Microwave Journal

Keysight Enables NEC Europe to Verify Performance of Open RAN Equipment

November 2, 2021

Keysight Technologies, Inc. announced that NEC Europe Ltd. has selected Keysight to create an advanced RF propagation environment for verifying the performance of open radio access network (RAN) base stations equipped with massive MIMO (mMIMO) technology. 

Prior to deployment, network equipment manufacturers and mobile operators need to verify that open RAN (O-RAN) equipment with complex antenna configurations effectively manage signal fading caused by buildings and terrain. An increasing number of RANs use mMIMO and beamforming technology to support high data rate applications. Greater RAN complexity intensifies the need for assessing how well a base station's RF transceiver performs under multi-path propagation signal conditions, produced by fading.

"Keysight's mMIMO base station fading performance toolset enables us to rapidly emulate real-world radio conditions in a controlled and repeatable way in NEC's Interoperability Test and Validation environments," said Jon Van-Orden, head of Engineering for the NEC 5G Centre of Excellence. "As a result, we're able to verify the interoperability of NEC's Open RAN mMIMO radios with other equipment with O-RAN standard interfaces."

Advanced RF fading performance and interoperability testing under real-world conditions helps network equipment manufacturers and mobile operators achieve quality of service goals. Keysight has launched three new base station test solutions for verifying RF fading performance of O-RAN infrastructure equipped with complex antenna configurations. The new toolsets provide users with access to test case packages covering relevant specifications defined by 3GPP, thereby accelerating MIMO, mMIMO, mmWave and beamforming performance verification of new designs.

"Complexity in the RAN, driven by multi-antenna configurations, beamforming technology and Open RAN deployments, is generating new test requirements," said Janne Kolu, director of Keysight's channel emulation solutions. "Keysight is pleased to introduce integrated turn-key test solutions that enable network equipment manufacturers, mobile operators and system integrators to test, verify and optimize the performance of solutions designed for a diverse range of traffic models and network architectures."

Keysight's new automated toolsets support 3D fading and mobility scenarios for advanced 5G base station testing, verification and optimization. The toolsets leverage Keysight's PROPSIM Channel Emulation Solutions, which cover all 3GPP-specified 5G NR frequency bands and bandwidths across sub-7 GHz (frequency range 1) and mmWave spectrum.

Keysight's new toolsets enable users to create field-to-lab test environments that emulate real-world conditions and include: 

  • S8801A MIMO Base Station Fading Performance Toolset – supports a scalable number of fading channels for verifying the data throughput performance of a 4G or 5G base station using single- or multi-user test scenarios based on 3GPP TR. 38.901.
  • S8802A mmWave Base Station Fading Performance Toolset – supports hybrid beam management, fast fading, interference and data throughput testing in mmWave spectrum using test scenarios based on 3GPP TR. 38.901.
  • S8803A Massive MIMO Base Station Fading Performance Toolset – supports high channel count (up to 64 transceiver ports) for accurately measuring the performance of mMIMO base stations using single- or multi-user test scenarios based on 3GPP TR. 38.901.