Over the last two weeks or so, I've received a steady stream of press releases related to the 2014 Mobile World Congress. Though I'm not in Barcelona this week -- but I hope to get there someday, MWC or not -- I can give you a rundown on what's come across my desk.
Without question, the wireless test topic for 2014 is LTE/LTE Advanced (LTE-A). Aeroflex, Agilent, Anritsu, and Rohde & Schwarz have recently made announcements in this area. JDSU and Spirent have taken different paths, with JDSU looking at customer experience and Spirent focusing on test equipment designed to provide data on battery life.
Cellular-to-WiFi handoff is where the wireless industry is going as carriers seek to move indoor wireless traffic to WiFi and relieve cellular networks of their data loads. At the MWC, Aeroflex is highlighting its WiFi offload test system, which consists of an TM500 LTE Capacity Test System (see photo below), a D500 Real Data Generator, Evolved Packet Core for LTE/WiFi, and WiFi station systems.
Agilent Technologies sent a release announcing that it's showing the E6640A EXM wireless test set. It supports up to four wireless channels with the 160-MHz channel bandwidth required for LTE-A cellular and IEEE 802.11ac WiFi. For cellular networks, the EXM tests LTE FDD, LTE TDD, HSPA+, W-CDMA, 1xEV-DO, cdma2000, GSM/EDGE-Evo, and TD-SCDMA. On the WiFi side, the EXM tests 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, WLAN MIMO, Bluetooth, multi-satellite GNSS, and digital video. An Agilent whitepaper describes the current state of the technology, which is being called 5G.
(Source: Agilent Technologies)
Anritsu is featuring several wireless test sets. Among them is the MD8430A/RTD signaling tester for R&D test for devices up to 300 Mbit/s. Also being featured at the MWC are the ME7873L LTE RF Conformance Test System and
the MT8820C, which lets you test LTE-A and many other cellular technologies.
Rounding out the MWC LTE-A test is Rohde & Schwarz. The company announced that it is displaying several test systems for cellular and WiFi testing. For example, the TS8980 LTE RF Test System can perform precompliance and full-compliance tests to 3GPP standards. For making over-the-air (OTA) tests, the company is showing its TS8991 OTA Performance Test System.
A JDSU announcement about a product called xSIGHT left me trying to figure out what the product is. Aimed at network operators, xSIGHT appears to be software that analyzes network performance for conditions that can affect the user's quality of experience.
Today's and tomorrow's wireless technology takes a toll on battery life. Sensing that issue, Spirent Communications announced Quantum, which it calls "a battery-life measurement methodology." It consists of a "probe" that measures power consumption and software that manages the process and correlates device activity to power use. I expect to learn more about this through a call to Spirent in the next few days.
— Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor