Industry White Paper

Demystifying Over-The-Air (OTA) Testing – Important Antenna Parameters, Test System Setup and Calibration

July 08, 2020 by Rohde & Schwarz


Today, given the increasing integration of chipsets and antennas as well as usage of higher frequencies, the lines between testing chipsets, RF testing, and antenna characterization have become blurred. In upcoming mm-wave architectures (involving signals with wavelengths in the general millimeter region), there will be no connector between RF components like chipsets, a power amplifier (PA) and the attached antennas. Therefore, the chipset cannot be tested without the antenna and vice versa.

Both analog and digital improvements are leading to the use of multiple radio frequency (RF) frontends, massive antenna arrays even in consumer-grade hardware, and a combination of beamforming and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology known as massive MIMO, enhancing multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) and supporting high user capacities in the 5G New Radio (NR) standard.

Whether in low-cost devices targeting the IoT market, highly integrated radio frontends for satellite communications links, or mm-wave devices, integrated antennas are becoming more common with each development cycle. Therefore, OTA testing is becoming more important (or even mandatory) for a broader audience. The step from conducted measurements to OTA testing changes the measurement requirements to a certain degree. New user groups are thus required to have a basic understanding of antennas and antenna measurements.

In this Rohde and Schwarz white paper, learn more about antenna characterization and parameters, the importance and execution of OTA test setup calibration, and array antenna calibration methodologies.

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