(New Radio) mmWave uses dynamically- steerable beams which maximise connectivity by directing as much of the signal toward the device as possible. These steerable beams are created by phased array antennas and their associated electronics which need to be calibrated and measured in a large number of configurations through advanced OTA tests to ensure connectivity is optimised. 5G technology company, TMYTEK’s

product, BBox, fulfils this beam forming function as a development kit built for 5G NR mmWave antenna designers and protocol/algorithm developers. Such systems save time for research groups and product developers who would otherwise need to build up complex circuit systems to achieve the same result. Because of the crucial nature of its role in the development process, TMYTEK needed to ensure that it was as robust and effective as possible and so approached MVG to work with them on testing BBox using StarLab.

According to Ethan Lin, Vice

President at TMYTEK, by the time the company approached MVG, it had already done some simulation testing as well as taking part in a number of collaborations with various universities and research organisations. “Although this was useful at those early

stages, we needed to meet the commercial requirement of a faster development cycle

❱ ❱ MVG showcased the StarLab 50GHz to military and other industry users at an antenna testing convention in San Diego


The demand for Massive MIMO and the use of array antennas make beam forming a must-have for RF front ends. However, the expense and time cost of implementing beam forming is high. For this reason, the world’s first beam forming development system BBox was tailored to 5G developers to meet their beam forming needs The BBox development system is highly modularised, making it flexible and suitable for various development tasks with the availability of individual modules according to actual needs which can significantly reduce R&D costs. The modules are made up of

several building blocks including the AA-Kit, ΦA Box, BB Switch, UD Box and BB Brain. The BBox is suitable for antenna

and for this there was the requirement to engage in a more efficient and stringent testing regime to provide proof of concept,” says Lin. Lin goes on to explain that whilst the self-built chambers of universities and research institutes provide an effective testbed, equipment setup and measurement can often be laborious and time intensive, taking anywhere up to hours per test. “In the case of MVG’s StarLab 50 GHz, the speed of testing, flexibility and easy-to- use post-processing software makes it one of the most attractive OTA testing options on the market. Tests that were taking us up to 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete at research institutes were completed in 15 minutes or less. As a result, we completed 12 different phase and amplitude configurations of our BBox within four hours, a feat that would be near impossible to achieve elsewhere,” he says.

TESTING THE BBOX During the testing of the BBox, a set of measurements were performed to obtain the radiation pattern of a 5G NR mmWave phased array under pre-defined configurations. The DUT (device under test) was a model BBox Lite, consisting of a 4 channel Front-end system in the 28 GHz band, including Phase Shifters, Amplifiers (Tx/ Rx), and a 4x1 patch antenna. The beam forming capabilities were

design, RF device testing and baseband developer use. It can also play an important role in production line testing such as beam profiling and beam direction testing.

❱ ❱ The Modular BBox beam forming development system is scalable for use in any laboratory or production environment

verified by performing radiation pattern measurements for different presets (0° / ± 10° / ± 15°/ ± 25°). Pointing directions and gain were processed using the MVG WaveStudio software bench. The results confirmed the performance of the BBox and gave valuable insight into the product, significantly speeding up its development process. Nicolas Gross, Application Director at

MVG, worked closely with the team at TMYTEK on the project and believes that both organisations have a strong belief in the ability of 5G to transform the world around us. “For those developing 5G, having both

an effective beam forming option and the ability to perform credible and effective testing is essential,” he says.

Electronics Testing 2019 /// 3

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