Three trends affecting the way automotive RF engineers test systems: Page 5 of 6

April 14, 2016 //By Franz-Josef Dahmen, Anritsu
Three trends affecting the way automotive RF engineers test systems
Today a car is far more than a means to move quickly and safely from A to B: it is a comprehensive living space in which we can be informed, entertained and productive just as effectively as when at home or in an office. All these electronic features have their specific needs and requirements for testing.
automatically transmits location information in the form of an MSD (Minimum Set of Data) to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), and opens up a voice and data channel via an in-band modem.

 

The operation of the GSM chipset, the modem, and the entire eCall system must be exhaustively tested in the development phase, and its performance verified in production, to provide confidence that it will communicate reliably in all specified conditions. Just like a mobile phone handset, the in-band modem must be able to operate in the presence of multiple sources of interference, or with a weak signal, and must correctly implement a complex protocol for establishing and maintaining a voice/data connection.

 

Ultimately, automotive system suppliers will have to verify the performance of eCall systems (and other in-car mobile phone technologies) on the road, in a live network. But the use of a network simulator before live testing takes place allows the manufacturer to test in the laboratory every aspect of an eCall system’s interaction with any mobile network globally. Isolated from a live network, the simulator enables the tester to perform repeatable tests in which failures can be accurately attributed to a known cause, without interference from the random and uncontrolled events that occur in a live network.

 


Fig. 2: Anritsu’s MD8475A supports all mobile phone protocols up to the latest LTE-Advanced, and can also be used to test eCall systems

 

An instrument such as the MD8475A from Anritsu is suitable for this: it operates as a base station simulator, supporting the 3GPP protocols in operation today, and beginning from legacy GSM up to the latest LTE-Advanced standards. Through a user-friendly graphical interface (in the case of the MD8475A, this is called ‘Smart Studio’), the device designer can quickly implement hundreds of pre-defined test routines. It also provides an environment for the creation of abnormal network behaviour. Furthermore, specific software packages allow its enhancement

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