Wireless Communications Test Equipment

Block Diagram (SBD) for a tester of physical layer and lower layer functionality of different wireless communications technologies.

Reference Designs


Wireless Communications Tester

Wireless Communications Tester is a generic term describing Test and Measurement products used for testing physical layer and lower layer functionality of different wireless communication technologies.

Here technology means the different standards-based cellular technologies (e.g. LTE, WiMAX, WCDMA, GSM, Microwave communication for backhaul and point to point connectivity), local area networks based on 802.11x, audio/video broadcast solutions, satellite communication, and many others. Products include the various components which make up the core infrastructure such as Base Stations as well as user equipment such as cell phones, PDAs etc.

At a very high level this block diagram represents a small subset of testers which need to transmit, receive, and analyze the standards-based wireless signals for testing. Examples of such products are

  • a Base Station Simulator to test user equipment such as cell phones and PDAs
  • a multi user equipment simulator to test Base Station functionality,
  • an Area Scanner to test signal and service quality within a Base Station’s range

Typical high-end wireless testers can be thought of as a collection of various general purpose test and measurement functions and some standard/technology specific measurements integrated into a single unit. In some sense it is a combination of a Signal Generator, Signal/Spectrum Analyzer, Noise Analyzer, Impairment Generators and many other functions.

Based on industry trends, the following list summarizes the key Digital Signal Processor (DSP) design considerations:

  1. Scalable and Reusable Hardware Platforms
    • Platforms which can be reused in multiple form factor products such as handheld, portable, bench top ,static, standalone single board designs, PXI/LXI/VXI/ATCA chassis based designs.
    • DSPs with sufficient I/O capability and processing power so that one can easily use more than one DSP and/or FPGA/GPP/ASIC on a platform and interconnect them cleanly to increase overall performance.
    • Multi-core DSPs enable the design of smaller form factor boards with the same level of performance as multiple single-core DSPs.
  2. Flexible S/W architecture
    • A software-based solution facilitates the improvement and enhancement of functionality without redesigning the hardware, which reduces time to market.
    • Eases the modification of product functionality as market requirements change as well as quickly accommodates changes required by updates in industry standards
    • Code Compatibility - portability and reusability of the software developed between successive generations of products potentially based on different hardware.
  3. Long Shelf-Life Products
    • Typically test and measurement products have long shelf-lives and system designers need a high-level of confidence that the components will be available as long as the end product.
  4. Highest Performance Levels
    • In general test and measurement products have very high processing requirements. This means that DSPs and other processing elements must keep up with end product requirements.
    • Performance is not measured purely in terms of the core operating frequency, but includes Instruction Set Architecture efficiency, memory architecture, I/O capabilities and the availability of hardware accelerators.
  5. Power Efficiency
    • There is a need for lower power consumption - especially in the battery operated handheld and bench top testers.
    • An important trend is to reduce system power consumption to offset increasing power cost as well as simplifying the board/enclosure cooling requirements.
    • Processing elements such as DSPs/FPGAs are often the highest power consuming components of a hardware platform.
  6. Ease of Use
    • Availability of professional quality, easy to use and low cost software development and debugging tools. This becomes even more important as complex multi-core devices become available on the market
    • Availability of various optimized signal processing libraries and other software building blocks.

Addressing these design considerations enable test equipment designers to meet both cost and time to market needs at the same time.

TI's semiconductor portfolio includes many of the analog and digital parts required to implement the complete signal chain in wireless test equipment. This portfolio includes the industry's highest performance DSPs - single and multi-core products, which offer the best performance/power ratio, and address the overall needs of wireless tester designers.

Application notes & user guides

Application Notes (3)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
HTM 8 KB 29 Aug 2012 1757
HTM 9 KB 14 Oct 2008 701
HTM 9 KB 14 Oct 2008 150

User Guides (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
htm 8 KB 03 Feb 2011 227

Selection & solution guides

Selection Guides (4)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 5.8 MB 10 Jun 2016 50780
PDF 974 KB 10 Nov 2015 438
PDF 1.14 MB 04 Nov 2015 1272
PDF 146 KB 01 Sep 2010 577

Product bulletin & white papers

Product Bulletin (2)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 228 KB 09 Jun 2011 573
PDF 208 KB 25 Apr 2011 1027

White Papers (4)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 914 KB 23 Feb 2012 431
PDF 1014 KB 17 May 2011 791
PDF 562 KB 21 Dec 2010 680
PDF 423 KB 09 Nov 2010 1517

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