Microwave Journal

One Box Test Solutions for 5G

December 12, 2019

Testing 5G NR products requires new test & measurement approaches. massive MIMO (mMIMO), bandwidths and data rates substantially higher than 4G’s and mmWave frequencies require more computing power, make over-the-air (OTA) measurements compulsory and create challenging performance requirements for the RF hardware. With a unified testing environment, it is possible to make 5G measurements in development, acceptance testing and production as effectively as with 4G testing.

Compact Test Solution for 5G mmWave

For 5G NR testing in the mmWave bands (designated FR2), Rohde & Schwarz offers the R&S CMPQ, a fully integrated, compact solution based on the R&S CMP200 radio communications tester combined with the R&S CMPHEAD30 remote radio head and the R&S CMQ200 shielding cube. The shielding cube uses a drawer concept enabling automated handling in a manufacturing environment for the frequencies from 20 to 77 GHz. The mechanical design ensures millions of test cycles, ensuring a reliable process for mass production.

The R&S CMPQ system can be customized to create solutions suited to individual needs. It can be used at any time in the product life cycle, from research and development through validation and quality assurance to production. The system is created as a robust, flexible solution that will adapt to future requirements and specifications. The R&S CMPQ solution provides users with the tools needed for production testing of FR2 5G components. For the sub-6 GHz (FR1) bands, the solution consists of the R&S CMW100 communications manufacturing test set and corresponding measurement software, the R&S CMsquares.

Signaling for Network Simulation

The R&S CMX500 radio communications tester adds 5G NR signaling tests to the existing LTE test & measurement solution. Users who have already invested in the R&S CMW500 or the R&S CMWflexx system for LTE or legacy 2G and 3G can continue using it, adding the R&S CMX500 as an extension box. From R&D to certification testing, this will perform 5G NR RF, signaling protocol and data throughput and application tests (e.g., IMS, VoLTE and VoNR). This allows testing 5G NR use cases in non-standalone (NSA, option 3) and standalone (SA, option 2) modes in both the FR1 and FR2 bands. For pure 5G NR test environments in FR2, a single R&S CMX500 radio communications tester with remote radio head and a shielded environment will suffice.

One Platform with Unified Software

The governing principle of the one platform strategy is using the same technology, similar hardware and the same software for all test solutions (see Figure 1). This makes the test results comparable in all stages of testing, from R&D to production. The different testing approaches (signaling or non-signaling) must deliver reproducible and validated test results, providing conclusive information about the characteristics of the devices being tested, without also testing the test solution. With the R&S CMPQ solution, FR2 OTA testing is as reliable as FR1 testing.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The one platform strategy enables the same measurements for FR1 and FR2, whether testing signaling or non-signaling.

R&S CMsquares is a new, unified test software solution featuring a browser-based user experience and combining everything needed for 5G NR testing. CMsquares controls all new 5G radio communications testers via a standardized graphical interface, integrating test configuration, parameterization, measurements and test execution in a single environment with a dashboard and quick access to the various applications (see Figure 2). The interactive callbox mode rapidly connects to a device under test, changes network parameters on the fly, analyzes real time RF Tx and Rx measurements and trace protocol stack messages on all protocol layers and generates statistics for data throughput testing, offering various chart diagrams. It also integrates a sequencer mode to run preconfigured 5G NR test scripts or it can create 5G NR test scripts from scratch using a simple drag-and-drop approach.

Figure 2

Figure 2 The test software R&S CMsquares controls all 5G radio communications testers, unifying 5G NR testing.

An interactive mode and a sequencer mode can be used in parallel, working together to provide the same test results to the user, whether using the R&S CMP200 radio communications tester for non-signaling tests or the R&S CMX500 radio communications tester for 5G NR network emulation.

The challenges associated with 5G NR require high flexibility, end-to-end data testing solutions and reliable measurement methods. As a long-term partner of the mobile radio communications industry, Rohde & Schwarz offers a comprehensive portfolio of innovative 5G NR test solutions.

Rohde & Schwarz
Munich, Germany