Test & Measurement

BLE test solution to be unveiled at Bluetooth 2018

18th September 2018
Mick Elliott

Rohde & Schwarz will present its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signalling test solution for signalling RF tests under realistic conditions at Bluetooth World 2018 Santa Clara, California (September 18-19). Bluetooth Low Energy has emerged as a major transmission technology for the Internet of Things (IoT).

When drafting the BLE test specifications in 2010, Bluetooth SIG specified a direct test mode (DTM, non-signalling) but did not specify an OTA signalling test mode. DTM requires a dedicated control line to be connected to the device under test.

The control line, however, does not allow RF tests under realistic conditions since the measured RF characteristics are distorted compared with a realistic test. Testing BLE components in direct test mode at the board level during development is a complicated but feasible task.

In contrast, it is difficult or even impossible to carry out DTM RF tests in production and for OTA applications, e.g. in shielded chambers. Many BLE devices offer no port or interface to connect to a control line but nevertheless need to be tested under realistic conditions.

Rohde & Schwarz now presents the first solution for BLE RF signalling tests under realistic conditions, which makes it possible to determine the RF characteristics of a Bluetooth LE device via a Bluetooth OTA link or over a wired connection to the antenna.

With this approach, users can, for example, measure the level, modulation and receiver characteristics of individual or all data channels for frequency-hopping transmissions, which are typical of Bluetooth.

Rohde & Schwarz also offers an advertiser testing option for its R&S CMW test platform to measure the RF parameters of advertiser channels. The BLE signalling functionality enhances the BLE direct test mode and the BLE advertiser mode.

With these functionalities, it is now possible to solve even complex measurement tasks in development, production and for OTA applications. With the R&S CMW, users can now choose among all three BLE RF test modes to match their respective applications. That makes the R&S CMW platform a safe investment also for future Bluetooth developments.

The R&S CMW test platform delivers the full range of Bluetooth RF tests, including Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth LE and the latest standard, Bluetooth 5.03.

Along with signalling tests and tests in direct test mode, the R&S CMW enables diverse audio tests on Bluetooth Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate (BR/EDR) links. The test platform is especially suited for tests during development, for pre-conformance tests, qualified audio tests and Bluetooth OTA tests.

At this year's Bluetooth World, Rohde & Schwarz will showcase its R&S CMW270 wireless connectivity tester. It relies on a parametric test concept that allows users to create and execute customised test sequences.

The tester's bandwidth has been extended to 160MHz. That also enables WLAN RF signalling tests covering the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and IEEE 802.11ax standards. RF tests to IEEE 802.15.4 for Zigbee and Thread components are also available.

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