5G testing is in full swing as chipset, device and infrastructure vendors seek to support early deployments and prepare for more widespread build-outs of the technology beginning in 2019.
Among the various 5G testing-related news coming out of Mobile World Congress Americas, test company Anritsu took the opportunity to highlight its new Radio Communications Test Station MT8000A for testing 5G New Radio at both sub-6 GHz and at common millimeter wave frequencies. Anritsu’s show demos included generating a 28 GHz signal coming out of the new all-in-one box that does protocol and RF testing for 5G NR. Adnan Khan, senior business development manager at Anritsu, said that the company has been investing in 5G for several years and now 5G technology “is seeing the light of day.”
Vendors such as Qualcomm and MediaTek have chipsets in development that need to be tested. Anritsu announced in June that MediaTek has already chosen the MT8000A as its prioritized platform for verifying 5G NR chipsets. Testing chipsets is one thing, Khan added, but the testing to ensure that devices conform to specific feature sets will also be challenging. He expects that initially, 5G devices may start off with relatively simple capabilities — two-component-carrier, carrier aggregation, for example — before ramping up to higher bandwidths with more carriers. The MT8000A, he pointed out, is capable of supporting up to eight component carriers.
“It can do RF and protocol, it can do multiple bands 28 to 39 GHz, and we can do up to 8 CA in one box. I haven’t heard of a competitor being able to do 8 CA in one single box,” Khan said.
Anritsu also supported a demonstration of a Sierra Wireless module operating in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service band with three-carrier aggregation with its Radio Communications Analyzer MT8821C; the same analyzer was also used in a demo showcasing 2 Gbps speeds with a chipset from Qualcomm capable of 5CA and 4×4 multiple-input multiple-output and 256 QAM on all carriers, Khan said.
While the test company also spotlighted its internet of things test capabilities across cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Khan said that IoT is generally seen as more of an evolutionary change, while 5G particularly 5G at millimeter wave drew far more attention at MWCA.
“My personal sense was, we were hearing a lot more that IoT was the next big thing but this year, 2018, it’s 5G, 5G and 5G,” he said. – RCR Wireless