Test & Measurement

Evaluating IEEE 802.11ax 6GHz band WLAN performance

5th July 2021
Alex Lynn

Anritsu has announced the June-16th launch of its new option to extend the functions of the company’s Wireless Connectivity Test Set MT8862A by supporting evaluation of IEEE 802.11ax*1 6GHz band WLAN TRX characteristics.

Following FCC approval in April 2020 for unlicensed use of the 6GHz operation band as the first new WLAN frequency band in almost 20 years, countries worldwide are starting device testing and deployment. The IEEE 802.11ax WLAN standard regulates this 6GHz band and the WiFi Alliance is starting its WiFi 6E certification program for IEEE 802.11ax 6GHz devices.

The MT8862A is designed to evaluate RF TRX performance of IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WLAN devices. Additionally, as well as implementing all-in-one 2.4, 5, and 6GHz band RF TRX measurements, the MT8862A also supports performance evaluations defined by IEEE 802.11 standards and Over-The-Air (OTA) performance tests defined by both CTIA*2 and the WiFi Alliance.

By using this option, the MT8862A can evaluate the RF characteristics of IEEE 802.11ax 6GHz devices using either the Network Mode*3 or Direct Mode*4. In addition to shorter evaluation time using the Direct Mode, the Network Mode facilitates evaluation under actual operation conditions using signaling messages*5.

While developing this 6GHz band option, Anritsu also added support for 160MHz wide channels. Since the 6GHz band covers a 1200-MHz wide operation band, use of 160MHz wide channels becomes practical, which is expected to facilitate streaming of higher-definition video and larger-capacity data than previously possible.

By supporting measurement and testing of 6GHz band WLAN devices and 160MHz wide channels, Anritsu expects its MT8862A to play a key role in development of next-generation communications devices.

Development background

Along with the spread of IoT devices, WLAN functions are being built increasingly into more mobile products, such as tablet PCs and smartphones, as well as into home electronics, including printers and TVs, automobiles, industrial machines, sensing equipment, etc.

On the other hand, communications environments with a high density of WLAN devices are suffering from a shortage of communications resources for WLAN connections, resulting in challenges such as slower communications speeds and unstable connections.

Solving these many challenges, especially the shortage of communications resources, by using the 6GHz band will help drive development of novel applications to promote leading-edge industrial development, which in turn, increases the urgent need for measuring instruments supporting evaluation of the RF TRX characteristics of IEEE 802.11ax 6GHz band devices.

Anritsu has developed this option to extend the MT8862A functions by supporting performance evaluation of IEEE 802.11ax 6GHz band devices.

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