Understanding The Limitations of Modern Military Radio Testbeds

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In the past 10 years, the use of military radios has increased dramatically, and, in turn, so has the need to test those radios. In part, this increase stems from the advent of such military-based communication applications as the land mobile radio system and tactical networks, as well as the introduction of both software defined radios and cognitive/multi-user Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) wireless radios. Typically, these military radios are tested together in a closed mesh network, with programmable attenuators used to vary the attenuation and simulate different distances between the radios. While this test platform (i.e., military radio testbed) enables test engineers to conduct rigorous, transparent, and replicable testing of military radios, it is not without its limitations: namely the size of the mesh network, or, in simpler terms, the number of radios that can be tested together.

JFW Industries, specialists in attenuation and RF switching, designs and manufactures a wide range of solutions for testing military radios. For those test engineers wanting to build their own testbed by piecing together individual components, JFW provides the necessary programmable attenuators, as well as the power divider/combiners to be cabled together. JFW also provides RF test systems with components already packaged together with a computer interface for test engineers in need of an all-in-one solution. These test systems are available in three different configurations or designs, depending on how many military radios test engineers want to test together. The result is a comprehensive approach to enabling today’s test engineers to quickly and successfully test modern military radios.