Azimuth To Test 802.11n

Shipping now to “early access partners” is the ADEPT-n MIMO test platform  from Azimuth Systems of Acton, Massachusetts. The new single-box test solution is the latest from the company that provides test equipment used by the Wi-Fi Alliance for interoperability testing — testing that will soon include checks on the 802.11n draft 2.0 specification.

“What we’ve done is taken a rat’s nest of interconnections and put it all in the ADEPT-n box,” says Jeff Abramowitz, Azimuth’s vice president of marketing. Unlike previous products like the W-Series chassis, which had separate blades for different kinds of test connections, the ADEPT-n integrates all the connectors, along with the RadioProof enclosures that a product resides in while testing.

“11n has tremendous challenges for testing,” says Abramowitz. “It’s a more complex standard than a/b/g, has a more complex physical layer and MAC, lots of options that were not in the previous specifications. Interoperability becomes that much more of a challenge with other MIMO products.” MIMO stands for multiple in, multiple out, using multiple antennas for sending and receiving — a cornerstone of 802.11n.

Along with the ADEPT-n comes a new software suite called Director II. It has five components, including a testbed manager to give customers full configuration options, a repeatable-test builder with point-and-click interface, a test driver module for running the standard scripts Azimuth can supply, a test editor for changing those scripts, and finally a test scheduler that allows regression testing to take place when the tester wants, even overnight.

The older ADEPT-WFA (used by the Wi-Fi Alliance labs for testing) and the original W-Series chassis will not be phased out. Abramowitz says they’ll still be needed by vendors who plan to make legacy 802.11a/b/g products — the older standards for Wi-Fi will not be going away any time soon. “Those with newer products will want to migrate to ADEPT-n,” he says, but adds that Azimuth has had MIMO enclosures for almost a year, which can handle the job along with Director II.

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