What is Radio Test?
Radio has provided a reliable and secure communication mode over land, sea, and air for more than a century. Radio test tools and processes are used to verify the range, signal power, distortion, frequency, and receiver sensitivity for two-way radio communications. As radio infrastructure has evolved, test tools and methods have also been developed to verify the performance of antennas, repeaters, and cabling.
Mission critical radio networks for military, law enforcement, and emergency responders utilize over-the-air testing to verify coverage and security. Digital radio technologies such as P25 require alignment to ensure modulation fidelity and minimize bit error rate (BER). Software defined radio (SDR) is enabling more adaptable spectrum and protocol usage. This requires a new set of radio test solutions for embedded software development and testing.
Who Uses Radio Tests Sets from VIAVI?
VIAVI communications test equipment supports a broad variety of public and private sector mobile radio users. Versatile radio test sets and training packages are tailored to meet the needs of radio manufacturers, service depots, and end users.
- Emergency responders, hospitals, and police rely on land mobile radio (LMR) coverage and reliability under critical, time-sensitive conditions. Mobile radios in vehicles must work seamlessly with handheld radios and base stations to maintain an uninterrupted communication network. A public agency with a high volume of users will often deploy a trunked land mobile radio system to improve spectral efficiency.
- The railroad industry utilizes digital radio technology to control and monitor train positions and ensure safety. VIAVI communications test equipment, including the versatile 8800SX digital and analog radio test set, provide Positive Train Control (PTC) testing to meet stringent railroad requirements in the lab or field.
- The U.S. military has relied on mobile radios for over 100 years and continues to drive new technology and security advancements. VIAVI supports military radio testing with a full line of tactical radio communication test sets and programmable depot-level radio maintenance equipment.
- Private companies and small public entities like schools and fire departments often rely on independent contractors or two-way radio dealers for maintenance and calibration. This extended support network benefits from the automated radio test and alignment features of highly integrated VIAVI Communications Service Monitors (CSMs).
Types of Radio Test Sets
- Communications Service Monitors
A communications service monitor (CSM) is an integrated radio test solution that combines the features of a spectrum analyzer, signal generator, oscilloscope, channel analyzer, and power meter in one advanced radio test set. The versatility of a CSM can be applied to both analog and digital radio applications. A CSM can be used to automate land mobile radio testing and alignment for technologies including P25, TETRA, Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), and Next Generation Digital Narrowband (NXDN). A radio frequency analyzer, SINAD and distortion meters, along with modulation sources and channel markers enable equally effective analog radio test coverage.
- Land Mobile Radio Test
Land mobile radio (LMR) refers to person-to-person communication over two-way radio. Despite the older and simpler format, LMR has differentiated itself from cellular technology as an extremely reliable mode for voice communication. This characteristic trait has led to the widespread adoption of land mobile radio for emergency response and law enforcement teams. With a growing number of government and commercial applications, land mobile radio has incorporated digital technology to improve range and reliability. VIAVI radio test sets incorporate automatic test and alignment features for an exhaustive list of digital LMR products from leading radio manufacturers.
- Military Radio Test
The range, simplicity, and reliability of land mobile radio systems has made them a logical fit for military and tactical communications. With often unpredictable field conditions and security threats, tactical radios must remain adaptable while maintaining high performance standards for transmit power, error rate, and sensitivity. Over-the-air military radio testing prevents the disruption of deployment activities or test-induced equipment failures. VIAVI 3515 Series portable radio communications test sets enable non-intrusive testing on-the-go to verify the field readiness of tactical radios, antennas, and audio systems.
- Software Defined Radio
Software-defined radio (SDR) replaces traditional physical layer components, such as amplifiers and filters, with software defined elements. This allows multiple radio technologies to share a common platform while enabling remote programming and reconfiguration. The VIAVI Raptor is an ideal software communications architecture (SCA) test environment. SDR applications can be developed, and a simulated radio frequency interference test can be performed. Additional software tools can be used to generate synthetic waveforms or create new SDR models from pre-defined software elements.
Radio Test Training Options
VIAVI provides a variety of training resources to ensure customers develop their skills and maximize their long-term investment in communications test equipment. Flexible training options are available for all Radio Test products. This includes on-demand webinars, fixed syllabus training, and customized training programs tailored to specific customer needs and equipment.
- Personalized training is available in web-based or in-person formats. Operation, maintenance, and application training is conducted by VIAVI subject matter experts to improve user confidence and productivity.
We offer free, personalized training for the following radio test sets:
- 3550R Touch-Screen Radio Test System: The 3550R is the industry’s first completely portable on-site radio communications test set for analog and digital systems. Learn how to perform rapid, comprehensive radio performance verification for all leading LMR technologies along with simplified cable and antenna testing.
- 3920B Series Analog and Digital Radio Test Platform: The industry standard benchtop communications service monitor includes an unmatched selection of digital radio test options. High performance features including Vocoder technology, audio spectral analysis, P25 trunking simulation , and the widest selection of Auto-Test applications can be fully leveraged through focused, customized product training.
- 8800SX Digital Radio Test Set: This hybrid instrument designed for both lab and field applications features fully automated test and alignment capabilities and an optional 500 W inline power meter. Our experts can point you to the advanced digital and analog test capabilities that best suit your unique application.
- NEON® Signal Mapper: Advanced 3D visualization and georeferencing technology is used to map and display signal coverage in both indoor and outdoor environments. Discover how this valuable addition to your radio communication test set can streamline signal mapping and reporting, even in difficult environments.
- VIAVI Instrument Programming Tool (VIP Tool): Create customized test scripts to automate in house tests, even with no prior programming experience. Learn how the VIP tool can help technicians of all skill levels become radio testing experts.
- On-Demand Training
- On-demand training puts the knowledge and experience of radio test experts at your disposal 24/7. VIAVI provides unlimited, on-demand access to a large collection of radio test webinars. Product specific training is available along with best practice tips and tricks. Technology based webinars provide valuable background information for analog and digital radio theory and practice.