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Q&A Interview with Dieter Ohnesorge – 5G mmWave Challenges and Solutions

By GO SEMI & Beyond staff

mmWave is the key topic when it comes to frequency ranges that allow to allocate more bandwidth. millimeter-wave (mmWave) is the band of spectrum between 24 GHz and 100 GHz. As it enables allocation of more bandwidth for high-speed wireless communications, mmWave is increasingly viewed as one key to making 5G connectivity a reality. In this issue, Dieter Ohnesorge, product manager, RF solutions for Advantest, discusses the market opportunity and test challenges associated with 5G mmWave, as well as Advantest’s solution for addressing them.

Q. We’ve been hearing about the promise of 5G for a long time. What demand drivers are edging it closer to fruition?

A. If you look at the global ecosystem [Figure 1], there is massive potential for 5G in many vertical markets. For example, 5G will be an essential aspect of smart manufacturing (SM). SM processes provide greater access to real-time data across entire supply chains, allowing manufacturers and suppliers to manage both physical and human resources more efficiently. This will result in less waste and system downtime and will make more technology-based manufacturing jobs available.

Remote access to health services is another key benefit of 5G. First, it would mean less driving, which is much better for the environment as well patients and doctors and staff. Second, if you’ve already had a screening and the doctor has access to it, why not communicate remotely, saving time on both sides? With 5G, you have the benefit of high bandwidth and low latency, which is important for many applications. Autonomous driving, consumer multimedia applications, and remote banking are just a few more of the many areas that will benefit from highly reliable connections, as well as high bandwidth and/or low latency.

Figure 1. A global ecosystem of vertical deployments stand ready to benefit from 5G.

Q. What has prevented 5G from becoming fully implemented?

A. Primarily, the infrastructure requirements. A specification of this scale cannot be implemented on a local basis alone – it takes a concerted, global effort. The worldwide effort to achieve 5G standardization is a huge step forward. In the U.S., discussions about mmWave technology are currently under way, and at the end of the year or early next year, the discussion will expand towards 5G in the <6GHz band.

In 2015, Verizon took it upon themselves to define a proprietary version of 5G as the next step forward from the current 4G LTE standard. At the end of 2018, the 5G NR (New Radio) industry standard developed from the Verizon effort was released, and all new deployments will follow this spec. In the U.S., initially the frequency band is 28 GHz, with carrier bandwidth of two 425-MHz channels and 24 GHz with seven 100 MHz channels. Additional frequency bands will be auctioned by the FCC for 37, 39 and 47 GHz from December 2019 onward. Other mmWave activities can be seen all over the world, although at different pace.

Q. Where does mmWave come into play?

A. Because the portion of the spectrum that mmWave covers is largely unused, mmWave technology can greatly increase the amount of bandwidth available, making it easier to implement 5G networks. Lower frequencies are currently taken up with the current 4G LTE networks, which typically occupy between 800 and 3,000 MHz. Another advantage is that mmWave can transfer data faster due to the wider bandwidth per channel, although over a shorter transfer distance – up to around 250 meters, or just over 800 feet. This means that it could conceivably work as a replacement for fiber or copper wire into homes and businesses, and this “last mile” capability would broaden the reach of 5G to cover both small and very large areas.

Q. What are the challenges around mmWave test that spurred Advantest to develop a solution? Which does it address?

A. Advantest’s Wave Scale RF card for the V93000 tester platform has seen great success. Its operational range is 10 Mhz to 6 GHz, so we needed a solution that can address the frequency and power requirements associated with higher-bandwidth devices.

Frequency is one of the key parameters associated with mmWave, and with that comes power-level measurement, EVM [error vector magnitude], ACLR [adjacent-channel leakage ratio], and other aspects that all need to be addressed in the testing process to ensure they meet specifications at the wider bandwidths required by 5G-NR.

Another requirement is the number of ports – with 5G mmWave’s beamforming capability, testing could easily be in the range of as many as 32 to 64 ports. At the same time, due to the frequency nature of mmWave, with 5x to 7x frequency, the cost goes up as well. That’s also been one of the challenges: holding down the cost of test with a wide number of sites being tested in parallel.

The V93000 Wave Scale Millimeter test solution, which we introduced in May 2019, extends the capabilities of Wave Scale RF. It is designed for multi-band mmWave frequencies, offering high multi-site parallelism and versatility. It has two operational ranges: 24 GHz to 44 GHz for 5G mmWave, and 57 GHz to 70 GHz, which extends the product’s capabilities for the wireless Gigabit, or WiGig, era. Figure 2 shows the range of frequencies that Wave Scale was developed to cover.

Figure 2. Wave Scale RF provides a scalable platform for connectivity device test, from standard RF to millimeter-wave.

In addition, new modules can be added as new frequency bands are rolled out worldwide. The card cage has up to eight mmWave instruments, making it versatile, cost-effective, and able to perform as well as high-end bench instruments. Because it has wideband testing functionality, Wave Scale can handle full-rate modulation and de-modulation for ultra-wideband (UWB), 5G-NR mmWave up to 1 GHz, and WiGig up to 2 GHz, supporting probes as well as antenna-in-package (AiP) devices connectorized, and over-the-air testing.

Figure 3 illustrates 5G device measurements that can be achieved using Wave Scale Millimeter: power out/flatness test results. The solution’s massive parallelism allows these tests to be performed quickly and at significant cost savings.

Figure 3. This graph overlays a customer’s 8-channel transceiver power-out test results, performed over 800 MHz at 28 GHz. Wave Scale allows channel flatness to be executed in a single operating sequence, one channel after the other.

Q. When will this solution be widely needed?

A. The Industry is still learning how to test these devices. We can help customers get started now, thanks to the modularity of the solution. They can start below 6GHz and when they need the higher frequency, we can add the mmWave capability.

The bottom line is that Advantest’s platform approach is ideal for this scenario – because it is scalable and modular, we can continue to add to the product’s functionality to make it even more comprehensive. By being ahead of curve, we will have the right solution ready when our customers need to adapt to new requirements.

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Q&A Interview with Keith Schaub

By GO SEMI & Beyond staff

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as machine learning is growing as the semiconductor industry discovers new ways to use these approaches to do things that humans cannot. In this issue, we talk with Keith Schaub, Vice President of Business Development for Advantest America’s Applied Research Technology and Ventures, about unique research Advantest is conducting with the Univ. of Texas, Dallas, to integrate machine learning into a challenging area of chip development: RF transceiver design, test and manufacturing.

Q. What led Advantest to begin investigating the use of machine learning for this application?

A. Machine learning has been around for a long time. It’s actually a subset of AI, by which machines learn how to complete tasks without being explicitly programmed to do so. There have been many startups over the years that looked to leverage machine learning, but it’s never really been implemented previously within the semiconductor industry. As we have begun to do more work looking at the potential advantages of using AI, we’ve come to realize there are some practical applications by which the industry could greatly benefit.

Q. What is the approach you’re developing for implementing machine learning?

A. The approach we’ve been working on with UT Dallas is a proof of concept for how to take a machine learning method and apply it to semiconductor manufacturing and test – specifically, RF transceivers. Machine learning is much better suited to analog than to digital devices. Digital is a series of 1s and 0s, so the system can either recognize something or not, but there’s no ability to drill down in terms of granularity in order to leverage the more powerful aspects of machine learning. Analog systems require far more data because they’re more complex, making them a better environment for machine learning.

In RF applications, the numerous transmission protocols, large amounts of data, and large bandwidths with high data rates create challenges that call for the development of new algorithms for which modern machine learning is well suited. RF transceivers are affected by a variety of impairments, such as compression, interference and offset errors, as well as IQ imbalance. IQ signals form the basis of complex RF signal modulation and demodulation, both in hardware and in software, as well as in complex signal analysis.

Figure 1 shows a typical RF transceiver circuit, with a number of potential noise errors highlighted in red. A graphical representation of the signal quality can be generated to correspond with each error (Figure 2). The challenge for the operator is knowing which error generated which plot, and which errors are the most problematic.

The approach we’ve developed is a machine learning-based solution for noise classification and decomposition in RF transceivers. The machine learning system can be trained to learn and then identify and match up each impairment to each noise plot; this is something that would be virtually impossible for a human to do.

Figure 1. RF circuit with potential noise errors in red.

Figure 2. Constellation plot showing signal quality impairments caused by various noise errors.

Q. How would this be put to use in a manufacturing environment? 

A.  Figure 3 illustrates how the machine learning solution works. During the training process – this is literally how the system learns to recognize and classify data – a set of constellation points from early versions of the ICs being developed are fed into a machine learning system. Extracted features are separated by category as either noise-type classification or noise-level regression, with the system learning what each type is and how to separate and recognize them by individual error. This is indicated by the different colors assigned to each specific noise type. This is particularly valuable because, while RF transceiver designs, like those of most analog circuits, involve a high degree of customization, certain types of noise errors can potentially occur regardless of the specific circuit.

Once the training process is complete, the system can be put into use in production mode with actual DUTs [devices under test], and use what it has learned through the training process to apply models, identify the various types of errors and provide an impairment report. The system doesn’t have to go through lengthy downtime because the assessment can be completed quickly, and the resulting report allows the user to determine which errors are most critical and need to be addressed so that no damage or yield loss occurs.

Figure 3. Machine learning process for RF transceiver noise classification and decomposition.

This approach can be used throughout the test process – not only for device and system-level test, but also during design-for-test, so that analog/RF designers can better simulate and understand whether their designs will work. This is important due to amount of hand/custom work and the number of variables associated with analog device design.

Q. At what point do you see this technique being broadly adopted in the industry? What challenges would prevent this from occurring?

A. While the technology is mature enough that it could be implemented right away, there are several reasons machine learning has not yet been broadly adopted in the semiconductor industry. For one, there haven’t been sufficient resources/datasets to support its widespread use. For another, the industry is highly risk averse and concerned about security, so companies don’t want to make their data – which is their valuable IP – available for the machine learning process. They have it in the cloud, but in their own individual clouds, which don’t talk to each other. My belief is that use of machine learning will become widespread when the big IDMs [integrated device manufacturers] take the initiative, and the rest of the industry will follow suit.


Advantest’s Applied Research Technology and Ventures group would like to acknowledge the recent publication at the 2019 IEEE 37th VLSI Test Symposium (VTS) of a paper titled “Machine Learning-based Noise Classification and Decomposition in RF Transceivers,” which details the work described in this interview. The paper was jointly developed by Deepika Neethirajan, Constantinos Xanthopoulos, Kiruba Subramani, Yiorgos Makris (UT Dallas), Keith Schaub and Ira Leventhal (Advantest America).

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Q&A with Advantest President & CEO, Yoshiaki Yoshida discusses the mid-term plan, Grand Design

By GO SEMI &  Beyond staff

The subject of this issue’s Q&A is Yoshiaki Yoshida, president and CEO of Advantest Corporation. He joined Advantest in 1999 and held a succession of leadership positions prior to being elected to his current roles in January 2017. He holds a degree in management from Yokohama National University. Mr. Yoshida recently introduced new business strategies that will guide Advantest’s business both in the near term and over the next decade.

Q. What were the trends that helped Advantest achieve the strong financial results for FY2017?

A. Advantest’s FY2017 financial year-over- year growth of 32.9% can be linked to several key industry trends. Strong demand for 3D NAND flash memory and DRAM led memory chipmakers to actively invest in expanding their production capacity. In addition, high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), display driver ICs, and automotive ICs and sensors amid advancements in automotive electronics – combined with demand for data center-related semiconductors – were major contributors.

Q. Advantest has developed a “Grand Design” plan. What market / industry advances led to the development of this plan?

A. Amidst the digital transformation driven by semiconductor evolution, Advantest’s business environment is changing dramatically. With the explosion of data driving developments in semiconductor technology, the tester market is evolving in concert with the semiconductor space. Whereas chip drivers previously evolved from mainframes to PCs and smartphones, semiconductors are now becoming the infrastructure of a data-centric future, as complex applications including data centers, 5G communications, and human/machine interfaces move into the spotlight. [See Figure 1.] These applications require more complex semiconductors with greater capacity and functionality – and, in turn, test systems that can accommodate their advanced testing requirements.

Figure 1. Changes in the semiconductor market.


To capitalize on these successes and take full advantage of the industry environment, we developed the 10-year Grand Design, as well as the Mid-Term Plan, which covers FY2018 through FY2020.

Q. What are the key aspects of each of these plans?

A. The vision of Advantest’s Grand Design is to add customer value in an evolving semiconductor value chain. More specifically, we will further contribute to the semiconductor industry by enriching, expanding and integrating our test and measurement solutions throughout the entire value chain. [See Figure 2.] Our business is organized into three reportable segments: (1) semiconductor and component test systems; (2) mechatronics; and (3) services, support and other activities to address the wide-ranging needs of customers in every area of the industry ecosystem.

Figure 2. Advantest’s Grand Design involves expanding on its existing business areas to ensure its test technology is adopted and integrated throughout the semiconductor value chain.

Q. Why is Advantest uniquely positioned to successfully implement these business plans?

A. We have a number of advantages working in our favor.

  1. We have the world’s leading product portfolio, built on highly scalable, modular platforms, and we hold a dominant position in several key growth areas, including DRAM, non-volatile memory (NVM), HPC and networks.
  2.  We have the number one global customer base, developed and nurtured over many years, with a very strong presence in fast-growing Asia markets.
  3.  We offer complete test environments, including chip-handling tools and device-interface peripherals, and we have strong, comprehensive support teams in every region we serve. We are excited by the opportunities afforded by the current state of the industry, together with our already strong and well-established position in the global semiconductor ecosystem. We look forward to making great inroads with our near- and long-term plans, and to reporting on key successes and innovations that will enable us to achieve our objectives, strengthen our portfolio, and become the number one provider of test and measurement solutions.

Yoshiaki Yoshida Advantest President & CEO

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Q&A Interview

Doug Lefever, Director, President and CEO of Advantest America, and Managing Executive Officer, Board of Directors, Advantest Corporation

By GO SEMI & Beyond staff

This article was adapted from an interview that originally appeared in the Silicon Catalyst newsletter.

Q: Where does Advantest fit into the semiconductor ecosystem?

A: As the semiconductor industry has evolved and grown, so has Advantest. We are active throughout the ecosystem, as the figure shows, providing solutions from silicon-level testing up to system-level testing – an area we see having a great deal of potential for growth. Today, our industry-wide involvement reaches beyond our core capabilities in test and measurement to encompass lithography, data logging, consulting and other areas. Oftentimes, folks at startups have done engineering development, but have not been involved in broader business operations, so Advantest can help to bring them along the learning curve. This allows us to form alliances with early-stage companies, which typically don’t need a deep dive into test technology or to get a device onto a tester.

Q: Why does Advantest partner with an incubator like Silicon Catalyst?

A: Because Silicon Catalyst is focused solely on semiconductor solution startups, it provides very early-stage companies with access to goods, services and experience from its network of in-kind partners – all of which are businesses that have been through the startup process. At Advantest, we’re excited to be able to support new startups through our involvement with the incubator. Our commitment comprises 160 hours per month technical education, management guidance, sharing insights and mentoring – the equivalent of one month’s work by a full-time, experienced industry member.

I want to stress that, as these are very, very early-stage ventures, none has yet implemented our actual test resources on its nascent IC designs. We are mentoring and advising them on developing test strategies and manufacturing flows – and, on a broader scale, we are sharing our hard-won experience in running a company. Our business proficiency allows us to perceive where young ventures have weaknesses and help them to address those weaknesses.

These young companies have promising technologies or application ideas, but generally need to gain “ground floor,” startup-level experience. Silicon Catalyst provides opportunities for them to begin building out their teams and to make real connections with equipment and technology providers or financial people, depending upon their stage of development. A key reason that we decided to join the ecosystem is so that we can help figure out ways to reduce the cost of developing and financing new semiconductor startups; funding new technology or anything semiconductor-related has proven challenging to the industry.

We recognize that we’re not going to be selling test systems right away. But a few years down the road, as some portfolio companies that have had access to our technology and our support services become successful, they may gravitate toward our platforms. Advantest does not fund any of these companies or sit on their boards, but we are the only ATE company that gets to help evaluate new companies and new technologies when they ask to join Silicon Catalyst. We can also talk to companies with technologies or IP of interest to us, regardless of whether or not they are added to the portfolio.

Gaining exposure to what’s coming gives us insight into where our industry is headed, what type of equipment customers will need and, perhaps, even the types of performance we might expect from future electronic products. We are gleaning information about emerging technology trends, as well, in such areas as optical, materials, power management, memory cells, MRAM, and low-power memory technology – to name a few.

Q: Where are you seeing momentum in semiconductor startups?

A: As I mentioned, optical is a key trend – many optical-related companies are leading the next wave of high-bandwidth connectivity and low-power computing. While some are building a single chip and others are developing whole modules, the volume of optical products is starting to grow, and high-volume manufacturing (HVM) will be the next step.

In terms of applications, consumer optical-based communications are on the rise. In this area, a new standard is emerging called NGPON-2, which is next-generation Ethernet over passive optical connections. Another area of focus of a number of startups is high-bandwidth computing, while massively parallel computing is enabling advances in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and Big Data with shared databases. Dedicated chips are being built for machine learning.

Wearable technology for medical and health-related applications is increasingly incorporating such capabilities as blood monitoring and analysis. One company is making a device that will be able to perform a diagnostic screening on a blood sample at point-of-care without requiring an extensive blood panel analysis. The AI system will be taught patterns consistent with specific pathogens, bacteria or other components so that, when the blood sample is put into the device, the system can determine, within 10 minutes, what’s in there – a much faster and cheaper solution than what’s available today.

Other interesting areas addressing power requirements include low-power memory and energy harvesting, which is wearable technology that uses the heat of your body to charge a battery. The bigger the temperature difference between your body and ambient air, the more energy it puts out.

These are just a few of the technology areas where we are seeing burgeoning opportunities for startups, as well as the industry at large, in the semiconductor arena.

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Q&A: A Change at the Top

By GO SEMI & Beyond Staff

Yoshiaki Yoshida became Advantest President and CEO in January 2017, replacing Shinichiro Kuroe, who decided to step down after serving in the role since August 2014. Under Mr. Kuroe’s leadership, Advantest returned to profitability in fiscal 2014 and continued to build on that success over the next two years. Mr. Yoshida was elected his successor, and shares here his vision for taking the company forward.

What are your plans for Advantest in your new role?

My goal is to maintain the profitable corporate structure Mr. Kuroe built, while continuing our pattern of growth. I also aim to build a working atmosphere that will further enable Advantest employees to enjoy and take pride in their work.

Are there key topics on which you will focus?

Yes, I plan to focus on three key areas.

First: Our unique value proposition. Everyone values safety and security – both of which our core measurement technologies offer. We have worked hard to ensure that our businesses provide enormous value to people around the world, and it’s essential that we continue to work with confidence to grow our reach.

Second: Our business environment.  Semiconductors are penetrating further and further into everyday life, and semiconductor devices and the equipment and systems that use them will only become more prevalent going forward. With the coming of the Internet of Things, there is no question that semiconductor production and data volumes will grow significantly. This means that test and measurement technologies will play an ever more important role. 

There is still significant room for growth in the application areas for our technologies, from chip test to module and system test, giving us an opportunity to expand our served markets beyond the semiconductor industry, to any and all industries that utilize semiconductors. We must focus on meeting the challenge of applying our core technologies to new and diverse sectors. 

Third: Our position and strengths. Advantest has a strong base of amazing customers, built through our unrelenting focus on providing high-quality products and services. At the same time – and without lessening our focus on satisfying our existing customers – we will shape and evolve our business to embrace new technologies and attract new customers. Another key strength is our financial foundation, built up by our predecessors, which enables us to execute new strategies. But our greatest strength is our employees around the world: our global network and the teamwork of our employees worldwide that support Advantest’s business growth. My mission is to effectively leverage these strengths – customer base, financial foundation and global network – to grow our business and improve corporate and shareholder value. 

To you – our customers, partners and friends – I extend best wishes for a prosperous year. We look forward to playing a role in helping you achieve new levels of success.

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Spotlight on W2BI: Out of the Lab and into the Field: Making IoT Device Testing Portable

Interview with Artun Kutchuk

W2BI, Inc., an Advantest Group company, is a leading developer of wireless device test automation products designed to improve quality and time-to-market for customers’ advanced mobile devices. GO SEMI & BEYOND sat down with W2BI Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, Artun Kutchuk, to talk about the wireless market’s testing needs, why testing Internet of Things (IoT) devices is a different animal with unique testing requirements, and W2BI’s pioneering new approach to testing in the age of IoT.

Q. What are the testing needs for the wireless market in the next five years?

A. The market will undergo rapid change over the next 24 months, let alone the next five years. We will see a move toward connected and aware test environments leveraging both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) models. The pace of testing, communication, and information sharing will speed significantly as the types of information that can be shared between R&D and production line systems increase. Future systems will benefit greatly by sharing information with each other – at the chip level, during design and R&D, certification, and returns.

IoT devices have very important test needs: IoT communication modules that power temperature sensors, agricultural sensors, video systems, control systems, biometrics, and the like. As these are deployed in higher volume and defects appear once they’re embedded, it becomes very difficult and costly to pull them out of their environment. The ability to trace pass/fail from silicon all the way to field deployment will require information sharing across test systems, and we’ll start to see further connection both within and between systems to simplify sharing different types of data.

The industry is now in a great position to leverage major advances in the cloud and bring previously disconnected test environments into the connected world. To achieve this, we needed to establish a new product category of connected portable test systems that will replace disconnected test systems for IoT test.

Q. Why do W2BI’s history and skill set position it well to provide test and measurement solutions for the IoT space?

We have a long history in mobile test – handsets, mobile phones, and similar products popular within the last five to ten years in the consumer space. While all of these are now mature industries, our expertise gives us a platform for moving forward in IoT. We perform both feature- and functional-based test, and we have strong expertise all the way through final assembled test. This allows controlling the device under test (DUT) and putting it under many different test scenarios – using an automated approach – to enable fast, thorough testing. Our customer base also positions us well in the IoT market. We provide solutions to top mobile operators, who approve new devices to go on the network. We also build and deliver systems to OEMs, a number of whom utilize them well for a range of applications.

Q. What is your MicroLTE solution, and why is it uniquely suited to address the IoT test market?

A. In the mobile world, an IoT device is purpose-built for specific functions and could have many different communication bearers.  It’s a very different type of device from a tablet or a smartphone – in cost structure, in usability, and in what you have to test on it. The industry needs a test system that can exercise the needs and requirements of an IoT device as well as the development and test cycles that support commercialization.  Our portable MicroLTE solution achieves several things:

  1. Lowers the cost of test. With large-scale economics, you could have one traditional handset provider buy a test system, and then use it to manufacture millions of smartphones. The IoT market has many more manufacturers and is typically much more purpose-built in final use scenarios. These devices are coming to market in large overall volumes, but smaller model volumes and a different cost structure – requiring a different, more flexible approach.
  2. Allows for a different business model. While traditional test equipment typically employs a capital expenditure (CapEx) model, MicroLTE also allows for an operating expenses (OpEx) model. In the IoT space, your testing needs can change rapidly, so instead of acquiring the system on a CapEx basis, you acquire it through a SaaS/PaaS-type subscription, use it for as long as your program needs, and then provide it back to us. We have built a SaaS/PaaS-based cloud system to allow for this approach.
  3. Delivers test portability. The bench test equipment used in mobile feature and functional test is typically big and heavy, and once it’s installed, you really can’t move it with ease. With MicroLTE, we’ve shrunk the test equipment down to fit into the size of a backpack. This makes it easy to transport between sites and use in unique ways and environments. To create this small footprint, we’ve pulled as much functionality as we can off the equipment and put onto a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 laptop with a touchscreen – it’s very small and simple to use and allows the MicroLTE system to provide a rich and functionally complete LTE system, with eNB, IMS, and EPC. 1 Together, these create a rich, portable LTE test lab that’s very easy to learn and use in any environment.
  4. Managed via the cloud. As soon as the MicroLTE equipment comes online, you can manage it remotely via the MicroLTE Cloud Hub built with security and scale via Microsoft Azure. Traditional test systems today are physically disconnected and only physically secured within the facility. With MicroLTE, you can engage the test system with a strong balance of usability, access, and security. The test user can share data in a controlled and managed way to supporting organizations or enterprises, speeding up the R&D and test cycle to allow for a faster time to market.

This system is uniquely suited to IoT because in the IoT world many of the devices have limited human interfaces, e.g., power meters, temperature controls, irrigation controls, parking meters, etc. Thus, automating the DUT is critical, allowing for as little user interaction as possible with the test environment  – consequently optimizing test automation and speeding the test process. We have an extensive background in device automation and take this to the next level with MicroLTE.

Q. What is W2BI’s cloud vision for the future of IoT and assembled device testing?

A. We wanted to solve a couple of problems. First, as we all know, IoT is fragmented, with billions of devices projected by 2020. We needed to build a system that could provide as much test coverage as possible throughout the product’s lifecycle. Second, we wanted to provide a platform for detailed test data to be communicated to different R&D environments, allowing teams to share information easily and quickly for debug, pass/fail, etc. The cloud is the key to providing new and updated test coverage to many systems in a scalable manner, and for bringing together test data from many geographically separated systems. It allows systems to be securely deployed locally or distributed in multiple global regions. Test data is very sensitive, and a cloud-based system lets the enterprise own its own data and manage security consistent with their policies. One customer we are working with has said this cloud design is by far the most secure test system they have seen.

Q. What type of partners is W2BI seeking to extend MicroLTE to the next version?

A. Our first goal was to partner closely with mobile operators, chip/module makers and OEMs. We selected a group of key chip/module makers for the first round of product trials, and it has gone very well. We have just moved from the first phase of development and commercialization to general availability.

For the next phase, we want to focus on the scale of the system for broad deployment and management, so we’re looking at test partners, test labs, companies in the traditional IT space. This will be determined over the next quarter.

We’re enormously excited about this product – it will serve as a complement to Advantest’s production line ATE products while establishing a unique new model for IoT test.


eNB = Evolved NodeB base station for LTE radio

IMS = IP Multimedia Subsystem

EPC = Evolved Packet Core LTE architecture

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