Test and Measurement: SpaceX to test direct-to-cellular connections

SpaceX has been granted special temporary authority by the Federal Communications Commission for field testing of direct-to-cellular communications via its Starlink second generation satellites.

The company said that it would be testing up to five devices at different power levels using T-Mobile US’ spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band at more than two dozen locations that include Mountain View, CA; Kansas City, KS; Redmond, WA; San Diego, CA; Dallas, TX; Reston, VA; and Bethel, OK; among others.

Last year, the two companies had announced a spectrum-sharing deal that included direct-to-cellular emergency texting capabilities, with anticipated beta services coming sometime around the end of this year, after the launch of SpaceX’s second-generation Starlink satellites.

In other test news:

Anritsu and Emite have collaborated on a new over-the-air (OTA) measurement solution that supports testing of compliance with the IEEE 802.11be standard, aka Wi-Fi 7.

Anritsu said that its Wireless Connectivity Test Set MT8862A has been integrated with Emite’s portfolio of anechoic and reverberation chambers for OTA measurement of Total Radiated Power (TRP)/Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS) performance of Wi-Fi 7 devices.

-As word continues to trickle out over who supported what testing during the fall 2023 O-RAN Alliance plugfest, Viavi Solutions said this week that it participated in testing in 11 labs across eight countries: the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan and Korea. It supported tests including RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) testing for AI-enabled applications, security testing, conformance and end-to-end testing, as well as real-time analysis and automation of testing.

“In 2023, the industry has been challenged by financial pressure while advancing networks to deliver innovative services,” said Ian Langley, SVP and GM of Viavi’s Wireless Business Unit. “At the PlugFest, Viavi is pleased to have demonstrated milestones toward increased operating efficiency, including test automation, real-time analysis, and developing RAN intelligence to address energy consumption.”

-In testing-tangential news, security robot company Knightscope said that a California semiconductor test equipment company has purchased three of Knightscope’s autonomous security robots to patrol a production, testing and research facility. One will “patrol the manufacturing floor indoors among high-end test equipment and supplies,” another will monitor the building’s front entrance and a third will monitor the rear of the building, which is adjacent to a regional airport, Knightscope said. The client company has nine other U.S. locations and may expand the security robots to additional locations, depending on how the first deployment goes.

Allion Labs noted this week that device manufacturers are now down to a year before the European Union’s USB Type-C rule—which requires all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU to have a Type-C charging port—takes effect. Laptops must have a Type-C port by the spring of 2026. “With only one year left before the deadline, some manufacturers have not yet clarified their planning and verification testing arrangements, creating uncertainty in their branding strategy,” the company said, adding that some of the Type-C-associated risks that have to be tested for include abnormal signal transmission when connecting to a display, inability to charge devices after connection and the risk of a product overheating due to poor cable quality. 

Ookla has taken a look at Fixed Wireless Access broadband service from T-Mobile US and Verizon, in the context of customer gains and performance. Read the full story here.

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says its ReConnect Program is the agency’s largest effort aimed at filling gaps in broadband coverage areas in unserved and underserved rural areas. The program was created on a pilot basis in 2018, and appropriated more than $5 billion between fiscal years 2018 […]


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