Compact antenna test ranges (CATR) are the solution of choice to design and verify the upcoming 5G smartphones, tablets and notebooks that operate in the new frequency range 2 (FR2: 24.250 GHz to 52.600 GHz). CATR test systems employ indirect far field technology (IFF) and have been approved by 3GPP even for certified testing of this new 5G mobile device category, where the use of active antenna arrays is becoming the default design principle.
Active antenna arrays integrate antennas, power amplifiers and phase shifters in a single, PCB-mountable package, providing active beam steering for the first time in cellular devices. To provide a reliable communications link, multiple of these active antenna arrays are expected to be distributed within a mobile device (e.g. at all edges of a smartphone’s frame), and they will be switched on and off dynamically within milliseconds in a real-life mobile situation. Therefore, it is critical that the measurement zone is large enough to host the entire mobile device while the device is being rotated in order to measure its performance from all directions.
The Rohde & Schwarz systems offers a measurement zone – the quiet zone – of up to 20 cm / 7.8” in diameter within a benchtop footprint of less than 0.8 m2 / 8.6 ft2, with the capability of automatically rotating the device under test (DUT) during the measurement.
A gold-coated reflector and an ultra-wideband feed antenna maintain the quiet zone uniformity with respect to both amplitude and phase, allowing RF engineers to conduct measurements all the way from 20 GHz to 87 GHz. The dual-polarized feed antenna measures horizontal and vertical polarization in one go, cutting test times in half.
Together with a high-precision, full 360 degree 2D positioner, any radiated performance measurement can be recorded at a spatial resolution of better than 0.1 degrees, ensuring accuracy and repeatability. Test automation is available with the R&S CONTEST sequencer software or any third-party test equipment by using the extensive API library for C / C++ / C# / VB.NET / MATLAB / Python and NI LabVIEW.
The new CATR test system will be available starting December 2018.