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X8711A  & X8712A - IoT Device Functional Test & Battery Life Optimization Solution

X8711A & X8712A - IoT Device Functional Test & Battery Life Optimization Solution

Keysight X8711A IoT Device Functional Test Solution

A New Way To Perform Functional Testing

As an IoT device manufacturer, time and money are the essence of your operation. You must balance cost with quicker test development time to enable faster time to market. The solution you choose at the design and validation stage or manufacturing, to verify the proper functioning of your IoT device’s radio must help you achieve these goals. The X8711A IoT device functional test solution is a cost-effective, over-the-air* signaling test solution that allows you to test yourBluetooth® Low Energy 4.2 and WLAN b/g/n IoT devices* in actual operation mode and in its final form. With this solution, you can:

  • Complete transmit (Tx) power and receiver (Rx) Packet Error Rate (PER) test in seconds
  • Objectively measure key transmitter and receiver parameters with quantitative measurements, ensuring device quality and performance
  • Simplify test development with a complete test solution that includes hardware, software, support and calibration – all from the same solution provider
  • Easily perform signaling power measurements with measurement suites that include test steps
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Challenges Faced by Traditional Solutions
Golden Radio Method


The golden radio method, where a known good radio is used to connect to the IoT device, is attractive to many engineers because it is low-cost, easy to set up and doesn’t require a lot of RF experience. However, there are many shortcomings that you may not realize at first glance.

  1. This method does not provide direct transmit power (Tx power) measurement capability and uses Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) test instead. RSSI test has unknown test conditions, and only provides an indicative value with reference to an unknown initial value that is decided by individual vendors. This means you will not know the true performance of your device-under-test (DUT)’s transmitter.
  2. The golden radio device likely has limited downlink power adjustment, meaning you will not know how much margin you have in the communication link. It is possible to communicate with the golden radio device and pass the test when the DUT is close to the golden radio during testing, but in real-world conditions, the DUT operates some distance away, and it may only work marginally or fail altogether.
  3. This method does not provide signaling packet error rate (PER) test or receiver sensitivity test, which are important receiver performance checks.

Non-signaling Method


Another common method used to test the functionality of an IoT device is the non-signaling method, typically by using parametric one box testers.

  1. This method requires special device firmware, that places the DUT in a special test mode. This adds complexity and additional test steps to your test process and does not test the real operation of the device.
  2. This method also requires wired connection to the device for firmware flashing and mode control, which requires sending commands to the DUT. This adds an additional layer of complexity to the test setup and may impact RF test results due to additional handling of the device or the introduction of another coupling path.
  3. Putting your DUT into test mode by connecting physical wires to the DUT, establishing a connection and sending commands may add time to your test.
  4. This method cannot test devices in their final form and cannot screen out defects caused during final assembly that will impact RF performance.

X8712A IoT Device Battery Life Optimization Solution

Battery, the Heart of IoT Devices

Wireless devices have increased by leaps and bounds over the years with the increasing adoption of wireless networking technologies across the globe. The demand for smart, connected devices is also fueling the growth of Internet-of Things (IoT) devices market. As such, battery life, time to market and product reliability are now more crucial than ever.
For some medical or industrial IoT devices, life of users can be at stake if the battery does not live up to expectations. Some IoT devices do not have a low battery indicator, hence, users depend heavily on the warranted battery life specifications, making the battery life claim more crucial than ever. Hence, IoT device developers today face a monumental task starting from the product design up to design validation when it comes to estimating the device’s battery life and putting it down on paper for their customers.

Typical challenges include:

  • How to measure the battery life to substantiate the battery life expectancy claim to customers?
  • What are the critical events that contribute to the power consumption and when frequently these events happen? What is the power consumption profile of your device’s typical operating cycle?
  • What design changes or tradeoffs to make to optimize battery life?
  • How to solve all the above with the least amount of time to meet project
    schedule?
    As an R&D engineer for IoT devices, you need tools to help you quickly obtain deeper insights into your device’s design so that you can accelerate troubleshooting and design verification tasks.
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The New Way to Perform Battery Drain Analysis

To easily estimate the battery life of your new IoT device, firstly, you need to determine what are the sub-systems that make up your device; for example, RF radio, display, beeper, vibrator etc., and how much current each sub-system will draw until your device’s battery runs out. The X8712A helps you determine the total power consumption of your device using the powerful Keysight X8712A-DPA DC Power Analyzer and its Source Measure Unit (SMU) and electronic load modules, RF event detector together with the KS833A2A PathWave Event-based Power Analysis Software. It captures RF and/or DC events from your IoT device, synchronously match the events to the current consumption and estimates the battery life of your device.

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Key Benefits of the X8712A
1. Detect design weaknesses with quick and effortless event-based power consumption analysis

The X8712A automatically correlates critical RF or DC events of your device to the power consumed, down to the sub-system or events level. With this capability, you can identify the events or sub-systems
that are consuming the most current and optimize it accordingly to meet the battery life requirements.

With its wide dynamic range current measurement from nA to A and fast 20 μs sampling rate, the X8712A is also able to accurately capture the dynamic current consumption of your device as it transitions between different operating states, from sleep/idle mode drawing the least current to active transmitting mode drawing the most.

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