“We spend 50 percent of development costs on a product after the launch”: Page 2 of 8

June 03, 2015 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
“We spend 50 percent of development costs on a product after the launch”
5G, IoT, smartphone security and more: Future technology generations pose increasing challenges to the measurement equipment for development and production engineers. Roland Steffen, Head of the Test and Measurement Divison and Executive Vice President of test equipment provider Rohde & Schwarz explains how the company prepares for these challenges.
be an issue at higher frequencies. There is currently a discussion about MIMO (multiple input, multiple output). Mobile phone manufacturers already have several antennas in their devices. The higher the frequencies, the smaller you can make the antennas. That takes us into the field of massive MIMO and beamforming. A mobile phone might have 64 antennas that generate a controlled antenna beam. The antenna would orient itself toward the access point based on where the user takes the device. This creates new challenges in terms of testing. Up to now there has only been one antenna and one antenna cable and that is where the tester is connected. It is unclear what this would look like with 64 antennas.

EETE: How could it look from a technical perspective?

Steffen: Such devices are currently measured with a robotic arm that moves along the antenna beam. That is very time consuming. You can of course pack a large number of sensors into a test chamber, but that is no less expensive. If you have a spherical test setup, you of course need the same number of receivers as sensors. Plus there are many challenges in production, development and research. In the research phase there is no time pressure when taking measurements so you might be able to afford a robotic arm, but it's a different story in production.

EETE: In addition to 5G, one of the most prominent current trends in radiocommunications is the Internet of Things (IoT), which frequently runs via wireless connections and will require new wireless communications standards. How does this impact your business? Does it open up new business opportunities for you?

Steffen: Considering that there are more machines than people on this planet, IoT should actually boost our business. However, the modules that are to be used for this are often based on technologies that are already available. GSM, for example, is still very widespread. IoT applications

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