NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Chicago Open House!

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Congratulations to the team at NTS Chicago!

The beautiful new facility was officially opened on October 6th with an Open House event. Visitors included the Mayor of the Village of Mount Prospect, Arlene Juracek, other civic leaders and NTS executives and board members.

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“We are pleased and excited to open this gorgeous new facility to our customers,” stated Vicki Panhuise, CEO of NTS (above right with Mayor Juracek), “NTS Chicago is now a full-service environmental and EMC laboratory ready to help our customers deliver products the world can trust.”

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FCC Halts DFS Master Certifications

The FCC has announced that it has currently halted issuing new and any Class 2 Permissive Change certifications that require a DFS evaluation for Master devices until further notice. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is currently investigating interference with UNII Master Devices and the FCC. Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), a mechanism to allow unlicensed devices to share spectrum with existing radar systems is mandated in the 5250-5350 and 5470-5725 MHz UNII bands.

Elliott Laboratories continues to test Master devices and is currently awaiting on further updates from the FCC. For more information, please contact us via email at info@elliottlabs.com or at 408-245-7800.

New EN 55022:2006 Requirements slated to go into effect

Manufacturers of Information Technology Equipment (ITE) intended for sale in the European Union should take note of some important changes that are slated to go into effect with regard to their EMC testing requirements under emissions standard EN 55022:2006.

In November 2008 the European Union’s Official Journal (OJ) published lists of standards for the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive and Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTED). Both lists include references to EN 55022:2006 and its amendment A1, released in 2007.

EN 55022:2006 will supersede EN 55022;1998 and become the requirement for Information Technology Equipment (ITE) sold into the European Union after October 1st 20091 , with the requirements of Amendment A1:2007 coming into force one year later on October 1st 2010. What are the differences between the 1998 and 2006 versions of the standard and what new requirements will be introduced by A1:2007? Let’s begin by reviewing the history of CISPR 22 from 1997 onwards. International Standard CISPR 22 is the basis for not only EN 55022 but also for many of the other national versions of standards for ITE.

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

Elliott Laboratories is currently equipped to conduct the EU free space testing above 1 GHz per EN55022:2006+ A1 and/or CISPR 22:2005 + A1 in all chambers at our Fremont facility. For more information about how this change affects your products or for a price quote to test your product, please contact us at info@elliottlabs.com or call at 408-245-7800.

NTS Begins Testing for ZigBee RF4CE Specification

National Technical Systems Inc (NTS) has begun ZigBee testing for RF4CE platforms. The new RF4CE test program will verify functionality and interoperability of the ZigBee RF4CE across multiple vendors, with product-level certification testing soon to follow. Testing of the specification will allow manufacturers to quickly and easily develop interoperable products based on the standard.

Culver City, CA (PRWEB) June 8, 2009 — National Technical Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:NTSC) (NTS), a leading provider of quality, conformance and certification testing, quality registration and managed services, announced today that it has kicked off its testing program for the ZigBee RF4CE specification.

The ZigBee RF4CE specification was designed for radio-frequency based remote controls, providing a low power solution that removes line-of-sight issues commonly associated with typical consumer remotes. NTS has been working with the ZigBee RF4CE Special Interest Group (SIG) for several months on a defined test standard that would allow for low-cost compliance verification of remote controls and “targets” (e.g., TVs, stereos, CD players, etc.). In addition, the standard allows for two-way communications (between remote and target, or even target to target) for a better consumer experience.

The RF4CE test program will verify functionality and interoperability of the ZigBee RF4CE platforms across multiple vendors, with product-level certification testing soon to follow. Testing of the specification will allow manufacturers to quickly and easily develop interoperable products based on the standard.

“NTS has been an authorized ZigBee test lab for many years, and we are pleased that we will be performing testing for the new consumer electronics standard for ZigBee members,” said Osman Sakr, NTS CTO. “ZigBee RF4CE will open up an entirely new market to the benefits of ZigBee technology, and we are looking forward to being part of the radio-frequency remote revolution.”

“Working with an experienced certification provider, like NTS, has allowed us to offer a meaningful, cost-effective certification program, so that ZigBee members can get ZigBee RF4CE products to market quickly,” said Bob Heile, Chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. “We look forward to continuing to work with NTS on ZigBee public profile certifications.”

“NTS has been a great contributor in the timely completion of the ZigBee RF4CE certification program,” commented Victor Berrios, chairman of the ZigBee RF4CE compliance working group. “Their experience in testing and input to the working group was a valuable resource when working on the program.”

ZigBee RF4CE: More flexibility and control

The ZigBee RF4CE specification is based on IEEE 802.15.4. MAC/PHY radio technology in the 2.4GHz unlicensed frequency band and enables worldwide operation, low power consumption and instantaneous response time. It allows omni-directional and reliable two-way wireless communication, frequency agility for enhanced co-existence with other 2.4GHz wireless technologies, simple security set-up and configuration. During the next quarter, the Alliance will develop a test program consistent with existing policies for specifications and public application profiles. Once complete, products using a public application profile based on the ZigBee RF4CE specification can be submitted to an authorized test house for certification.

via NTS Begins Testing for ZigBee RF4CE Specification

Windows 7: Are You Ready?

Windows 7I’ve you’re a hardware or software developer, you obviously know that Microsoft Windows 7 is on the way – and it’s coming quickly! According to the latest rumors (backed up by the stability of the test builds being made available), Windows 7 should be released by the end of the year, but the question is are you (and your products) ready? Have you tested your hardware and/or software products under Windows 7?

With the dismal release that was Windows Vista, many users and corporations have held off on upgrading their Windows XP or earlier platforms to the latest version of Windows. There is a huge amount of pent-up demand for a fast, stable, secure operating system, and as soon as Windows 7 hits, a large number of computers will be upgrading. Don’t get caught unprepared, as many manufacturers did with Windows Vista.

Windows 7 is much more than just fancy window dressings. Windows 7 has made significant performance improvements on the underlying technology which is based on Windows Vista, including much of the same driver technologies. If you’ve submitted products for Windows certification, you’ve probably already discovered that Microsoft is requiring that new submissions include testing under Windows 7. So, if you haven’t already, make sure to get testing NOW!

Bring Your Computer Back From The Dead

Dead ComputerEver have a computer just totally die on you in the middle of testing? Of course, if you’re testing a new product, it’s not that uncommon to have it crash, and sometimes even corrupt the system. The problem is if you’ve still got data on that computer that you need to get to – or even the debug logs to see what happened before every went to heck. Problem is, what do you use to get into your dead computer?

As long as you can still boot from a CD, you’ve got options. Check out this article from PCWorld: Six Downloadable Boot Discs That Could Save Your PC

And don’t forget to back up your system! Even if you can reproduce the data, you probably don’t want to spend the time (and your boss doesn’t want to spend the money on your salary) to get it back.

Using MSXML in your application? Double-check your installation.

Installing MSXMLJust a quick note, if you’re using MSXML (Microsoft XML Core Services), make sure you test and retest your installation routines. If your customers have upgraded to Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3, you may run into issues. As of SP3, Microsoft has placed MSXML under system protection so that applications/installations that try to update/remove MSXML fail. The most common occurrence of this has been with Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft has posted a work-around on their website. However, last thing you want to be doing is fielding support calls, emails, and tickets because of this issue. We just caught this testing another company’s product and thought we’d pass it along. Hopefully, Microsoft will help developers in handling this issue.

Virtual Machines – Lots of browsers, lots of operating systems

Virtual MachinesWhen you’re trying to test your website with many different web browsers, you often run into problems. In particular, Windows really isn’t designed to have multiple versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) installed at the same time. You could setup multiple platforms and maybe use a KVM to save space, but most of us don’t have the room for all that equipment just sitting around all the time.

As we mentioned in a previous post, a good solution to the issue is to setup multiple “virtual machines” (VMs) on your computer. Each VM has it’s own operating system and storage so you can install a version of Internet Explorer in each virtual machine. We also have previously discussed how you use VMs to learn how to use Linux and try out the various distributions (distros). Many of the distros already have pre-rolled VMs available (via VMware’s site or various image sites like this one for Virtual Box), but sometimes there’s that one distro you want to try without a VM. What do you do? Easy – roll your own.

Rather than going into the details of setting up your own VM, however, Lifehacker has a great article on how to setup, configure and install operating systems into a virtual machine using Virtual Box. Give it a read – it’s a very well done article!

Carbon Copy Cloner – Ghosting for the Mac

Carbon Copy ClonerIf you’re performing testing on a Mac and looking for a simple application to ghost/image the hard drive, take a look at Carbon Copy Cloner. I know it seems like you should be able to just copy all the files to an external hard drive and just select it from the Startup Disk preference pane, but it doesn’t work in MacOS X. And, if you’re doing a lot of configuration testing, installation/uninstallation, etc., it would be really handy to have an identical copy of the hard drive, right? Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) to the rescue.

Just install CCC (or SuperDuper!) and you can clone a low-level copy of your internal hard drive to another partition or drive. It’s very handy, and if you really want a good backup, you can have it scheduled to update the cloned image so you’ll always have the latest version of all your hard drive files. When my hard drive suffered an unfortunate failure a few years ago, I had no worries – I had an identical copy of my hard drive all setup which allowed me to recover all my work on another Mac. It’s fast, accurate, and donation-ware so you can try it out before you buy.

Remote Access using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)

Remote Control Your Windows PCPreviously, we discussed using VNC to remotely control a test platform. Today, a quick introduction to Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Like VNC, RDP provides remote access to a platform, using an RDP server and RDP client, to control the keyboard and mouse of the platform as if you were sitting right in front of it. However, there are many differences between the two products:

  • While VNC is GPL’d software, RDP is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol. So, while both the VNC server and client have been ported to multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.), the RDP Server is typically a Windows-based product.
  • Windows XP & Windows Vista ship with Remote Desktop Connection and Remote Assistance, both of which use the RDP protocol client & server protocols. While Mac OS X and Linux (Ubuntu, etc.) typically ship with VNC-based products.
  • Due to Microsoft’s low-level hooks in their software, RDP connections usually perform much better than VNC products.
  • Microsoft’s products use RSA Security’s RC4 cipher for encryption.

Which one is best? That’s up to you. Both offer many functions. If you’re using Windows platforms and you want the greatest performance, grab a copy of an RDP-based application like Remote Desktop Connection. If you’re cross-platforms, VNC may be a better tool for you. Either way, get your remote connections setup so you can get out of work on time!