• USA & Canada (866) 727-8376
  • International +1 (949) 261-1920

Pasternack Blog

What Are OTA Ranges, Chambers, and Outdoor Far-Field Test Ranges?

An essential method of testing communications and radar equipment is the use of Over-the-air (OTA) testing. OTA testing is performed on antenna, user equipment, base station equipment, satellite communication, ground station, radios, and radar for virtually all applications. Though extensive characterization testing and quality testing can be performed in a compact and automated testing rigs on a bench-top or assembly line, this type of testing doesn’t capture antenna or equipment performance as it would be in real use. Also, a fair-field antenna pattern can only be approximated in compact test chambers, as well as the true performance of a complete communication or radar system.

Hence, there are large OTA test ranges, also known as Open Area Test Sites (OATSs), with variants known as outdoor far-field test ranges, and chambers specially designed to enable testing in a more practical environment. These types of test ranges and chambers employ a variety of test equipment, including signal generators, spectrum analyzers, probes, high precision and calibrated antenna, anechoic chamber materials, custom jigs, and other equipment necessary as parts of test platforms or test equipment setups. More recently, the sophistication of OTA test chambers has enhanced as is necessary to accurate test complex antenna array systems that employ beamforming, multi-input multi-output (MIMO), and carrier aggregation technology.

The design of OTA test ranges and chambers is dependent on the type of equipment intended to be tested. Often, OTA chambers have a frequency range limited by the size of the chamber, and some are more compact as they are built for near-field testing (instead of far-field testing. In some cases, an OTA test range or chamber may be specifically designed for a certain application, such as electromagnetic compliance (EMC) standards testing (CISPR< IEC/EN, MIL-STD-461, RTCA DO-160, etc.), or for antenna testing of mobile handsets.

With the advent of millimeter-wave communications in the mainstream electronics industry and commercial applications, there are an increasing number of millimeter-wave OTA test chambers as more organizations are developing technology in these frequencies. As the size of OTA test chambers generally scales inversely with frequency, these millimeter-wave test chambers can be small enough to fit in standard office space and enable on-site testing of millimeter-wave antenna, antenna arrays, and communication systems.

Key Applications of OTA and Far-Field Test Ranges

• Antenna Pattern Characterization
• Spherical Near-Field
• Planar Near-Field
• Standard & Compliance Testing
• Radiated and Emissions Testing

             *Radiated and Emissions Testing
             *Radiated Immunity Testing
             *Free Space VSWR (ANSI/IEEE-149)
             *ETSI TR102 273 Standards Testing
             *CTIA OTA Standards Testing

Useful Noise Sources Accessories and Equipment
• Pasternack Waveguide Antenna
• Pasternack Waveguide Interconnect & Accessories
• Pasternack Cable Generic Test Cable Assemblies
• Pasternack Skew Matched Pair Coaxial Cable
• Pasternack Precision Coaxial Adapters
• Pasternack In-series and Between-series Adapters