Network management system auto test system and tools for ZigBee AMI system


A powerful ZigBee Network Management System (ZNMS), an efficient ZigBee Auto Test System (ZATS) and convenient ZigBee Field Test Tools (ZFTT) are necessary for the Holley ZigBee AMI system and the mass production of the ZigBee device.

Although the ZigBee system has a powerful mesh network feature, and the system’s real time requirement is not very strong, the success of the remote data reading, remote command control, and remote event alarm of the AMI system in the field may be only passable. The reason is that the application environment of the ZigBee system is very complex. During the large-scale mass manufacture of the ZigBee module and device products, it is impossible to test the ZigBee products as in an R&D laboratory. How does one deal with this problem? The powerful ZigBee Network Management System (ZNMS), efficient ZigBee Auto Test System (ZATS) and convenient ZigBee Field Test Tools (ZFTT) are our answers. With the help of these systems and tools, Holley’s systems engineer can finish 1~2 hundreds-scale nodes of the ZigBee AMI system per day, and Holley’s manufacture engineer and QC engineer can manufacture and test more than 10K pieces of the ZigBee module per ZATS per week. From their desktops, utilities can remote manage their ZigBee AMI systems operating in the field.

ZigBee Network Management System – ZNMS

The ZNMS software platform provides a friendly humancomputer management interface to monitor and optimise the ZigBee network system. It not only helps users to monitor, manage and diagnose the status of ZigBee networks and all nodes online, but also provides network optimisation and nodes operating parameters.

The main functions and features of the Holley® ZNMS enable it to:

  • Manage a number of ZigBee networks in one system at the same time
  • Find new ZigBee networks and capture new ZigBee nodes automatically
  • Manually add/delete/modify the ZigBee networks/nodes and parameters
  • Test, record and diagnose the ZigBee network communication status
  • Manage data security
  • Maintain and synchronise all nodes through the network Advertise Heartbeat command
  • Support all/group/appointed nodes’ remote data/ command read/configure/reset, and restore nodes’ default communication parameters through the network Broadcast/ Groupcast/Unicast command
  • Display the ZigBee network topology and neighbour relationships among nodes
  • Receive and display alarm event information
  • Upgrade approved nodes’ remote software and firmware
  • Log operation records of network and nodes.

The ZNMS software platform is designed based on the MS .Net and MS SQL Server Database. Figure 1 is the architecture of ZNMS.

ZigBee Field Test Tools – ZFTT

The ZigBee Field Test Tools include the PDA, ZigBee CF card/USB ZigBee device and Field system monitor software and information read/write application software. The industrial class PDA is an advanced HHU which has a WinCE OS platform, 32 bits RISC CPU, ≥64MB memory and ≥4 inches touched LCD. There are two modes, ie embedded mode and plug-in mode, to configure ZFTT. In embedded ZFTT mode, the ZigBee CF card is embedded in the PDA. The ZigBee CF card device has a low power ZigBee module embedded, and the PDA can communicate with the internal ZigBee module via the CF/PCMCIA interface. In plug-in ZFTT mode, the ZigBee USB device is plugs in the PDA via the USB interface. Both modes support the ZFTT Plug-and-Play, an automatic identification function. The above simplified mini version of ZNMS and data read/write application software are developed by us. The ZFTT acts has a gateway/FFD to manage the field ZigBee network.

ZigBee Auto Test System – ZATS

In order to meet the demands of large-scale mass manufacture, testing, QC and maintenance, an efficient ZATS is necessary. The ZATS includes the ZigBee DUT, programme & test base, RF test equipment (Aglient N4010A) and software (Aglient 89601), bar code printer, computer and printer. All these devices are connected with a GPIB, HUB, UARTs, SIF interface and RF connector. Based on this system and the Aglient 89601 Vector Signal Analysis software APIs, Holley® ZATS software is also developed.

The ZATS not only has quick and accurate test performance, but also has excellent automatic features. The ZATS’ efficiency per ZigBee module/device is 110 times greater than the manual testing method. The ZATS is also a powerful and convenient tool for SMT bugs location and repair guide.

The main functions and features of ZATS include:

  1. All RF performance parameters test, including all Aglient 89601 Vector Signal Analysis software supports test function, such as Maximum/Normal Transmit Power Output, Receive Sensitivity, Transmit/Receive/Sleep Mode Current, EVM, PSD, TFO, RFO, etc. All 16 channels RF performance test is push-to-complete. All test programs/templates/thresholds and other parameters are configurable.
  2. Programme download to ZigBee module/device. Programme among multi modules and devices are in parallel.
  3. ZigBee IEEE address is read and product barcodes are generated and printed automatically.
  4. SMT quality and fault location at the level of pin and component.
  5. All test data and results are analysed, processed, classified and displayed on computer. All test reports are generated automatically. All test and manufacturing information is saved in a background database system.