Test equipment vendors line up to serve 802.11ac needs

Growing adoption of the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard is driving test equipment manufacturers to develop new product offerings that accommodate 160 MHz bandwidth.

For example, Anite last week claimed it is the first vendor to introduce a standalone channel emulator with continuous 160 MHz bandwidth support to accommodate 802.11ac. The company said broader bandwidth support in its Propsim channel emulator line will enable chipset manufacturers to accelerate development of new 802.11ac phase two products.

802.11ac phase one devices are limited to 80 MHz of bandwidth and have a maximum of three spatial streams, enabling a theoretical maximum speed of 1.3 Gbps. Phase two of the 802.11ac standard, which uses the 5 GHz band, supports both contiguous 160 MHz and noncontiguous 80+80 MHz bandwidths. Anite said phase two is expected to provide data rates of more than 3 Gbps.

Phase two also offers multi-user MIMO and transmit beam-forming. Phase two capabilities are expected to be particularly useful in enterprises and public locations such as stadiums and concert venues, where bandwidth is shared across many mobile devices simultaneously.

In addition, Tektronix announced that its RSA5000B series of real-time spectrum analyzers offers up to 165 MHz acquisition bandwidth, supporting 802.11ac's 160 MHz bandwidth spec. "Wireless standards are changing to require more bandwidth and at the same time signal durations are getting shorter, making them more difficult than ever to detect," said Jim McGillivary, Tektronix's general manager, source analyzer product line.

Aeroflex also announced a new test system based on its PXI 3000 Series modular instrumentation, which is designed to offer measurements over a 160 MHz bandwidth at operating frequencies up to 6 GHz. The WLAN 802.11ac test system comprises the Aeroflex 3070 high performance vector signal analyzer plus the 3050/3320 high performance vector signal generator.

Further, Teledyne LeCroy recently announced three new models of its WaveStation series of function/arbitrary waveform generators. The three WaveStation 3000 models offer bandwidths of 80 MHz, 120 MHz and 160 MHz, respectively, each with a 500 MS/s sampling rate.

For more:
- see this Anite release
- see this Tektronix release
- see this Aeroflex release
- see this Teledyne LeCroy release

Related articles:
Early 802.11ac speeds are not quite 'gigabit Wi-Fi'
Qualcomm: Service providers demanding 802.11ac in new Wi-Fi gateways
Wi-Fi Alliance says 802.11ac-certified devices will drive more Wi-Fi offloading
802.11ac Wi-Fi- Top Wireless Technologies in 2013

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