Test & Measurement

RF drive test kit to capture multiple wireless bands

3rd June 2020
Alex Lynn

Saelig Company has announced theThinkRF RF Drive Test System - a complete, multiband, and versatile mobile testing solution - a complete drive testing solution with one single piece of equipment, providing spectrum capturing, technology analysis, and I/Q storage

The RF Drive Test System Incorporates a ThinkRF R5750 Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer with GNSS (plus optional D4000 RF Downconverter/Tuner for performance up to 40GHz), CelPlan CellWireless software, a laptop PC, and a matched antenna, with an optional carrying case. CelPlan CellWireless Software captures and stores a multiband IQ spectrum, so processing and analysis can be done in real-time or recorded for later analysis.

The software provides unprecedented detail, resolution, and visualisation capabilities with support for various standards including 4G, 5G, LTE and Citizens Broadcast Radio Service (CBRS). 

The RF Drive Test System delivers a complete mobile testing solution to drastically reduce the time and cost required for drive-by testing by capturing multiple bands and technologies in a single drive test. Unlike traditional RF drive test solutions and scanning receivers which are limited to a few specific bands, ThinkRF Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers collect and process a multiband spectrum from 9kHz to 40GHz at up to 500MHz real-time bandwidth.

Users can simultaneously monitor and record the band of interest as well as the surrounding spectrum for accurate performance prediction, or playback and post-processing. The ThinkRF R5750 Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer with GNSS includes embedded GPS data for time and location of measurements. The ability for analysis of geo-referenced digitised signal (I/Q) after the drive test is completed can greatly increase operational efficiency.   With the one-time hardware investment of the 40GHz CellWireless system, no future hardware upgrades will be required to test different bands.

To assess coverage, calibrate propagation models, evaluate network performance, and identify and mitigate RF interference, operators have to conduct regular mobile drive tests. With traditional equipment, each test is only able to cover a single band or technology, such as GSM, LTE, 5G, etc. Operators must purchase new hardware or pay further software licensing fees to measure additional bands on future tests.

These hardware limitations make drive tests expensive, time consuming, and inefficient. The complexity of the RF spectrum environment continues to increase as new standards, technologies, and bands are made available for commercial use.

Telecommunication companies and mobile operators use multiple bands and technologies in their network, and a single operator may use a mix of 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, CBRS and 5G technologies spread across various frequencies. But the cost-effective and portable RF Drive Test System allows users to use one hardware and software solution for both spectrum analysis and wireless technology scanning.

Multiband support allows the simultaneous monitoring of a band of interest and the surrounding spectrum. When equipped with directional antennas, users can detect and locate sources of disruptive RF interference, while recording and playback capabilities allow users to conduct in-depth analysis after the test is complete.

The ThinkRF RF Drive Test System combines products from ThinkRF and CelPlan to form a complete, multiband, and versatile mobile testing solution, which is available now.

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