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The story behind test system software development

Test system software is used to automate OTA testing processes. Verkotan professionals have over 20 years of experience in the field of test system development. Read more to find out how these test systems are developed and how they ease the process of testing.

By Lotta | on 23.05.2022 at 07:38 GMT+0200.

The story behind test system software development
  1. About test system software
  2. Why test system software?
    1. Conformance testing
    2. Tailored test system software
  3. The process
    1. Tools
    2. Our team

About test system software

Test system software allow us to automatize our over-the-air (OTA) testing processes. Test system software will ease and speed up the testing process. By increasing the automatization level, the possibility of mistakes during the testing is reduced. New test systems enable us to develop new solutions for testing, for example tailored test system solutions for different testing needs.

Our personnel have over 20 years of experience in the field of test system development. We have always been on the edge of the time in developing test system software and have always developed our test system software in-house. By doing that for years, our professionals have developed great test system development skills. In-house, we have developed completely new systems. A good example is the development of the new test system software for 5G active antennas: we developed a test system for active antenna system measurements using the near to far field transformation.

Why test system software?

Besides test automation, more accurate test results and speeding up the process of testing, there are other reasons for building test system software.

Conformance testing

Test systems software can be developed for conformance testing. This means that there are standards against which a device must be tested. Test system software is needed to get the test results so that the compliance with the standard can be shown.

In conformance test systems, development of measurement methods and algorithms is driven by existing test specifications and standards, which define the technical details of the test cases, test parameters and measurement algorithms. System development focuses on implementing the specified test methods and creating the auxiliary functions to enable testing.

Tailored test system software

Many manufacturers also want to evaluate their device’s wireless performance to ensure the best user experience. Performance testing is not required by any standards, but it is recommended to verify the wireless connections of a device. With our tailored software, we can help our customers to evaluate every aspect of their device. Verkotan professionals can develop and modify test system software to match the needs of a customer or develop a completely new test system software.

In case of tailored test need, test system design usually starts from the customer requirement as the guideline. In many cases, there is no existing test methods or solutions available, and novel ideas are needed to serve the customer need. We are always ready to investigate the case and develop a new solution to the problem.

The process

Test system development is a challenging field encompassing multiple areas of engineering. Test systems are based on the physical laws of nature, which themselves are written in the language of physics and mathematics. In the area of wireless testing, it is the electromagnetic phenomena which is of interest. The Devices Under Test (DUT) use radio frequency electromagnetic waves to communicate, and the performance and stability of this communication is under test.

To measure the characteristics of these electromagnetic signals, radio frequency test equipment such as mobile communication testers, antennas and signal analyzers and generators are typically used. In addition, wireless testing usually requires sampling the signals produced and received by the DUT from multiple spatial locations. To achieve this, The DUT and the test antennas are usually positioned and rotated inside the test laboratory using mechanical equipment, such as positioners, antenna masts, linear actuators, or robots. Finally, test automation software is needed to implement user interfaces, test algorithms, and automate the control of measurement equipment, result storage and visualization.

For software testing, we use a release-based model, where suitable versions of the software under development are taken to production from time to time. The operation of the versions is confirmed by software testing and reference measurements in the laboratory. The software is also optimized for our personal use alongside the test service. In the case of accredited test services, the accuracy of the software’s measurement methods is also monitored by accreditation bodies, such as FINAS.

Tools

Multiple tools are used in test system development. These include tools such as software development process and project management tools, integrated development environments (IDEs), programming languages, version control systems, electromagnetic simulation software and mechanical design software. As an example, we use JIRA for software project management and feature tracking and Git for version control.

Depending on the use case, performance requirements, different programming languages are used. For controlling high level processes of our test systems, such as graphical user interfaces and measurement control, Python programming language combined is typically used. Time critical components are usually written in C++ or C, or even assembler. For mechanical design of parts of our test systems, Fusion 360 is used. We also take advantage of additive manufacturing techniques by 3D printing some of our mechanical parts.

Verkotan OTA testing team

Our team

Our test system development team consists of people with competencies in multiple disciplines, from mathematical physics, system architecture design, software development to mechanical design. Our team has more experienced members with a long work history from the field, and new talents, who bring new perspectives to our work every day. In each project, we have a chief designer, an architect, who leads the project. We use agile operating models and track project features and road maps with project management tools. With the help of our OTA testing team, we can ensure flexible testing with accurate measurements. Don’t hesitate to contact us, we are always ready to help!


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Arto Salo

Sales & Marketing Manager

+358 44 240 4198

Nina Metso

Sales & Marketing Manager and Quality Specialist

+358 50 480 4469