Interview R&S: Communications becoming mission-critical

November 24, 2014 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Interview R&S: Communications becoming mission-critical
Driven by new application fields in the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) context, communications technologies are undergoing massive changes. This goes along with enormous challenges for vendors of test and measurement equipment. EE Times Europe discussed the matter with Rohde & Schwarz, one of Europe's leading T&M companies. Dialog partners were Jörg Köpp, Market Segment Leader M2M/NFC and mobile communications technology expert Meik Kottkamp from R&S' Strategic Marketing.

eeNews Europe: The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently a much-discussed topic and certainly won't be ignored by a manufacturer of advanced Test and Measurement equipment such as Rohde & Schwarz. How does this topic affect your business, and which measurement challenges will IoT confront you with?

Joerg Koepp: Rohde & Schwarz mainly focuses on test and measurement for wireless communications. For us, IoT communications normally means M2M communications, so this has various aspects. First, there is the technological aspect. We observe that to some extent in the IoT context the technologies in use are well established – technologies we have known for years. This primarily holds true for the cellular technologies like 2G, 3G and increasingly LTE . However, M2M applications and their diverse requirements sometimes lead to the emergence of new technologies that for instance address power efficiency requirements . For us, this situation creates new business opportunities, of course, but we also have to assess what is "the hype of the day" and what will prevail in the market and remain attractive for us in the long run.

Another aspect that IoT brings to test and measurement is that communications increasingly plays a role in mission-critical or life-critical applications – and these applications have to be tested. The certification tools needed for this purpose are an interesting field of future business for us. An example is car-to-x communications. In the USA and Europe, the standardization of this technology has already reached an advanced stage. With IEEE 802.11p, a kind of modified Wi-Fi standard that originally was not designed for this type of application is now in use. For this reason, issues such as fading, concurrent handling of multiple requests, etc., have to be resolved. We are collaborating closely with the respective industry players to develop test methods and to simulate realistic environments like fading profiles to ensure that these devices work reliably under all circumstances.

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