Test so­lu­tion providers

Electronics For You - - Wireless - The au­thor is a tech cor­re­spon­dent at EFY

Na­tional In­stru­ments. The 802.11ac WLAN test so­lu­tion from Na­tional In­stru­ments (NI) pro­vides flex­i­bil­ity in test­ing 802.11ac de­vices in ad­di­tion to 802.11a/b/g/n de­vices. Tarun Gupta, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager, tele­com and de­fense, says, “NI Pxi-based RF test so­lu­tions take ad­van­tage of the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in PC buses, mul­ti­core pro­ces­sors and FPGAS to de­liver test­ing up to ten times faster than tra­di­tional box in­stru­ments. All the mod­u­la­tion and de­mod­u­la­tion is per­formed on the host PC rather than the firmware of the in­stru­ment, mak­ing NI PXI sys­tems ex­tremely flex­i­ble to dif­fer­ent stan­dards.”

Agi­lent Tech­nolo­gies. Agi­lent’s 802.11ac soft­ware al­lows engineers to view and trou­bleshoot all 802.11ac mod­u­la­tion for­mats, from BPSK up to 256QAM, im­ple­mented in com­po­nents and re­ceivers. For even greater flex­i­bil­ity, the soft­ware sup­ports all sig­nal band­widths, in­clud­ing 20, 40, 80 and 160 MHZ, and up to 4x4 MIMO.

“Us­ing the 89600B VSA 802.11ac soft­ware, engineers gain greater in­sight into their next-gen­er­a­tion 802.11ac WLAN chips and de­vices, re­gard­less of the 802.11ac for­mat im­ple­mented,” says Sid­diqui, Agi­lent Tech­nolo­gies.

Ro­hde & Sch­warz. Ro­hde & Sch­warz of­fers prod­ucts that can han­dle the Lte-ad­vanced and WLAN 802.11ac wide-band com­mu­ni­ca­tion stan­dards. For in­stance, the R&S FSW sig­nal and spec­trum anal­yser com­bines a de­mod­u­la­tion band­width of 160 MHZ with a mul­ti­stan­dard ra­dio anal­y­sis func­tion. This al­lows users to si­mul­ta­ne­ously an­a­lyse mul­ti­ple mo­bile ra­dio and wire­less stan­dards at dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cies. The R&S SMU200A and R&S SGS100A sig­nal gen­er­a­tors com­plete the of­fer­ing. sce­nar­ios can be ex­pected.

In por­ta­ble de­vices like lap­tops, smart­phones and tablets, us­ing 802.11ac Wi-fi will al­low greater re­li­a­bil­ity for the net­work while the­o­ret­i­cally en­hanc­ing the bat­tery life of these de­vices. Due to faster data trans­fer, de­vices will also be able to com­plete func­tions quickly and thus im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity while us­ing roughly the same power.

802.11ac will en­able si­mul­ta­ne­ous stream­ing of HD video to mul­ti­ple clients within the net­work. This will up the ante in home en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems. Sys­tems that use wire­less net­work-at­tached stor­age sys­tems, like Ap­ple’s Time Cap­sule, will be able to lever­age the new tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide rapid syn­chro­ni­sa­tion or back-up.

Should you up­grade your net­work?

Since the stan­dard is still in draft, it might take a while for 802.11ac ecosys­tem de­vices to gain pop­u­lar­ity. More­over, the de­vices that first hit the mar­ket would be based on the draft ver­sion of the stan­dard (cur­rently 1.3) and thus carry a risk. Once the Wi-fi Al­liance rat­i­fi­ca­tion is over, we can ex­pect a greater in­flux of these de­vices into the mar­ket.

At the same time, ra­dios fea­tur­ing the new stan­dard are back­ward-com­pat­i­ble with the legacy 802.11a/b/g/n de­vices. So any legacy de­vice you buy in the mean­time will not go wasted.

Heard of 802.11ad?

Seem­ingly 802.11ac is not the only wire­less tech­nol­ogy about to hit the mar­ket. 802.11ad is an­other Wi-fi tech­nol­ogy which utilises the 60GHZ band to en­able data trans­fer speeds of up to 7 Gbps. On the down­side, be­cause this tech­nol­ogy uses a very high-fre­quency band of 60 GHZ, it al­lows short range. A pos­si­ble use- case would be for trans­fer­ring HD me­dia wire­lessly in a home en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem, where this tech­nol­ogy could re­place con­ven­tional HDMI ca­bles.

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