ANITAS - ADVANCED NFC
INTEROPERABILITY TEST
AUTOMATION

Case Study

Automated NFC test system supports NFC design optimization for smartphones

challange

The number of NFC enabled mobile phones for contactless payment has increased over the last years. All these mobile phones need to work reliably with hundreds of payment terminals among the EMVCo approved products for best consumer satisfaction and adoption. Selecting the best settings of dozens of design parameters for NFC chips require a lot of tests that also need to be evaluated.

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solution

Utilizing CISC´s unique NFC Interoperability Test Lab with more than 50 POS terminals provides a comprehensive test environment for NFC based mobile phones. Within the Silicon!Alps funded research project ANITAS (Advanced NFC Interoperability Test Automation System) a new test method has been developed which supports next to interoperability measurements over volume also a recording of RF characteristics. Furthermore, it does automatically recommend tuning parameters of NFC chips to optimize performance for all testing POS terminals in a reasonable time.

“We already use the CISC NFC Interoperability lab for many years. The automated NFC test system is used to test the newly developed NFC chips and platforms to ensure interoperability with POS terminals,” states a verification engineer.  “Utilizing the efforts and achievements in the ANITAS project we now know beforehand the expected success rate of communication parameter configurations in dependence on the DUT, which streamlines the design and configuration optimization significantly.“

DISCOVER CRITICAL DOWNLINK CHANNEL PARAMETERS

Knowing critical downlink channel parameters for each EMVCo device is extremely useful during the development of new NFC-enabled devices. Therefore, an NFC-platform was developed, with which different downlink parameters can be adjusted with remote commands. Using this device, downlink parameter characterization for all POS terminals in the CISC NFC Interoperability Test Lab is possible. In addition to the pass/fail indication for different DUT configurations, the characterization data is used as input for various classification algorithms to find the parameter set with the highest success rate among all characterized POS terminals.

REDUCE CONVENTIONAL INTEROPERABILITY TEST SESSIONS

The ultimate goal is to streamline interoperability test sessions by knowing each POS terminal performance and characteristics. Critical parameter sets can be exposed. During the development of a new NFC-enabled device, such a problematic parameter can be avoided and the development can be focused on the real essential work. Additionally, valuable information about the influence of various parameter combinations on overall communication performance can be gathered. This information helps to develop better NFC-enabled devices and increases user acceptance and, therefore, increases the importance of NFC on the global market.

Results

During the ANITAS project, among others the integration of the characterization DUT to the automated interoperability test system at the CISC NFC Interoperability lab was implemented. The enormous time-consuming characterization measurements results are gathered and added progressively to the analysis algorithms.

  • Decreased the amount of conventional interoperability test sessions
  • Faster time to market
  • Higher competitiveness of next-generation NFC devices
  • Advanced next-generation NFC interoperability test-system for support of result analysis and parameter opimization
  • Increase expertise of parameter combinations regarding interoperability issues

About Anitas

ANITAS is a Silicon!Alps funded project by KWF , Land Steiermarkand SFG with funding management by FFG. CISC Semiconductor GmbH acts as project leader and the partners are NXP Semiconductors GmbH and TU Graz-ITI

The project results have been published in various scientific publications:

Martin Erb ; Christian Steger ; Josef Preishuber-Pflügl ; Martin Troyer: A Novel Automated NFC Interoperability Test and Debug System

Martin Erb, Christian Steger, Martin Troyer, Josef Preishuber-Pflügl: An Automated NFC Measurement System for Modeling and Characterization of NFC Communication Systems

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