As the words “4G LTE” become increasingly attractive to smartphone buyers, carriers and handset makers are focusing on the tests that qualify their products as LTE-ready. The $2.8 billion global market for wireless test equipment is projected to more than double during the next six years, largely driven by LTE. Test equipment makers like Anritsu Corp., Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) and JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU) are offering manufacturers solutions designed to help them ensure that their products can transition seamlessly from LTE to 3G and back again.
Users of LTE smartphones may or may not realize that their devices are not always running on LTE networks, but they will definitely know if their connections fail. That’s why OEMs test “inter-RAT” handovers to make sure that transitions from LTE to 3G networks are transparent to consumers. An Anritsu platform (ME7834A/L) that simulates these handovers recently won the award for best network/device testing product at this month’s LTE North America Awards in Dallas. The product integrates signaling testers for LTE, UTRAN/GERAN, and CDMA2000 technologies.
The rollout of LTE also means that massive amounts of data, especially video, are flooding the available bandwidth, and this also has implications for testing. Equipment makers are working to expand the bandwidth that their arbitrary waveform generators can cover, and combining these products with software to enable waveform creation.
For test equipment makers, one platform or product that becomes a “must-have” for a carrier can trigger sales of many complementary products. Carriers can avoid a lot of the time and expense associated with interoperability testing by purchasing much of their test equipment from one vendor.