Wireless technology has brought a great deal of convenience to both business and everyday life. Few executives can imagine trying to organize their schedules without their BlackBerry or similar wireless personal digital assistant (PDA), while few families would now want to cope with tracking their sons and daughters after school without the aid of a cellular telephone.
Of course, with the convenience comes challenges for wireless device designers. As the wireless marketplace continues to become more competitive, end-product developers are attempting to cram more functions into each wireless device, such as Bluetooth and video displays into cellular handsets, and wireless-local-area-network (WLAN) functionality into virtually any handheld device with a microprocessor and capable of running software. One of the design challenges of having multiple wireless standards sharing such a small space is co-existence, since the different standards must be able to operate seamlessly in the presence of nearby RF/microwave radiation (within the handset itself).
Credit is due to measurement facilities (see the AT4 wireless story below) and to test-equipment manufacturers for providing the capabilities and measurement gear for evaluating wireless devices with multiple standards. In some rare cases, such as Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com), the test-equipment supplier also provides computer-aided-engineering (CAE) software to help in the design process, even working in tandem with the measurement equipment to help develop better models and inevitably speed the time to market.