New test equipment lets engineers measure Wi-Fi performance without having to plug wires into the device under test. Using a special network mode, a new Anritsu instrument can make measurements that better reflect how the device will act in the real world, as opposed to during carefully scripted tests.
The instrument, MT8862A, circumvents the special testing mode typically used in devices during quality assurance tests. It connects to devices by simulating Wi-Fi access points, allowing smartphones, televisions, industrial equipment, sensors, and other devices to be tested over the air with their actual firmware.
Anritsu says that the results more accurately reflect actual performance, which can be affected by waveform coverage range and reception sensitivity, as well as the sensitivity of receivers and transmitters. By scrapping the physical link to the device, the tester can measure the effect of the internal wireless antenna.
The new tool, released by the Richardson, Texas-based firm last week, supports the most recent standard of Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11ac. It can be operated remotely from a personal computer connected to the internet. This configuration eliminates complex setups, making for quicker tests during manufacturing, Anritsu says.