Adding a wireless interface is easy. You just buy one of the black-box solutions available from countless vendors, and you drop it into your system. An adjustment here, a tweak there, some minimal testing procedures provided by the wireless vendor, and you're all set. Or are you?
Generally, communicating with similar devices (or those that deploy wireless components from one vendor) offers seamless connections. But the beauty of designing to a standard, in theory at least, is that all these devices will talk to one another after a simple pairing process.
If you've ever actually tried to design in a wireless medium, you know that that's usually far from reality. In fact, the testing of wireless networks can often be a long, arduous, head-scratching process. To that end, Design News' Continuing Education Center, sponsored by Digi-Key, is hosting a series of classes that will simplify the process for you. The classes, aptly named "Testing Wireless Devices & Systems," begin on Monday, July 9, and run for five days.
Whether you were aware or not, there's more to testing than meets the eye. Just because your prototype operates properly doesn't mean the final production model will operate similarly according to design. You will learn through hard work -- and patience -- how much wiggle room there is, depending on your medium of choice, your application, your budget, and a bunch of other characteristics.