FM radio is coming to an end? PROMAX develops new technologies for DAB and DAB+ analysis

March 20, 2019.

PROMAX has a new type of demodulator for DAB and DAB+ that can be optionally installed into the RANGER Neo field strength meters so that they be equipped with the most versatile DAB/DAB+ analyzer available today. It includes an expanded frequency margin of up to 800 MHz, among other benefits over the rest of DAB analyzers of the market:

  1. Expanded frequency range up to 800 MHz.
  2. RF signal digitalization.
  3. ETI recording and play out..
  4. FIB and DAB/DAB+ Ensemble measurements.

PROMAX RANGER Neo field strength meters can identify, demodulate and measure the essential quality reception parameters of the digital radio. This is an optional feature (standard in Neo 3 and Neo 4). These measurements and functions can be expanded installing the advanced DAB/DAB+ option, available for Neo 2 and above models, which we are going to see in this article.

PROMAX field strength meters include an advanced DAB/DAB+ analyzer as an option
PROMAX field strength meters include an advanced DAB/DAB+ analyzer as an option.


What is the DAB and DAB+ digital radio?

DAB and DAB+ are digital terrestrial radio standards, with high interference immunity, high sound quality and the ability to attach text and pictures. DAB/DAB+ services require less bandwidth than an FM channel and they compress the audio in MPEG Audio Layer II (DAB) or AAC (DAB+) formats; the latter reduces the bandwidth by up a 60% compared to the first, keeping the same quality.

The digital radio is to the FM radio the same that DTT is to the analogue television.

Expanded frequency range up to 800 MHz

Expanded DAB/DAB+ frequency range from 50 to 800 MHz
Expanded DAB/DAB+ frequency range from 50 to 800 MHz.

The frequency margin of the advanced DAB/DAB+ analyzer covers from 50 to 800 MHz, surpassing the requirements of the norm itself that is restricted to the Band III (from 174 to 230 or 240 MHz depending on the country).

An expanded frequency margin allows ensuring the proper operation of systems running in proprietary, closed context networks: Cable operators, technological labs, system integrators…


IQ signal digitalization

IQ recording -just as a microphone would do with the voice- digitally samples and stores the raw IQ signal of a DAB/DAB+ channel for a later analysis with specialized software.

Digitalization of a DAB RF signal received via RF

Broadcast professionals therefore can analyze the IQ signal even when they are not physically in the area under test: They only need the assistance of a technician on location to capture and later to send the IQ signal via Internet.


ETI storing and play out

ETI stands for Ensemble Transport Interface and it is the container of all the audio, data and additional information services of a DAB/DAB+ digital radio channel.

It is possible to record and play the ETI with the whole of its content. When playing it, a service can be chosen to listen and display its multimedia contents… Or copying the data to an external device for a later analysis.

The ETI of digital radio is the same as the Transport Stream of digital television.

ETI Recording and playing function of a DAB/DAB+ channel
ETI Recording and playing function of a DAB/DAB+ channel.

FIB and DAB/DAB+ ensemble measurements

PROMAX exclusive DAB/DAB+ demodulator allows delivering quality measurements that are not found together in other equipment. In addition, the MER measurement margin is greater than most of the measuring equipment, reaching up to 40 dB:

FIB and DAB/DAB+ ensemble measurements
FIB and DAB/DAB+ ensemble measurements.
  • FIB RATIO. The CRC error control of the Fast Information Block allows an instant evaluation of the Ensemble reception quality.
  • MSC CBER. It is the CBER measurement of the Main Service Channel block, containing the audios and data of the Ensemble.
  • FIC CBER. It refers to the CBER measurement of the Fast Information Channel, containing configuration data that the demodulator uses to demodulate each service of the Ensemble.

Remember: The ETI (Ensemble Transport Interface) of the digital radio is the same as the Transport Stream of the digital television.

More measurements and analysis tools

SLIDESHOW. Still frames that are sent at a rate defined by the radio station as a means of extra multimedia information and it is shown in several menus in the analyzer.
Dynamic echoes analyzer
DYNAMIC ECHOES ANALYZER. DAB can also operate in an SFN (Single Frequency Network) thus the dynamic echoes analyzer becomes a very useful function.
MEROGRAM and SPECTROGRAM. They are respectively the graphs of the MER and the Spectrum over time.
MER by carrier
MER BY CARRIER. It computes and displays the Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for each carrier of the Ensemble.
CONSTELLATION. It allows evaluating the reception of the carriers at a glance. The more condensed points, the better.

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PROMAX is a leading manufacturer of test and measurement systems, broadcast and TV signal distribution equipment. Our product lines include measuring instruments for cable TV, satellite TV, broadcast, wireless and fibre optics networks, FTTH and GPON analyzers. DVB-T modulators, IP streamers or IP converters (ASI, DVB-T) are among the company’s latest developments.