apitech_white_logo News Blog

Written by Brian Hall
on March 04, 2021

APITech product line director, Prakash Hari, joined a panel of other RF experts last week to discuss 5G and Wi-Fi 6E testing issues, and to review successful use cases. Mr. Hari discussed how APITech’s newest product, a Wi-Fi 6E multipath emulator, is used for Wi-Fi chipset optimization, and how companies can automate their wireless device testing efforts.

Prakash Hari Profile Photo-1“APITech’s test solutions ensure that wireless devices and networks work first time, every time,” he noted.

Brought together by Microwave Journal, Wi-Fi 6E and 5G technical experts from APITech, Rohde & Schwarz, Qorvo and others agreed that “the faster throughput coupled with the lower latency connectivity in Wi-Fi 6E is well suited for unified communications, cloud computing, augmented and virtual reality, and telepresence.” They cautioned, however, that dense and geographically challenging environments, including facilities such as sports arenas, business complexes and industrial settings – where Industrial IoT will become critical – demand testing before roll-out.

Attendees from some of the world’s leading technology companies, communications start-ups, service providers and others, participated. Participants hailed from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

While they offered plenty of successful use cases, the panel focused first on the major component and test challenges of Wi-Fi 6E.

Device Challenges

From an RF standpoint, the higher we go in frequency, the more difficult it becomes for RF front-end designers. Issues such as insertion loss, gain roll-off, and interference problems must be addressed. Other device challenges mentioned include:

  • Redesign to support up to 7GHz
  • Wider bandwidth for Wi-Fi 6E (1200MHz)
  • Battery life, wake-up time and energy efficiency

To meet your device challenges, APITech has developed several test solutions, such as its multipath simulator, butler matrices, and programmable attenuators, available from 2.4 GHz through 7.125 GHZ, that meet the new Wi-Fi 6E standard while covering the entire range of Wi-Fi 6 specifications.

Programmables phase shifters group_adj-2

Affordable, Automated Testing

Conductive testing comprised a large part of the discussion. As Mr. Hari noted, conductive testing is simple, cost-effective and highly repeatable.

Conductive testing has tremendous advantages versus over-the-air (OTA) testing. While OTA testing is needed to characterize the performance of the antenna itself, one panelist remarked, conductive testing can be very effective to test all the other system components.

Wi-Fi 7

Even Wi-Fi 7 was debated, albeit briefly. What challenges does Wi-Fi 7 bring for design and testing? Is the expansion to the 6 GHz band the more difficult part, or is it another doubling of the maximum channel size?

Per Mr. Hari, from an RF standpoint, the expansion into the 6GHz band was the most difficult part of the adoption of Wi-Fi 6E. The challenge for device manufacturers as well as test solution manufacturers, such as APITech, has been the higher frequency range coupled with the wider bandwidth (1200MHz).

Questions from the Audience

The live audience took advantage of their chance to ask questions. Highlights include:

  • Now that Wi-Fi 6E can support up to seven 160 MHz channels, is it necessary to perform full channel analysis or testing for IC?
  • Will you be using shared commercial/military spectrum, similar to the 5-6GHz band with DFS enabled Wi-Fi routers ?
  • Does anyone see a need for high resolution broadband phase shifters to support dual band Wi-Fi 6E testing?
  • 5G has already deployed 6Ghz for indoor applications. Can we use the same power amplifiers for incorporating both 5G and Wi-Fi 6E bands?

To watch the video panel and hear their answers, click here: https://apitech.pub/2MwKLkj

To learn more about APITech’s test solutions, click here: https://info.apitech.com/5g-wifi-testing

APITech provides test solutions to a number of leading chipset manufacturers for their device verification and testing. Plus, similar solutions for service providers and others to test their services, updates, applications and related services.

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