Radio testing and qualification

Military component, antenna and battery testing

New technology challenges in military antenna and radio component testing

Latest technologies in the fields of wireless communications and aerospace & defense call for higher frequencies and larger bandwidths as well as reducing the size and weight of devices as much as possible. This applies especially to tactical and public safety handheld radio devices, where the need to minimize power consumption and extend battery lifetime is required due to survivability reasons. Consequently, components need to address the challenging requirements of mobility, connectivity, highest data rates, robustness and power efficiency.

To pick one example, 5G NR is driving demand in multiple directions that are as diverse as the various applications for 5G. For the first time, mass products will go up to microwave frequencies in the 28 GHz or 39 GHz range, enabling high data rates through wide RF bandwidths of hundreds of megahertz. Since beamforming will be an essential part of the 5G system, antenna designs and RF frontends (including RF upconverters, filters and amplifiers) will look different than common solutions from former standards that have been used traditionally by the defense and military communications branches. This calls for innovative solutions for military antenna and battery testing.

Engineers face complex challenges when designing, developing and testing new components. When building modules and complex systems, engineers need to select the best solution for their specific environment and make sure it performs. Our comprehensive test and measurement solutions have been designed to fulfil these requirements and include high-end lab equipment as well as cost-efficient production solutions.

The test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz enable flawless performance and reliability on every level, from testing of assemblies and components up to verification of the complete radio communication system.

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Solutions for military RF components and other hardware modules

Power conversion

Power designers face the challenge of increasing efficiency and performance requirements while meeting reliability standards, achieving higher power density and reducing cost.

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Antenna testing

Antennas are receiving more and more attention in the system level design due to MIMO and active beamforming.

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Battery life measurements

Handheld radios require a battery charge to last at least ten years, making battery life testing more important than ever.

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Amplifier testing

Power amplifiers get the RF signal to the right power level to ensure proper transformation.

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Data converter design & testing

In communications and many industrial sectors, data converters are an essential part of all RF designs.

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Mixers and frequency converter testing

Mixers are used for modulators, phase detectors, frequency converters and synthesizers in many RF systems.

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Featured content for military component, antenna, and battery testing

Low-SWaP device consumption

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Battery simulations

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5G OTA / massive MIMO testing

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What is coexistence testing?

Why is resilience against coexisting and jamming becoming more important for secure radio designs?

Secure Radios operate in a congested (e.g law enforcement in an urban area) and even contested environment (e.g. military in a mission scenario). To analyze and optimize secure radio designs against these threats coexistence tests are carried out in order to prevent losing communication performance due to specific interference signals caused by other transmissions.

This is especially important for public safety radios, as they operate in very dense and busy spectrums, where secure waveforms need to coexist with commercial waveforms such as radio broadcasting, WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE between other. For these tests over the air instruments are used to generate digital or analogue spurious signals and verify how the receiver manage the distorted signal.

How to measure the performance and efficiency of a radio antenna ?

In the traditional military or law enforcement analog radios, antenna design was relevant, but not critical, as they were mostly oversized. New radio designs, waveforms and digital communications technologies with smaller designs require new advanced antennas such these known as MIMO, whose exquisite design mandates very exhaustive testing. This kind of tests, needs specific antenna chambers, accurately setup for the device under test and realistically emulating the environment where the radios will be operating.

How to verify the performance of digital components on my radio?

There are many components in a software-defined radio board: clocks, amplifiers, filters, converters, memories, data buses, etc. All these components need to be selected and integrated to ensure that power and signal integrity is kept within acceptable margins. Among others, crosstalk between active and passive components, system clock verification or PLL SerDes performance are tests carried with instruments such as oscilloscopes, vector network analyzers, phase noise analyzers and voltage-controlled oscillators.

How to verify battery performance for mobile secure radios?

To evaluate battery performance of a mobile secure radio, for instance a military handheld radio, developer need to understand the power level of the battery, the power consumption of the radio system and status of the power management system in particular test cases.: For these cases, the objective of the conducted test is to determine how the power from the battery is managed and delivered to the system.

The best approach is to emulate the battery in different start conditions, automate performance tests and evidence how the power is drained compared to the specified or expected scenario. The best way to proceed is connecting cell emulator instruments (like the R&S®NGM200) into the power source of the DUT. These instruments can simulate real behavior of battery drainage for up to two cells, and more instruments can be connected in parallel and series in order to emulate as many cells as desired.

Finally, external instrument remote control software can be used to automatically run test cases to stress the battery management system with scenarios where the BMS needs to proof its good performance.

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