PIM Test Power Level for 4G and 5G Systems

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The industry recognized specification for Passive Intermodulation (PIM) testing is IEC 62037. This specification was first released in 1999 and updated in 2012. This specification defines the technical requirements for PIM test equipment as well as provides test procedures for measuring RF components such as connectors, cable assemblies, antennas and filters. The current version of the specification only addresses factory PIM testing. A working group within the IEC will address the unique challenges of field PIM testing with portable test equipment in a future release of the specification.

In order to promote measurement consistency, IEC 62037 currently recommends that components used in mobile communications systems be tested using 2x 20 Watt (43 dBm) test tones. This recommendation has served the wireless industry well through the development and deployment of 2G and 3G systems. With the more stringent requirements of 4G and 5G systems, demand for higher linearity (lower PIM) construction is needed. With this need, it is time to reassess the historical test power level recommended by IEC 62037 and determine if 40 Watt (46 dBm) test power might better serve modern mobile communications networks.