Electronic Design
Image courtesy of Thinkstock

(Image courtesy of Thinkstock).

Software-Defined Radio Calls for More Versatile Test Equipment

By replacing hardware components with software, radios used in wireless infrastructure and military communications can be configured at the factory and given software updates. But according to research firm Frost & Sullivan, these software-defined radios are spurring demand for more versatile test equipment.

The market for software-defined radio test equipment is expected to earn revenues of $2.83 billion in 2021, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. That represents almost twice what the market earned in 2014. The growth is a result of the wide range of standards for software-defined radios, which will require more sophisticated testers.

Test equipment vendors have already started selling equipment that can be upgraded with software to troubleshoot software-defined radios. That not only accelerates the testing process but also allows instruments to make tests over the radio's entire life cycle. However, test equipment will get pricier as radios operate over more channels, frequencies, and power levels.

Test vendors will benefit from new markets for software-defined radio. According to the report, the United States and Europe will remain the most developed markets for the technology. But several countries in Asia are in the process of improving their wireless infrastructure, helping test equipment vendors succeed in foreign markets.

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