Mobile network operators expect their subscribers' 5G mobile experience to be amazingly fast and unfailingly reliable.
New 5G network access equipment must deliver broader bandwidths, higher frequencies, lower latencies, and enable machine-to-machine communication necessary for a massively connected Internet of Things (IoT). As you bring new 5G network equipment to market, make sure you test against the most realistic 5G conditions.
Generate and Analyze 5G New Radio (NR) Waveforms
5G wireless systems need to handle a variety of traffic types, including enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine communication, and low-latency, high-reliability applications. New types of multiple access schemes, waveforms, numerologies, and slot structure are part of the standard. As the standard evolves, so do the requirements of your test and measurement solutions.
Generate and analyze the latest 5G NR compliant waveforms to accelerate your research. With support for many frequency bands from sub-6 GHz to millimeter-wave (mmWave), as well as modulation bandwidths, you can adapt your test solution as 5G evolves.
In addition, 5G needs to coexist with 4G and other wireless communications systems without causing interference. Evaluate your 5G designs to ensure they isolate signals and are non-interfering.
Accelerate 5G NR Conformance Tests
As 5G moves from standards development into implementation, you need to validate and optimize your base station performance to meet 3GPP conformance test requirements. Millimeter-wave operating bands, wider channel bandwidths, and the use of active antenna arrays to implement MIMO and beamforming drastically change the testing environment. In addition, you now need to perform over-the-air (OTA) tests.
Ensure your test solution will meet the demanding requirements for 5G base station conformance tests. Quickly move from design validation to pre-conformance with a solution that is scalable in frequency, channel bandwidth, and output power to achieve accurate OTA measurements.
Volume Test 5G NR Infrastructure Equipment
5G New Radio (NR) network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) face a wide range of new challenges as they race through integration and verification towards volume manufacturing test. Adding new requirements for millimeter-wave spectrum bands, wider channel bandwidths and spatial/beamforming over-the-air performance tests in manufacturing completely changes the approach to test.
5G manufacturing solutions need to verify network equipment across multiple frequency bands and bandwidths, while being fast and cost effective. In addition, the test set-up also needs to remain flexible enough to address a wider variety of next generation requirements as the 3GPP standards continue to evolve.
Validate Multi-Channel GNB Performance
The 5G next-generation base transceiver station or gNodeB (gNB) connects subscriber user equipment (UE) devices to the mobile network. Many of the gNB throughput improvements come from multiple input and multiple output (MIMO) antenna systems that improve cellular connection reliability and quality. MIMO leverages multipath transmission in urban environments and beamforming systems that focus energy transmissions to optimally target specific users. This reduces base station power consumption and enables very high-gain links necessary to overcome mmWave channel losses. These advanced technologies dramatically increase the complexity of the radio access network (RAN).
Make sure your 4G eNodeB (eNB) and 5G gNodeB (gNB) base station test solution can easily generate and analyze large numbers of highly-calibrated phase-coherent RF streams. Test your MIMO and beamforming systems thoroughly, including active antenna systems (AAS) and remote radio heads (RRH). Make sure your solution can also extend to meet future test requirements, such as 3D beam visualization including per-layer modulation quality with amplitude, phase, and timing options.
Emulate Real-World Radio Channel Conditions
Once you’ve demonstrated stability and high data rates in clean and ideal channel conditions, your next challenge includes validating the base station performance under real-world conditions where the channel is non-ideal, complex, faded, and filled with interference.
Make sure you have access to the most reliable tools for characterizing end-to-end system performance of base stations across all 5G NR signal bandwidths and carrier aggregation schemes by emulating real-world complex 3D fading and interference channel conditions in your lab.
Characterize The 5G NR Air Interface
5G networks use wider bandwidths, higher frequencies, and phased-array antennas. Deploying such networks requires new solutions to fully understand air interface characteristics. RF engineers and technicians need to verify hardware performance, measure signal quality over-the-air (OTA), and identify interfering signals. Keysight's 5G gNB Field Test Solution, based on the FieldFox Microwave Analyzer, provides a complete toolkit for 5G network installation and troubleshooting.
Combined with a phased-array antenna, the FieldFox handheld microwave analyzer provides a unique, portable solution for measuring and analyzing the 5G air interface in the field. Leveraging a planar phased array that supports multiple beam widths, this solution facilitates channel acquisition, RF probing, and signal-to-noise ratio enhancement.
Verify 5G Network Coverage and Quality In The Field
Once you complete testing your gNB equipment and network in the lab, you need to test in the field across different conditions using mobile devices.
Measure, analyze, and visualize the quality and capacity of your sub-6 GHz or mmWave gNB using Keysight's Nemo Outdoor drive test solution or Nemo Handy measurement tool. Nemo tools offer the widest range of 5G NR key performance indicators (KPIs). Nemo Outdoor supports Qualcomm, Samsung, and HiSilicon chipsets. Nemo Handy works on Android smartphones using Qualcomm or Samsung chipsets. Visualize and analyze 5G-specific technologies such as beamforming and massive MIMO using Nemo postprocessing tools and get to market faster.
Generate Massive Amounts of 5G Traffic
5G networks need to deliver a dramatically-improved user experience for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) while also handling massive machine-type communications (mMTC). These requirements are often at odds with each other — higher bandwidths for users cannot interfere with thousands of intermittently-bursty machine-driven IoT connections. To properly assess new equipment and network architectures, you need to emulate massive amounts of UE devices accessing a variety of applications.
Accurately simulate the latest 4G and 5G network traffic — web, video, voice, storage, security, and other protocols — to evaluate your cellular network equipment and validate network performance. Create realistic traffic flows, including the latest application protocols, SSL security features, and diverse user behaviors — to properly evaluate user quality of experience (QoE) and quality of service (QoS). Stress-test your network and determine what happens in the most challenging 5G scenarios with different levels and types of load and stress, for optimal network validation.
Manufacturer of Multi-Antenna Wireless Products Achieves 20X Speed Improvements
A leading manufacturer of multi-antenna high-frequency products needed a technology partner who could provide a comprehensive test platform that included hardware, software, and services. Working with Keysight, they achieved a 20x improvement in speed, 10x improvement in asset utilization, and were able to repurpose test stations.
"5G NR leverages massive MIMO and beamforming capabilities, which need to be extensively tested in a field environment. Keysight's 5G field measurement solutions help our field verification teams verify feature performance and ensure proper functionality prior to network deployment. A single, portable solution capable of measuring both mmWave and sub-6GHz frequency ranges, allows us to verify 5G coverage in both indoor and outdoor environments."