National Technical Systems Gets CTIA Approval for Over the Air Performance Testing

National Technical Systems, the leading independent provider of environmental simulation testing, inspection, and certification solutions in the United States, has announced that it has received approval from CTIA, an international organization supporting the wireless communications industry, as a CTIA Authorized Testing Laboratory (CATL) for Over-the-Air Performance (OTA) Testing.

OTA measurements are essential to capture the antenna performance of a variety of wireless technologies, including cellular (2G, 3G, LTE), Bluetooth, ZigBee and Wi-Fi. As many IoT and M2M devices become increasingly more compact, antennas are sometimes forced to be placed near other antennas, displays, computer processors, high-speed memory, all of which can interfere and degrade the devices over-the-air (OTA) performance. In addition to power measurements, OTA testing can perform sensitivity measurements to illustrate how internal components are affecting the RF radio's performance. This allows product developers to see where the issues are during normal operation and how they are impacting the product's performance.

The NTS (National Technical Systems) OTA chamber is a multi-antenna array system with 23 sensors allowing for Total Radiated Power (TRP) measurements to be taken up to 50% faster than older single sensor systems. This reduction in test time enables NTS clients to run more tests during their test programs. For customers testing devices with a short battery life, this faster measurement time enables the test program to complete without charging the device mid-test. Testing covers TRP as well as Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS) in free space, 2D and 3D antenna patterns. This chamber can make measurements from 600 MHz to 5 GHz.

OTA performance testing has been recognized by wireless carriers and wireless device manufactures as an essential tool to determine the product's usable range, battery life, connectivity speed and robustness. NTS has used OTA to evaluate products ranging from gaming peripherals and medical therapy devices to commercial drones. NTS experienced engineers interpret client OTA test results and identify RF issues that may delay a product's launch. Additionally, NTS engineers and program managers further enhance the efficiency of client test programs by including other test services; the most commonly required testing includes product safety, global market approvals, and environmental performance testing.