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What is Over-the-Air (OTA) Testing?

Over-The-Air, OTA Testing is a method to test the wireless performance and reliability of wireless devices that include embedded antennas. The performance of the antennas and the wireless device in general can be examined to ensure the wireless connectivity.

How is Over-the-Air (OTA) testing performed?

To perform an OTA test, the device under test (DUT) is placed in a test environment inside a test chamber, such as our RF Shield Box. As many factors can affect the performance and reliability of the testing, such as reflections causing multipath conditions and interference from surrounding environment. This is where a RF Shield Box integrated with an antenna coupler and fixture for precise DUT placement can give you the repeatability and integrity in your testing.

Why is OTA testing important?

Product transmitter and receiver as a whole system can be verified for wireless performance with OTA testing. Excellent wireless connectivity is an important criterion for consumers, so it is critical for manufacturers to verify the performance. A well-functioning wireless device builds trust in the brand and ensures that customers get the value they are expecting.

When OTA testing is done in an early phase, costly design errors can be avoided. If a product is launched and the manufacturer notices that the wireless performance of the device is not good, it can seriously harm the reputation of a company, not to mention the recall costs. Great OTA test result can also help with benchmarking.  In addition, most of the biggest network operators have specific OTA requirements and to meet them, the product must be OTA tested. Overall, OTA testing ensures confidence in the wireless device.

Can a near-field OTA measurement be equivalent to a far-field measurement accuracy?

Near-field measurements can be converted to far-field equivalent measurements using a near-field to far-field (NF-to-FF) conversion, where the far-field characteristics are calculated using software and necessary transformation algorithms. This approach considerably reduces the required distance to measure far-field characteristics, allowing engineers to reduce the size of their testing chambers, such as Faraday cages and RF Shielded Enclosures without losing measurement accuracy.  The achieved results are comparable to measurements taken directly in the far-field.