What is OTA Testing?

What is OTA Testing?

As technology advances and changes, so does consumer demand for more efficient wireless technology and networks. This has paved the way for new technologies like 5G and also requires better mobile internet connectivity in any place and at any time. Does this affect SAR testing? The answer is yes. These changing technologies require changes such as OTA testing. Keep reading to find out what OTA testing is and how it affects SAR testing for 5G devices.

Over-the-Air Testing Basics

Over-the-air (OTA) testing is a method used to forecast the performance and reliability of wireless devices in the real world. To conduct this testing, the device is placed in a free-space environment within a test chamber, where real-life situations are simulated. 

The device is then subjected to multiple test conditions to observe how it responds to each situation. This testing measures the device’s signal path and antenna performance in order to ensure that the tested device will be able to perform as intended.

Why is OTA Testing necessary?

It’s important to perform this testing for a variety of reasons. It’s possible for the operation of a wireless device to degrade when used in the real world either due to its design or other various reasons. It’s crucial to perform this test for phones, tablets, or networked machine devices to ensure that accessories or other products won’t degrade their over-the-air performance. 

OTA tests also certify some products according to the standards of the test and most IoT and M2M device manufacturers require that products are OTA certified in order to reduce compliance complexity, avoid potentially costly design errors, and meet manufacturing schedules.

All in all, this testing assures manufacturers that their devices are ready to enter the market. 

How OTA Testing Affects SAR Testing

Products that use 5G technology may include phased antenna arrays of 4-by-4 or 8-by-8, making it necessary to determine how to conduct SAR testing for these devices based on OTA testing.

There are three different distances of testing: near-field reactive, near-field radiative, and far-field.

  • Near-field reactive testing is close enough that physical obstructions could affect the signal.
  • Near-field radiative is testing in which an obstacle may still be able to distort the signal
  • Far-field is testing in which the device’s signal simply radiates out with a square-law power decay.

A particular concern when conducting compliance testing for 5G devices is that all testing is conducted in the near-field reactive region.

Testing radiated signals also raise the challenge of ensuring that stray signals won’t obscure SAR testing results for these devices. It’s necessary to figure out how to test 5G devices in a functional environment that won’t have outside interference or allow signals to be transmitted externally. This requires the use of specific testing chambers for 5G devices. 

Overall, SAR testing for these devices does require changes in how this testing is conducted.

Get Testing Help From RF Exposure Lab

Our team’s expertise in cell phone SAR testing and more comes from RF Exposure Lab’s Owner, Vice President, and Chief Engineer, Jay Moulton. An authority in SAR testing with a background in manufacturing and the regulatory side of SAR testing, Jay Moulton has more than 25 years of experience. He is unique in his ability, experience, and knowledge of SAR. It’s this distinctive expertise and knowledge that allows us to guarantee our clients accurate SAR testing results and solutions.

In addition to this expertise, our team always goes above and beyond, making sure that our clients understand how we are testing their devices and how SAR standards affect this. We strive to be as communicative and transparent as possible throughout the testing process so our clients are always up to date on the status of their testing.

We offer SAR testing services for a variety of wireless devices, such as

As well as many more devices! If you’re looking for SAR testing help that is provided with expertise, speed, accuracy, and integrity, contact us to learn more about our services or to get a quote.