Power Amplifier Testing For 802.11ac

The first Wireless LAN (WLAN) standards were used primarily to provide low data rate wireless connectivity to a wired broadband connection for web browsing and email. Over time, new 802.11 wireless protocols were adopted to offer higher data rates for new applications.

The latest 802.11ac WLAN standard, which is still in draft format, will achieve up to 867 Mbps data rate over a single RF channel, and up to 6.93 Gbps using MIMO channels. These high 802.11ac data rates are accomplished by extending the 802.11n standard with more instantaneous bandwidth (up to 160 MHz), more MIMO channels (up to 8), and higher density modulation constellations (up to 256QAM). Within this paper, we examine the demands that these new requirements place upon the design validation, characterization and testing of power amplifiers for 802.11ac.