Aeroflex has launched the W-CDMA ACE 3G protocol analysis test system, a powerful, yet affordably priced, network emulator designed specifically to meet the needs of design teams focusing on integration and regression testing of W-CDMA mobile devices.
Complementing Aeroflex’s 6401 AIME/CT protocol conformance system that is used extensively by in-house pre-conformance test teams and independent GCF/PTCRB test laboratories, the Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE has been designed to facilitate integration and regression testing much earlier in the design cycle of new mobile devices than was previously possible. Unlike using radio test sets on conformance test systems which rely on designs being almost complete before they can inter-operate with the device under test, the Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE supports the early development of protocol test scenarios through its ability to test partial and incomplete designs. For example, the RF hardware, DSP and L2 of the protocol stack can be tested without the L3 being present.
Also, with prices starting at £65,000/€100,000/$120,000, the Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE potentially enables individual test engineers responsible for integration and regression testing to have their own network emulator, thereby relieving potential integration and regression test bottle-necks, improving productivity and accelerating the overall design process.
“Once the protocol stacks, RF and DSP have been developed for new mobile devices, the major task is to integrate all three elements and ensure the prototype works reliably,” said Phil Medd, the Product Manager at Aeroflex responsible for UMTS test systems. “Full conformance test systems are simply too costly to be purchased in sufficient volumes to enable individual engineers carrying out integration testing on mobile devices to have their own network emulator. The Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE has been designed to make this possible.”
The Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE has a fully compliant 3GPP L2/L3 protocol stack and powerful base-band processing that allows a wide range of test scenarios to be executed as well as the protocol messaging to be logged, decoded and debugged. It supports 3GPP Release 99, Rel-5 HSDPA and Rel-6 HSUPA. However, 3GPP standards are not static and the Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE will continue to be developed to support the 3GPP standard as it evolves towards 3G LTE. The Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE emulates up to three cells to facilitate handover testing and also includes a built-in fading emulator. For some parts of the design, testing may be undertaken ahead of the formal 3GPP standard definition. The Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE is capable of supporting approximately 75% of the protocol conformance test cases specified by 3GPP in TS34.123. The optional TTCN-2 Target Adapter allows users to download standard ETSI 3GPP test cases and compile them to run on the W-CDMA ACE. In addition, custom test scripts can be developed to test beyond the 3GPP specifications to give confidence that designs are robust.
The RF transceiver of Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE operates from 800-2200 MHz so that, besides the standard UMTS bands used in Europe and many parts of Asia, it can be also used to design mobile devices for Japan, Korea and USA. It also contains powerful base-band processors and utilises software defined radio techniques to allow the changes in 3GPP standards to be addressed without the constant need to change the hardware. Most upgrades can be carried out in software only.
The Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE incorporates a graphical user interface designed to boost engineers’ productivity by enabling them to maximise the amount of time spent testing, and minimise the amount of time spent working out how to use the test system. Features include the simultaneous display expected versus actual messages with automatic error highlighting to aid debugging, colour coding to highlight message sequences and errors, built-in test scenarios based on example test scripts, and a script wizard complete with macro editor to facilitate the rapid and easy composition of new test cases.
“The Aeroflex W-CDMA ACE provides an ideal and affordable tool to relieve the bottleneck associated with integration and regression testing of new mobile devices,” concluded Phil Medd. “Furthermore, it enables testing to be undertaken much earlier in the design and development cycle ensuring that product introduction windows can be more readily met and revenues maximised.”
Aeroflex Incorporated is a global provider of high technology solutions to the aerospace, defence, cellular and broadband communications markets. The company’s diverse technologies allow it to design, develop, manufacture and market a broad range of test, measurement and microelectronic products. The company’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market System under the symbol ARXX and is included in the S&P SmallCap 600 index.
About Aeroflex Test Solutions, Wireless Division
Aeroflex Wireless offers a full range of protocol, physical layer and parametric test solutions for the cellular communications industry. Its products address infrastructure and mobile handset testing and support all stages of mobile phone and radio access network equipment development and deployment. Applications include R&D, conformance, production, installation and commissioning, field service, and network optimization. Aeroflex’s wireless products test all key 2G, 2.5G and 3G wireless technologies including UMTS, cdmaOne, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE and WiMAX worldwide.