Performance tests and benchmarking have become increasingly important

Interview Fernando E. Hardasmal, Managing Director, DEKRA Testing & Certification, S.A.U., Málaga, Spain and Global Market and Sales Director, DEKRA Product Testing & Certification.

Fernando E. Hardasmal

DEKRA Solutions: What is the role of DEKRA Testing & Certification S.A.U within the global DEKRA organization?

Hardasmal: DEKRA Testing & Certification S.A.U. is involved in several service areas within DEKRA’s Product Testing & Certification service unit. Most importantly, we are the competence center for electromagnetic compatibility and wireless communications. In order to achieve this, we keep track of new developments, technology evolution and requirements concerning the involved technologies. Then we make sure that all of our global labs fulfil these requirements or that they develop the necessary new capabilities.

A large array of 3G and LTE conformance test systems is used in order to test smartphones, IoT modules and other devices against certification requirements like those defined by the consortiums GCF and PTCRB.

A large array of 3G and LTE conformance test systems is used in order to test smartphones, IoT modules and other devices against certification requirements like those defined by the consortiums GCF and PTCRB.

DEKRA Solutions: You are conducting conformance and certification tests of cellular devices. What are the requirements that you do verify in these tests?

Hardasmal: Our services include a wide range of tests, such as conformance, performance, regulatory, usability, interoperability, field tests etc. To give you an example: We provide conformance testing services to the international Global Certification Forum and its North American counterpart PCS Type Certification Review Board. These consortiums are led by global carriers and the mobile phone industry. Both define the framework for the worldwide certification of cellular devices. The requirements established by them include aspects like radio frequency, protocols, radio resource management and field testing requirements.

DEKRA’s test engineers thoroughly conduct and document a wide range of tests such as conformance, performance, regulatory, usability, interoperability or field tests.

DEKRA’s test engineers thoroughly conduct and document a wide range of tests such as conformance, performance, regulatory, usability, interoperability or field tests.

DEKRA Solutions: Modern cellular phones use complex radio technologies like MIMO. How do your testing procedures and equipment take them into account?

Hardasmal: Our testing labs conduct MIMO “over the air” testing by executing repeatable measurements of the radiated performance in a simulated multi-path environment. Or to put it a little simpler: By simulating a remote station with multiple input/multiple output technology, we can precisely measure the behavior of the tested devices. For this purpose, our radio frequency test environment can generate spatial field structures similar to those seen in a wide range of real-world scenarios.

For realistic test results, antenna performance testing has to be done “over the air”. A so called anechoic chamber allows measuring multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) spatial field structures.

For realistic test results, antenna performance testing has to be done “over the air”. A so called anechoic chamber allows measuring multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) spatial field structures.

DEKRA Solutions: Another part of the scope of your testing activities are performance tests or benchmarks. In which context are these kinds of tests relevant, and who is the main addressee for the results?

Hardasmal: Both performance tests and benchmarking have become increasingly important. With performance tests, we for example support vendors or carriers before they launch a new product. These tests help them to make sure that market expectations are met. When it comes to benchmarking, our customers request us to make detailed comparisons between a number of devices. This allows to determine a ranking regarding safety, usability, interoperability, performance, etc. Such rankings are essential when an organization wants to decide which models should they buy or reject. They are also an important preparation when consumer organizations want to rate comparable products.

This system is used for radio frequency and radio resource management tests of 2G and 3G cellular devices.

This system is used for radio frequency and radio resource management tests of 2G and 3G cellular devices.

DEKRA Solutions: What other components and functions of smartphones and IoT devices do you take a closer look at?

Hardasmal: Wireless charging is a relatively new feature that it is becoming more and more popular and important – not only in mobile phones or laptops and tablets, but also in other devices for consumer, medical or industrial use. At DEKRA we conduct regulatory testing like radio frequency exposure, electromagnetic compatibility or spurious emissions testing. Additionally, we provide testing and certification services for all the different communication technologies that are used in modern smartphones, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, mobile payment and many more. All in all, mobile phones are gaining features and complexity all the time. So, the according testing and certification procedures are also continuously evolving to make sure that the devices are safe, interoperable and provide the users with the right experience at the right costs.

In order to fully test the behavior of mobile phones and other cellular devices, the test equipment has to simulate a fully functional mobile network. This system does the job, supporting the whole range of 2G, 3G and LTE technologies.

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