Overcoming 5G NR Device Design Challenges Series – Part 4

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Over-the-air (OTA) testing is one of the most challenging aspects of 5G device development. Designers need to address many aspects of 5G, including the 5G New Radio (NR) standard, flexible numerology, millimeter-wave (mmWave) design considerations, multiple-input / multiple-output (MIMO), and beamforming challenges. The combination of these technologies introduces substantial test challenges that require OTA testing for validation.


MIMO, beam steering, and carrier aggregation are critical to meet downlink peak data rates of up to 20 Gbps for enhanced mobile broadband use cases. Under the unique mmWave channel conditions, highly integrated modems and designs require OTA testing. In the OTA test environment, it is necessary to visualize, characterize, and validate 5G device beam patterns and performance in a variety of real-world scenarios.


However, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has not yet fully defined and approved OTA tests. Understanding the underlying challenges and proposed OTA test methods is essential to successfully developing 5G NR devices.


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