What is a Bit Error Rate Tester? BPSK and QPSK

What is a Bit Error Rate Tester? BPSK and QPSK
Every day, trillions of bits are exchanged as they travel over various lines of communication. Bits are the smallest increment of data that can be recognized by a machine or computer – a one or a zero. When a connection becomes disrupted from interference, this may cause an error in the transference of data from one point to another.
Whether you’re a cellular provider maintaining a massive network or trying to develop the next best pair of Bluetooth headphones, bit error rate testing is a vital part of your process.
In any kind of digital transmission, data can be interrupted by noise, interference, distortion or bit synchronization errors. Have you ever been on a phone call that dropped or suddenly lost the music playing in your wireless headphones as you moved too far from your device?
This is typically the result of interference. Bit error rate testers are used to measure the severity of the error rate in a connection.


Why are Bit Error Rate Testers Used?

Bit error rate testers are used to find disruptions in connections, determine what causes them, and prevent future disruption. Bit error rate (BER) is the number of bit errors per unit time. The results are expressed as a ratio, converted into a percentage.
For example, if you sent 10 bits from one computer to another and two of those bits were incorrect, you would have a bit error rate of .2 or 20%.
Why is this ratio so important? If the bit error ratio becomes high enough, the data being transmitted may become so distorted that it’s no longer recognized by the receiving end. From fiber-optic cables supplying internet connection to ethernet connections in a data storage facility, bit error rate testing is a vital part of data transference and management.

Bit Error Rate BPSK

Phase-shift keying is the digital modulation process which communicates data by changing the waves of a constant frequency of a reference signal or carrier wave. Binary phase-shift keying (BPSK) is the simplest form of PSK.
BPSK uses two phases which are separated by 180⁰ on two opposing points of an axis. One of the reasons BPSK is used so frequently in technology is because of its ability to function in extremely noisy environments without distortion.
BPSK modulation is standard in a handful of wireless applications such as CDMA, WiMAX, WLAN, Satellite, DVB, and Cable modem. BPSK modulation is also used in cellular channels that transmit system-related information. 


Quadrature Phase-Shift Keying (QPSK)

Similar to BPSK, QPSK uses four points on a constellation diagram equally spaced around a circle. Because there are four different points and phases, QPSK can encode two bits per symbol. This reduces the likely hood of bit error rate rather than doubling it when compared to BPSK.
The Federal Communications Commission limits the maximum bandwidth that a frequency may be output. QPSK is a great solution to limitations on bandwidth because it allows for the emission of two frequencies within regulation.
The downside of using QPSK is that the transmitters and receivers are more complicated and therefore more expensive than their BPSK counterparts. However, the increased cost is moderate and may eventually become negligible as technology progresses.

Bit Error Rate Testers

Bit error rate testers are used in a wide variety of industries and as communication technology expands, their demand will naturally grow alongside it. Wondering what some of the best bit error rate testing machines are? Here’s a shortlist of high-quality BER testing units:
  Worried about the cost of purchasing a bit error rate tester? Consider renting one. If you only need a BER tester for a short period of time or purchasing many of these devices doesn’t agree with your budget, renting is the perfect alternative.
Browse our bit error rate tester page or speak with one of our representatives at (800)-404-2832.