The power of testing IoT devices

Proper functionality, lifetime quality and performance are key factors of wireless IoT devices. Rohde & Schwarz is your partner, helping you to understand the testing needs and setups and to perform all necessary tests and measurements to bring your IoT application to market as quickly as possible.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and even more the Internet of Everything (IoE) will impact all industries and ultimately everyone’s daily life. Already today, things such as containers, street lights, trash cans, trees and cows are connected to the Internet, and who can imagine what will be connected in the near future – the possibilities are infinite. New markets are evolving, such as smart homes, connected cars, smart grids and smart healthcare. Common to all these markets and related applications is the use of realtime data from connected “things” to improve all kinds of processes and ultimately to save money, energy and life. Therefore, the expectations on reliability, performance, quality of experience and longtime availability are extremely high and connectivity becomes a critical success factor.

Some applications requiring global coverage and mobility will focus on cellular technologies in the future, especially on LTE-M and NB-IoT. But the majority of devices will use non-cellular wireless technologies such as Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, THREAD, EnOcean, SIGFOX, LoRa and others that are operating in unlicensed ISM/SRD bands. Testing of the overall communications behavior of IoT devices is an important topic in all phases of the product lifecycle in order to ensure proper functionality as well as lifetime quality and performance.

Testing in all phases of the lifecycle of IoT devices and networks

Summed up as IoT applications, the design challenges may vary. Reliable communications for a smart meter installed in the basement or a modem in a fast moving car must be ensured and battery life requirements of more than 10 years must be fulfilled. To begin with, all such devices require an appropriate hardware and software design. However, it is crucial to verify the design under all relevant test conditions. During development, the RF design needs to be tested under specified RF conditions. In addition, performance measurements, such as power consumption and battery lifetime, are essential. IoT devices also often support more than one wireless technology, including cellular and non-cellular standards. Coexistence tests ensure proper and interference-free operation of each standard implemented in a multistandard IoT device.

Before wireless devices can go on air, they must be tested against the applicable regulatory standards and operator-specific requirements. For cellular IoT devices, the compliance requirements defined by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) must be met, which include dedicated tests for machine type communications (MTC) features defined by 3GPP. Mobile operators define additional tests which need to be passed for carrier acceptance. Non-cellular devices also have to meet certain regulatory requirements defined by ETSI and FCC or standard requirements defined by Bluetooth® SIG or the LoRa Alliance. Finally, for mass production, optimized test setups in the factory detect manufacturing defects within seconds, ensuring the expected quality of a wireless IoT device.

IoT applications are quite different resulting in application-specific communications requirements

This seems to be very complicated, time-consuming and costly, especially for players entering the wireless communications arena for the first time. As a leader in wireless communications testing, Rohde & Schwarz is your partner, helping you to understand the testing needs and setups and to perform all necessary tests and measurements to bring your IoT application to market as quickly as possible – with the desired quality and performance.

Test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz cover all major cellular and non-cellular technologies. Our comprehensive product portfolio offers the right T&M solution for your IoT device – from the first product idea through the full device lifecycle.

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