While these exciting technology developments offer compelling new functionality to consumers and service providers alike, they come at the price of increased complexity and, as a result, increased measurement challenges. Addressing these challenges has led the measurement industry to make some fairly significant advances, such as developing innovative test and measurement solutions which can span the entire product development life cycle and incorporate measurements specific to LTE, Mobile WiMAX and MIMO.
Technology-Specific Challenges and Resulting Developments
Challenge: LTE and Mobile WiMAX are evolving standards and, are, therefore, open to change and interpretation until they finalized. Development: The availability of conformance and protocol tests.
The early availability of conformance tests helps alleviate interoperability issues and provides basic testing. Rigorous test solutions also now exist for protocol development. Wireless libraries with signal processing models and preconfigured simulation setups are available to create waveforms used to produce real-world physical test signals. However, a successful commercial launch of either LTE or Mobile WiMAX technology will require comprehensive functional testing and real-world verification of LTE and Mobile WiMAX products.
Challenge: The 802.16 standard on which Mobile WiMAX is based specifies a tight Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) requirement (-31 dB, based on a 1% packet error rate). Meeting this target requires that all system blocks be more linear and phase noise be considerably better than in an 802.11 design. Power amplifiers must also be more linear and boast higher efficiency. Development: The commercial realization of nonlinear network analysis.
Challenge: Due to the complexity of MIMO technology, ensuring its optimal operation requires the engineer to accurately test the MIMO receiver a challenging task given the large combination of variables that must be tested in a given MIMO configuration. Development: A fully-integrated MIMO receiver test solution.
While the challenges mentioned only scratch the surface of the totality of issues created by LTE, WiMAX and MIMO, they do provide a glimpse of the developments today's measurement companies are making in an effort to keep pace with their customer' technology innovation. As engineers push the limits of these new technologies, measurement companies will also be driven to push the limits of test and measurement in support of their efforts. They will need to ensure that as test specifications are defined, standard-compliant test and measurement solutions are available to support them. Addressing technology challenges as they arise with appropriate measurement solutions will be crucial to the widespread proliferation of developing technologies like LTE, Mobile WiMAX and MIMO, and the success of any products based on them.
Carla Feldman joined the company in 1985 and held a variety of product marketing and management positions in her 15-year tenure within the test and measurement sector of Hewlett-Packard Company and Agilent Technologies, focused on RF/Microwave spectrum analysis, optical and digital parametric analysis. In 2000, Carla left Agilent where she held the position of vice president of sales and marketing for a MEMS optical switch start up. In 2002, she joined JDSU as the director of sales and marketing for the commercial laser and custom optics portion of the business. Carla rejoined Agilent Technologies in 2007 as the wireless business unit marketing manager. Carla holds a Bachelors of Science in electronic engineering from the University of Michigan.