Traceable mm-Wave Modulated-Signal Source for Over-The-Air Device Characterization

Within the 5G communications field, a large range of wireless devices require characterization and testing. The shrinking size of mobile devices and the use of integrated antennas leads to devices without test ports for separately characterizing multiple-antenna arrays, receivers and transmitters. The use of over-the-air (OTA) testing has become ubiquitous for mobile wireless devices. Many of the relevant OTA metrics, such as receiver sensitivity, require a communication link with the device-under-test. At NIST, we have developed a connectorized, wideband, precision, modulated-signal source, traceable through our uncertainty framework to primary standards. We have extended the traceability path into the free-field to provide a reference waveform for OTA testing, which we characterize in both phase and magnitude. We will present our research work in extending the traceability path of the precision signal source and its use as a fiducial signal for characterizing linear and nonlinear distortion in advanced mm-wave communication systems.