Mobile WiMAX, the broadband-wireless-access (BWA) technology, is based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 and IEEE 802.16e-2005 specifications. Those specifications are currently being compiled into one document, which combines fixed and mobile services into a network architecture much like a cellular system. In this architecture, a single base station can support fixed, portable, and mobile terminals. Agilent Technologies has created a voluminous application note for the engineers developing and testing mobile or subscriber stations and their components based on the IEEE 802.16e orthogonal-frequency-division-multiple-access (OFDMA) amendment to the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard. Titled "Mobile WiMAX PHY Layer (RF) Operation and Measurement," the booklet is 62 pages in length.

After providing the information needed to comprehend the initial mobile WiMAX profiles, the application note delves into the layout and operation of the mobile and subscriber stations. Aside from the varied physical formats of these devices, this discussion identifies the software and hardware that are required for testing. The physical-layer (PHY) test descriptions are focused around the RF connection. They start with the transmitter tests, which are the logical place to begin most test regimes.

The note recommends getting frequency, power, and timing correct before moving on to modulation measurements like frequency (bandwidth). With the complexity of the IEEE 802.16 OFDMA signal and the possibility that demodulation will fail due to configuration discrepancies like preamble ID, fundamental problems can easily be missed. Problems should therefore be isolated as early as possible in the measurement and troubleshooting process. In addition, the maximum number of simple signal problems should be eliminated before attempting digital demodulation.

Tests are described in sufficient detail to allow the reader to appreciate the signal's construction as well as the methods that should be adopted for repeatable testing. Main receiver test parameters are then provided with a discussion of the use of arbitrary waveform fading and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) signal analysis. The document also addresses the issue of current consumption in mobile devices by detailing the tools that are available to make current consumption analysis both simple and informative. Overall, this application note strives to help the reader understand the major PHY layers relating to the mobile and subscriber stations and how to test them.

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