Challenges

A large European telecommunications operator wanted to automatize testing of Set-Top Boxes returned by their subscribers, as well as those delivered by their suppliers. There was a variety of reasons why subscribers were returning STBs – due to device malfunctioning, or simply in case when subscriber wanted to end contract with the operator. In all cases, it was important for the operator to properly test received devices and determine their state before delivering them further to the chain, since delivering malfunctioning devices to customers caused both bad customer experience and increase in financial costs. Therefore, customer picked us to provide an efficient and reliable automated test system for their STBs.

Summary

Requirements

  • Parallel testing of multiple devices
  • Minimum interaction with technicians
  • Need to test different types of STBs
  • Large scale of tested devices

Achievements

  • Independent of different manufacturers and types
  • Increased throughput of tested devices
  • Testing takes 30 seconds per device
  • Minimized engagement of human resources
  • Cost effective solution

Solution

Having analyzed the requirements and use cases with customer, we agreed that automated test system based on “round-robin” method matched all the requirements. Deployed solution consisted of two 19” racks with maximum capacity of 24 devices to be tested in parallel. Device outputs were fed to RT-AV100 grabbers through HDMI, analog video, analog audio and S/PDIF switchers, which were used as signal multiplexers. Devices under test were controlled using RCU emulator units placed in front of each tested device, where selection of active RCU was done through RT-IR016U blasters. Control of complete test system was performed through two PCs running RT-Executor application.

As an additional test setup, we automated customer’s measurement of analog and digital A/V STB output performances by providing drivers for 3rd party measurement equipment they had already used, and wrote scripts that utilized the drivers in measurements run by RT-Executor.

Environment Setup