Technology joint ventures, distribution deals, and developments in test and measurement technology are strongly evident in Europe. In Hampshire, England, wireless test specialist Anite and mobile communications company LG Electronics jointly announced the successful verification of what they say is the industry's first Long Term Evolution (LTE) protocol-conformance test cases. The companies have made the results from their work available to the members of the 3GPP standards body. The new tests build on Anite's portfolio for 3GPP protocol technologies from GSM through EDGE and WCDMA to the latest HSPA+ standards. Its blend of software-only host and target test solutions for 2G, 3G, and LTE technologies allows developers to adopt an end-to-end test philosophy for most wireless testing needs.

T&M Gets Into A Tight Spot
IN MUNICH, GERMANY, Rohde & Schwarz has developed the R&S ZVAX24 hardware extension unit, which converts the ZVA vector network analyzers (VNAs) into space-saving solutions that simplify intermodulation or pulse profile measurements (see Figure). Applications to +43 dBm can be performed. Because of its modularity, the R&S ZVAX24 can be customized for individual applications. It also can be equipped with combiners, harmonic filters, pulse modulators, and high-power couplers. The R&S ZVAX24 can be used with all VNAs of the R&S ZVA and ZVT families.

Connecting the extension unit to the VNA is quite handy. The R&S ZVAX24 is placed under the VNA and the RF ports are connected via semi-rigid coaxial cables. Control is performed via USB directly from the VNA, which displays a dialog box containing a block diagram of the extension unit. Depending on the test task, the required RF components can be connected.

Users who, for example, want to perform tests under pulsed conditions implement the modulators for pulse generation. The VNA's built-in pulse generators can then generate single pulses, periodic pulses, or variable-pulse sequences. With the 12.5-ns resolution, short pulses can be characterized more precisely. Because the pulse generators support user-configurable pulse trains, the user can generate arbitrary sequences of pulses of any width, duration, and power, which can help to characterize components under real-world conditions.

Low-Cost Wireless SoC
IN OSLO, NORWAY, Nordic Semiconductor expanded its agreement with German electronics distributor Rutronik to the whole of Europe. The enlarged 28-country distribution agreement covers all of Nordic Semiconductor's 2.4-GHz transceiver solutions including the wireless-networking nRF24AP2 ANT and interoperable ANT+ range plus Nordic's sub-1-GHz radios (433, 868, and 915 MHz) along with all supporting design tools and solutions. The firm also unveiled low-cost variants of the nRF24LE1 and nRF24LU1+ 2.4-GHz ultra-low-power (ULP) wireless system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions: the nRF24LE1 OTP and nRF24LU1+ OTP. Nordic's newly developed OTP SoC product variants target the extremely price-sensitive ULP wireless market. Based on the same technology platform as the nRF24LE1 and nRF24LU1+ flash products, the nRF24LE1 OTP and nRF24LU1+ OTP still feature Nordic's ULP nRF24L01+ transceiver core, enhanced 8051 MCU, lower-power oscillators, hardware AES security, and a range of application peripherals and interfaces.

Watch Those Fuel Bills
BARCELONA, SPAIN hosted the recent Metering Europe event. Radiocrafts AS and Sierra Wireless used the occasion to jointly launch a GSM/GPRS/EDGE/3G gateway for smart metering, which embeds a Wireless M-Bus radio compliant to Open Metering System (OMS) in a compact form factor. The OMS is Europe's only system definition with a uniform approach for all utilities (electricity, gas, heat, and water including sub-metering). Wireless M-Bus is used for the data transfer between the meters and the data concentrator (MUC).

The new solution is based on Sierra Wireless' modestly titled Fastrack Supremea GSM/GPRS/EDGE modem with programmable application-processor capabilities. Radiocrafts has developed an expansion card for smart metering that adds Wireless M-Bus or ZigBee to the GSM/GPRS/EDGE modem. Source code for the demonstration software is available from Radiocrafts and its partner Asvito.