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What is OTA testing?

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An RF chamber is used to isolate the device under test from external interference and to provide a controlled testing environment. The chamber is designed to reduce external noise and interference, such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI).

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OTA testing, or Over-The-Air testing, is a method of testing wireless devices and systems, such as smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices using wireless communication. The purpose of OTA testing is to verify the performance and quality of wireless devices under various network conditions and to ensure that they meet the industry standards and specifications.

OTA testing is important for the development and testing of wireless devices and systems to ensure their reliability and functionality under several network conditions and provide a high-quality user experience. It helps manufacturers to identify and resolve potential performance issues in product development.

How does it work?

In OTA testing, the device or system under test is placed in a controlled environment, i.e. an RF chamber isolating it from external, electromagnetic interference. This is followed by using a network simulator that emulates different network conditions, such as different signal strengths, network speeds, and interference levels. The device is tested for various performance parameters, such as data transfer rates, call quality, and battery life, while it is subjected to these different network conditions.

Specialized equipment that simulates various network conditions and measures the device’s performance accurately is required. The OTA testing equipment should be reliable, accurate, and meet industry standards and specifications and includes:

  1. Network Simulator


    A network simulator is used to create various network conditions, including signal strength, noise, and interference. The simulator can simulate different network types, such as 3G, 4G, and 5G.

  2. Antenna System


    An antenna system is used to transmit and receive signals between the device under test and the network simulator. The antenna system should be able to provide precise control of the signal strength and direction.

  3. RF Chamber


    An RF chamber is used to isolate the device under test from external interference and to provide a controlled testing environment. The chamber is designed to reduce external noise and interference, such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI).

  4. Test Probes and Sensors


    Test probes and sensors are used to measure the device’s performance parameters, such as signal strength, data transfer rates, and call quality.

  5. Test Software


    Test software is used to control the network simulator, measure performance metrics, and generate test reports.

  6. Calibration Equipment


    Calibration equipment is used to ensure the accuracy of the testing equipment, such as the network simulator and the test probes.

In forming a test plan that outlines the test objectives, procedures, and test conditions, considering OTA testing specifications such as antenna efficiency, total radiated power (TRP), specific absorption rate (SAR), call quality, and data throughput, provide a set of performance metrics that wireless devices and systems must meet to ensure optimal performance and compliance with industry standards. Therefore, building an RF chamber for OTA testing also requires specialized knowledge and expertise in radio frequency engineering, electromagnetic shielding, and anechoic chamber design.

Ocotec designs and manufactures customized OTA chambers and enclosures to customer’s specification, and you can check our ready-made OTA solutions here.

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