Equipment Testing

Equipment Testing

Here at Aetrio Technology, we offer a comprehensive testing service for telecoms equipment and IT Hardware. This covers optical, IP and radio based technologies at circuit board level. 

Why is testing a key part of the telecom supply chain?

First of all, the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) cannot support a growing back catalogue of equipment, particularly those that it has inherited by means of merger and acquisition. This means that the telecom operator will commonly find that it wishes to continue using a product after the end of support or last time buy has been announced. 

It’s a fact that telecom products are kept in service for much longer than was originally intended, for example SDH/ SONET (synchronous digital hierarchy a transmission method based on time division multiplexing) is still used widely today since operators value its reliability. In such cases a reliable third party repair centre will be needed with a deep understanding of the equipment in scope. Alternatively it may be the case that OEM support is no longer cost effective and more economic business models are sought to provide the same service but without compromising on quality.

Secondly, sustainability, the environment and the circular economy are no longer a minority interest. In fact the concepts of the circular economy whereby the lifespan of equipment is extended by means of repair for economic and environmental reasons are now becoming generally accepted in business, politically and in society. The circular economy underpins everything that we do at Aetrio Technology and telecom repair is a classic case since embodied resources within the equipment are preserved and the life of the product is extended greatly and diverted from disposal by landfilling.

As the global population has grown, countries have identified the negative environmental impact of having a single-use approach. The demands on natural resources have increased and competition for rare minerals has intensified. This has meant the old ‘take-make-waste’ linear model has become outdated and a transition to the circular economy has become a necessity. Of course where spare parts cannot be sourced by any other means, then testing is a vital activity to ensure that equipment can continue to be supported.

Beyond testing

For some clients an enhanced service is required whereby, in addition to the repair in hand, a number of pre-emptive actions are also carried out. This often includes replacing components on the board that are known to be susceptible to failure over time. This proactive action can reduce the need for maintenance truck rolls which can greatly improve network health, subscriber satisfaction and economic performance. In other cases we can assist the operator by introducing retrofitted modifications to overcome persistent defects caused by water or pest ingress to the equipment.

Specialist knowledge & expertise

At Aetrio Technology, our testing service starts with having a sound knowledge of the operation of the equipment in scope. Our engineers have many years’ experience working across all of the main disciplines including optical, IP and radio (for both microwave and RAN technologies), as well as specialising in power equipment.

Prior to a testing being carried out, the appropriate reference model is installed in our repair centre and set up as closely as possible to the customer’s environment. This allows the appropriate diagnosis of the faults prior to the testing taking place. Post testing intervention, the card can then be retested to ensure that it is functioning as expected. For traffic cards this means that an appropriate signal is used to confirm that traffic is able to flow as expected over a suitable period of time.

Our facilities include a BGA rework station. In electronics, rework is a term that describes the installation or de-installation of components such as IC’s on a printed circuit board. This piece of equipment is a prerequisite to deliver the type of circuit board level testing required for telecom equipment testing. In our experience some testing centres declare a board beyond economic repair without taking the time and effort to understand the defect. At Aetrio Technology, we repair a much higher proportion of parts for our clients and it means we’re able to maintain one of the lowest BER rates in the industry, at less than 5%. 

Going the extra mile

Some of our clients require additional services at the point of testing. This involves a general refurbishment whereby components known to be susceptible to failure are replaced even if they are working fine at that point. For this small additional investment the customer can avoid costly engineer visit and associated truck roll to fix a defect further down the line.

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