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Integrated tester checks the WiMAX PHY layer

Posted: 12 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Alex Mendelsohn? LitePoint? WiMAX? IEEE-802.16-2004? tester?

This $60,000 software-upgradeable product from LitePoint looks like just the ticket for testing wireless WiMAX designs based on the IEEE-802.16-2004 standard. With WiMAX poised to become a here-and-now wireless function in the very near future, this tester looks like it will fulfill your WiMAX PHY (physical) layer testing needs.

At this point in time, WiMAX is billed as an architecture that will sustain point-to-multi-point networks across distances as great as 30 miles.

Operable at raw data rates to 75Mbps, mobile WiMAX may shape up as a technology with a cost/Mbyte that's lower than the looming high-speed third generation (3G) cellphone services it's likely to compete against.

Not mentioned in LitePoint's press statement is the fact that this system runs in conjunction with a PC. Your machine must run Windows 2000 or Windows XP, and be equipped with a 10/100/1000 Ethernet connection. You'll also need to have at least 256Mbytes of RAM, and 200Mbytes of spare hard disk space. Your PC's monitor must support 1024 x 768-pixel resolution, too.

The IQmax Test System includes LitePoint's IQsignal Analysis Suite. This graphical software gives you the hooks to all instrument set-up, control, and analysis functions.

You also get a C++ API to develop automated testing applications of your own. The API enables non-link based testing. LitePoint contends that testing in non-link mode results in the fastest possible test times and lowest test costs.

Integral test hardware
As for the system's hardware, the integral vector signal analyzer lets you do in-band Transmit analysis, so you can observe the RF spectrum, and examine symbol constellation displays. You can also use the VSA to determine things such as spectral flatness, and you can capture waveforms in the time domain.

LitePoint's IQmax WiMAX PHY test system interfaces with your DUT's (device under test) RF ports through its VSA vector signal analyzer and vector signal generator subsystems. The system's dual RF ports are selectable for either Transmit (Tx) or Receive (Rx) operation, in the 3.3GHz through 3.8GHz band. In addition to RF support, baseband I/O signal interfacing and analysis is also supported.

The IQmax Test System will let you make phase-noise vs. time measurements, and do CCDF (complementary cumulative distribution function) of transmit output power to support compression analysis. You can also make measurements of EVM (error vector magnitude) versus subcarriers over time. The instrument will show EVM, average and peak power levels, frequency errors, phase noise, and symbol timing, to name just a few functions.

Control the signal generator
Under Windows, the system's software also lets you control the built-in signal generator. The IQsignal Analysis Suite controls the IQmax's VSG so that you can select pre-defined test signals, and adjust the system's Transmit frequency and output power. You can also determine whether the transmitter should operate continuously or only transmit a specific number of data packets.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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