Industrial Radio Lab Magdeburg

Since 2019, laboratories with a focus on industrial wireless communication have been operated at four German research locations to support the dissemination of wireless solutions.

Together, the four sites form the "Industrial Radio Lab Germany". 

Our activities:

  • Requirements analysis of industrial and commercial applications, e.g. from flexible production plants or from the water industry
  • Technology-independent evaluation of different wireless solutions
  • Development-accompanying validation of new technical processes or prototypes
  • Coexistence management for inter- as well as intra-system coexistence
  • Scientific support for standardization projects


We offer examination in…

Laboratory environment

  • Emulation of (industrial) transmission conditions by using a channel emulator
  • Replication of intra- and inter-system interference by using a signal generator

Reference environment: Digital Application Center for Mobility, Logistics and Industry Saxony-Anhalt

  • Replication of (industrial) transmission conditions by using reflection walls / devices / robots
  • Simulation of intra- and inter-system interferences by using a signal generator

Target environment

  • Execution of tests during operation without interfering with it
  • If necessary, replication of intra- and inter-system interferences by using a signal generator


Our laboratory equipment

 Network analyzer ZNB8

Capturing the complex transmission behavior of industrial wireless channels is made possible with the ZNB8 network analyzer. The device can be used in a frequency range from 9 kHz to 40 GHz. It is intended to measure radio channels at distances of up to 40 m, as these can occur in real scenarios in the industrial environment and have not yet been investigated, particularly for the band from 3.7 to 3.8 GHz. In this band, 5G stand-alone networks are currently being operated. Based on the measurement results, channel models can subsequently be developed, which can then be used in the laboratory for the evaluation and optimization of wireless systems.

Mixed-signal Oscilloscope MSO71254C

A mixed-signal oscilloscope MSO71254C with 12.5 GHz bandwidth and with up to 100 gigasamples per second enables the analysis of analog and digital signals for high data rate interfaces, such as PCIe, USB and Ethernet. The radio transfer tester developed by ifak, which can be used to measure and evaluate the timing and error behavior of communication systems from the point of view of the application, is to be extended to include the above-mentioned interfaces. The oscilloscope will be used during development.

Shielding boxes

Before field testing, prototypes are examined under laboratory conditions, usually during development. The reproducibility of tests on wireless devices requires compliance with defined conditions, but in particular that the wireless devices and their communications are largely unaffected by external influences. For the purpose of physical shielding of the wireless transmission, so-called shielding boxes are used in laboratory tests. The wireless devices are placed inside a shielding box and connected by cable to each other and to further measurement equipment. The acquired shielding boxes of different sizes have a shielding attenuation of up to 100 dB up to 40 GHz and beyond that 90 dB up to 90 GHz. A wide range of connection options for four antennas each, mains voltage and communication interfaces, such as USB, Ethernet, digital IO and fiber optics, open up a broad spectrum of possible applications. One of the larger shielding boxes is additionally equipped with a two-axis positioner. In combination with the network analyzer, it is thus possible to measure the characteristics of antennas. 

Signal and spectrum analyzer FSW 43

A signal and spectrum analyzer is needed to capture spectrum usage, identify unknown users, and generally analyze waveforms from wireless devices. The new FSW 43 available at ifak can capture, analyze and display signals from 2 Hz to 43 GHz. It can also be used to measure the mmWave band up to 27.5 GHz, where local 5G networks can operate. Corresponding broadband antennas for these frequency ranges were also acquired. In industrial radio applications, very short data packets are often transmitted, using the spectrum for only a short time. With the real-time analysis bandwidth of >500 MHz, these signals can also be detected.

Autonomous mobile network scanner TSMA6

In addition, an autonomous mobile network scanner (TSMA6) was acquired in the "5G Industrial Working and Co-Working Space" (5GIWCoW) project. With its ultra-wideband front-end, the integrated scanner measures all supported mobile technologies in the frequency range from 350 MHz to 6000 MHz. An integrated multi-GNSS receiver enables uninterrupted location tracking. The passive scan captures a range of important additional information about the networks detected. This provides the user with a complete picture of the mobile networks available at a location or in an area.

Funk Transfer Tester

The Funk Transfer Tester (FTT) is a tool developed by ifak that can be used to evaluate metrologically if a communication solution meets the requirements of industrial automation applications. The FTT emulates the communication behavior of the application, determines application-related measured values and takes into account application- and environment-related boundary conditions. This allows tests to be carried out reproducible ma and the result can be easily interpreted with regard to the application.

The communication solutions are analyzed on the basis of performance measurements. The measured values refer to the interfaces that the user can involve for his applications. In this way, the results can be directly compared to the requirements of the application. The stochastic analysis of the measurement results provides not only a snapshot but also a comprehensive picture of the behavior of the communication solution.

An essential component of the FTT is the Multiface. The task of this plattform is to integrate real wireless devices or other automation devices with communication interface into the test system. Various reference interfaces are available for this purpose, such as Ethernet, Digital I/O, RS232, RS485, SPI, UART. According to the configuration specified by the FTT Manager, the Multiface generates the test data traffic and determines application-specific parameters, such as:

  • Transmission time
  • Update time
  • Incorrect messages
  • Lost messages

The generation and analysis of the test data as well as the determination of the measured values is implemented in a FPGA to achieve a deterministic behavior and a high resolution and accuracy.


Further information

IRL Magdeburg at ifak

About IRLG Germany