAX is just one of several technologies making a play for metro zone applications. 3G LTE is also coming up on the rails and in the last month we have also outlined our initial product strategy in this respect."

For 3G LTE (3G Long-Term Evolution), Aeroflex is designing a pair of test products, the Aeroflex TM500 LTE and Aeroflex 6401 LTE, which will support the physical layer testing of networks and mobile devices, respectively. The complete visibility into the very lowest layers of the radio modem will allow users to diagnose the actual cause of a synchronization problem rather than just knowing that synchronization has failed.