Solutions for RF Power Amplifier Testing

As wireless mobile devices grow in capability and complexity, the associated growth in power demand is driving new approaches to battery utilization and power efficiency. One of the single largest power consumers in a wireless handset is the RF Power Amplifier (PA) and as such, improved efficiency techniques like Envelope Tracking (ET) and Digital Pre-Distortion (DPD) are being increasingly utilized. The key implication for test engineers—whether in design, characterization or manufacturing test—is that testing these devices with this additional capability can potentially drive up both test cost and overall test time. This application note will discuss various approaches to maximizing test equipment utilization and reducing test times for such component RF PA’s and front-end modules.