MiCOM Labs, a full compliance service provider, uses Boonton 55 series to improve cloud based compliance test solutions for Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO Devices
Customer Success Story:
A world-class regulatory full compliance service provider utilizes Boonton's 55 Series USB Peak power sensors with Real-Time Power ProcessingTM technology to improve compliance test accuracy, decrease measurement time and minimize test equipment costs when testing Wi-Fi 802.11ac devices and applications.
Testing Wi-Fi and WLAN devices for compliance to all regulatory standards (FCC, ETSI and others) requires a conducted measurement, including RF power measurements. The previous test method required the use of a spectrum analyzer and a single power sensor. When testing MIMO devices you have to connect and switch to each antenna port and then combine the results to get a composite total power output. A standard average sensor typically provides a slower measurement time; therefore, it increases the overall test time, most of which is the time the sensor needs to switch from one antenna port to the next. It is also not possible to capture the details of 802.11n or 802.11ac signal and analyze output power at the antenna ports due to the limited video bandwidth of a typical CW or average sensor. The previous solution typically took more than a hundred service hours to perform all 20 test items for a MIMO, 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz), 802.11an (5 GHz) and 802.11ac (5 GHz) device testing as per latest FCC and ETSI testing requirements. This would normally cost the device manufacturers a considerable amount for each device evaluated or qualified in a professional laboratory. Many test labs cannot comply with the new ETSI test methodology using a standard average sensor and as a result test time, cost and time-to-market are affected.
Problem or Challenge and its Impact:
The previous test method utilized one average sensor which limited measurement capabilities due to the very slow capture rate. When carrying out a MIMO test the sensor had to be moved manually to all RF output ports of the device under test, a labor intensive and time-consuming process. One also has to consider the time required for composite power calculation and manual switching of the sensor which eventually increased the total test time. Switching sensors from port to port was also a potential source of error since the ports were being monitored at different times. So, qualification and compliance test for all regulatory demands for a device manufacturer who may be releasing many of these products in a given year climbs up rapidly, including the internal staff required to carry out the volume of work and data. With minimal test automation available there was also a limited visibility of test data from their existing test program.
Solution Implemented/Action Taken:
MiCOM Labs developed an automated test system and a test methodology which enables end-to-end automation of regulatory compliance testing for 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz), 802.11an (5 GHz) and 802.11ac (5 GHz) MIMO devices. The new automated test procedure requires simultaneous and synchronized RF power measurements by using multiple power sensors with their developed multiport RF Switch. Their innovative test setup uses a spectrum analyzer and a Boonton 55006 Wideband USB sensor to measure RF output power at each port. Depending upon the number of antenna ports, multiple 55006 sensors are used to simultaneously sample RF output power by providing 100 ms data samples for each RF port. The test methodology is based on latest standards FCC 15.247, 15.407 and ETSI EN 300 328, EN 301 893. Multiple 55006 USB peak power sensors with their fastest measurement time and very high video bandwidth (195 MHz) allowed them to collect ample data simultaneously, and offer a repeatable, scalable RF power measurement for each port. MiCOM compliance test solution also enabled access to their cloud based library of the latest international compliance requirements. This solution helped them to eliminate data handling and processing errors, as well as improve the test methodology and composite power measurement for each port. Since all ports are tested simultaneously, they were able to reduce the test time up to 75% and maintain data integrity in the creation of test reports.
The customer’s goals were to improve the test methodology with better efficiency and accuracy and to reduce the overall test time by using multiple USB power sensors. The Boonton 55006 Wideband USB sensors with Real-Time Power ProcessingTM technology helped the customer to achieve their goal of decreasing regulatory compliance costs. The new automated test solution helped the customer to save almost 90% cost and 88% time per device by taking only 18 service hours to complete a total of 20 test items as required by the regulatory standards. With the new automated solution MiCOM is now able to develop a simple, secure and easy to use test system. Finally, the customer has a system which complies with the latest ETSI requirements, minimizes testing costs, and reduces Time-to-Market.