The test equipment market for MIMO and IEEE 802.11ac is growing.
Communications service providers (SPs) are facing significant capacity and coverage challenges due to the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, as well as constantly increasing indoor data usage. All are working on a WiFi offload strategy to meet their capacity issues. Even though WiFi has been around for a long time, the quality of service it offers still leaves much to be desired. Thus, an SP's goal is to achieve a seamless offload transition without users having to manually connect their device to the nearest WiFi network.
IEEE 802.11ac technology, also known as 5G WiFi, can help alleviate this problem and it's expected to be deployed much faster than previously thought. Aruba Networks is one of the examples of rapid deployments as it is expanding its outdoor WiFi portfolio with new 802.11ac access points that are easy to install and are able to resist harsh environmental conditions.
The connection between customer churn and flawed offload procedures from cellular to WiFi has been clearly established. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that the satisfactory quality of WiFi networks.
MIMO and IEEE 802.11ac systems use multiple antennas.
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From a test and measurement perspective, IEEE 802.11ac technology creates many challenges. At the same time, it offers numerous opportunities for test-equipment manufacturers.
Multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antenna technology is one of the biggest challenges in the 802.11 ac adoption. MIMO requires channel emulation for testing radio performance. Octoscope is one of the test equipment vendors that offers a chamber where test setups are isolated from the outside world. In addition, it creates controlled RF conditions similar to channel emulation for more sophisticated system-level testing to allow for the emulation of device motion.
In 2013, the company introduced the first octoBox MPE multi path emulator that enables MIMO over the air testing of 802.11 n/ac devices. OctoBox MPE is capable of effectively emulating propagation conditions in a typical home or office environment and is used for testing WiFi technologies under realistic but controlled laboratory conditions. Furthermore, OctoBox MPE is capable for 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, or 4x4 MIMO to test throughput, packet error rate, and other parameters of a link between different wireless devices.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global WiFi test equipment market reached $521.4 million in revenue in 2013 and it continues offering numerous opportunities to WiFi test equipment vendors due to the rapid 802.11 ac technology adoptions.