Test & Measurement


Modular basestation field tool adds antenna test capability

8 May 2002 Test & Measurement

Tektronix, an innovator in test, measurement and monitoring solutions for mobile equipment manufacturers and network operators, has introduced antenna test capability to its proven field maintenance 'tool kit' for wireless communications networks.

To meet subscriber expectations for coverage and Quality of Service (QoS), wireless network operators are constantly striving to accelerate their basestation support activities, including installation, commission- ing, maintenance, and repair. All of these activities typically involve a series of base transceiver station (BTS) measurements. Tektronix' new YBA250 antenna and transmission line tester module for the NetTek field tool adds the capability to execute antenna and transmission line tests at the BTS, supplementing existing features including RF and modulation measurements for base stations.

The new module provides a solution for antenna performance tests such as return loss, cable loss and voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR). In addition, the distance-to-fault measurement enables quick detection and localisation of problems in a BTS antenna system and its cable feed, speeding repair work when antenna problems occur. The line tester's factory calibration is valid across the entire frequency and temperature range of the instrument. This saves on time and costs by achieving acceptable accuracy while reducing the need to perform frequent calibrations in the field.

The YBA250 module plugs into the rear-panel module bay of a Tektronix Y350C NetTek mainframe and joins other modules that may be installed, including the company's YBT250 BTS transmitter testing and interference analysis module. In contrast to dedicated antenna test equipment, modular architecture improves efficiency.

Since there is only one instrument and one user interface to master, field technicians do not need lengthy training to operate the NetTek or new antenna test module. After a brief familiarisation, users can rely on the tool's automated and menu-assisted test routines to provide quick accurate antenna measurement results. These results can be used to guide troubleshooting or may be delivered to the network's data management tools to track the basestation's health for preventative maintenance programs.

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