Anritsu Advantages in 5G Cellular

5g Advantages

Key 5G Commercialization Points

As the 5G standard is being set, development of 5G related products is fully underway. In comparison with 4G (LTE) communications, 5G not only covers conventional cellular communications but is also being examined for a wider range of target markets, including industrial equipment and automobiles. This section examines testing and measurement after comparing commercialization using 5G technology in cellular communications with the situation when 3G and 4G (LTE) were launched.

In today's cellular markets, products developed in conformance with the same communication interconnectivity standards by different operators can be used worldwide, and furthermore, standardization of communication specifications is continuing so as to assure designated performance. The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is continuing its work in development of standards from 3G to the current 5G, and is progressing with future specification standardization details.

Standards-based design is a key element in wireless communications. If the design does not follow the communications standards, not only will the non-standard equipment itself not function correctly, but in the worst case, other communications equipment may be adversely affected, resulting in lowered communications network performance overall. The advantages of standardization for both makers and vendors are that products following the standards are easier to sell and use, have cost advantages, and become easy to diffuse.

The importance and advantage of developing product designs following the standards is not just for communications equipment alone. The chipsets, peripheral circuits, parts, etc., in the communications equipment must all be designed in accordance with a diverse range of product standards, which yields other advantages. 3G/4G (LTE) development started with development of chipsets and peripheral circuits before progressing to development of the equipment in which they would be used. In addition, device development was simplified by modularization of the communications section, lowering the barrier for entry into development of communications equipment and facilitating mainstream commercialization of even more diverse equipment. Consequently, development and commercialization of key devices for 5G, such as chipsets, peripheral circuits, parts, etc., seems likely to follow the same path. In this process, the key point from the test and measurement viewpoints mentioned above is confirming that communication equipments, chipsets, peripheral circuits, and parts follow the standards.

5G Test Technologies: Signalling and RF/Protocol Tests

5G Test Technologies: Signalling and RF/Protocol Tests

As described above, communications terminals, such as smartphones, incorporate integrated circuits (ICs) with peripheral wireless communications functions described as a "chipset", peripheral circuits such as filters, antennas, etc., and other parts. Thanks to the modular chipset, developers can design smartphones without needing to be overly conscious of fine details such as the exchange of command messages for connecting with base stations, RF signal control, etc. Moreover, the necessary performance can be implemented efficiently at smartphone design by using circuits and parts specifically for the target communications method. Conversely, chipset developers must test their designs to assure correct control of RF signals in accordance with complex message protocols. Developers of RF circuits and parts must test their designs to assure optimized RF signal processing for the target communications and to achieve the specified performance.

Taking chipset development as an example, it is possible to push forward with separate development of the message protocol and RF control sections. However, ultimately, both these sections must be combined in a single chipset, and correct wireless communications and control between the terminal and base station must be tested. When testing the latest communications, such as 5G, it performs the Interoperability Development Test (IoDT) at the pre-silicon stage to test connectivity with other infrastructure manufacturers, such as base stations. And also it requires a measuring instrument capable of simulating the messaging protocol in the laboratory such as a base station simulator because there are few extant commercial 5G base stations.

5G Test Technologies: Signalling and RF/Protocol Tests

Even design of peripheral circuits, parts, module chipsets, terminals, and communications equipment requires testing of the finished product combining all parts to assure that the specified performance is achieved. Though the function of the message protocol part standardized by 3GPP is implemented in the chipset, when carrier-specific application services are offered, sometimes it is necessary to add special non-3GPP protocol tests for carrier-specific terminals to confirm that the message protocols are following the requirements at the terminal application level.

When developing and using these 5G chipsets, peripheral circuits, and parts in 5G products for different markets, such as 5G smartphones, 5G communications modules, automotive, IoT, etc., it is critical to test operation and performance under communications control (Signalling check under call processing) with a base station simulator mimicking near-to-real operating conditions.

Consequently, analysis of message protocols and evaluation of RF performance requires a measuring instrument that can connect to, communicate with, and control the chipset correctly for both RF and message protocols.

Anritsu Advantages in 5G

Anritsu Advantages in 5G

Anritsu develops timely mobile communications measurement solutions helping customers quickly develop products meeting the latest communications standards. Right from the earliest 3G era using the W-CDMA world standard, Anritsu has been developing and offering base station simulators to world-leading chipset vendors, communications operators, terminal makers, and others as practical solutions for implementing RF and protocol tests. In addition, the company supports its customers with a wide product range covering various types of base station simulator required at each stage of chipset, terminal and application development, manufacturing, quality- assurance inspection, infrastructure installation and maintenance (I&M), etc., as well as testers for application development and production lines, RF/protocol conformance test systems, handheld testers for field I&M, and more. The company has leveraged its long experience in supporting customers worldwide with 3G/4G (LTE) deployments for proactive development of 5G measuring instruments offering timely measurement solutions to makers developing 5G products, starting with main (tier-1) chipset makers.

For both 5G and other developments, choosing the right external partner based on one's own company development resources is a key element in getting a product to market as soon as possible. When developing products, such as 5G, using the latest technologies, sometimes the resources to be procured outside the company are also under development. What is the most important element in the race against time when selecting a partner for a new product development? The key elements are selecting a partner with management experience in minimizing problems, keeping to the customer's planned schedule, procuring resources as and when necessary, comparing and investigating procurement sources, long-term experience and track record in 3G/4G (LTE), etc., development.