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Rohde & Schwarz Addresses Over-the-Air Testing for 5G PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:19


Unlike previous cellular technologies that were primarily sub-6 GHz and with fixed antenna directivity, 5G takes the industry in an entirely new direction when it comes to testing devices.

Rohde & Schwarz has enhanced its Over-the-Air (OTA) test systems to meet the new challenges of testing in 5G millimeter wave (mmW) environments. The leading supplier of test and measurement equipment will showcase its OTA testing technologies at Mobile World Congress Americas 2017 in San Francisco.

As 5G mobile technology evolves to mmW frequencies of 28 GHz, 39 GHz and beyond, there are several drivers that will necessitate OTA testing. At mmW frequencies, signal absorption rates are much higher, requiring the need for directional transmissions/reception (beam focusing or ‘beamforming’) to boost the gain. Only test systems that can handle three-dimensional center-of-beam and off-center-of-beam measurements in a radiated environment with extremely accurate positioning systems can properly characterize a 5G device. This includes the measuring of EIRP/EIS, beam transmit signal quality, beam receive performance, beam acquisition timing and beam tracking performance, and side lobe measurements effecting total radiated power including in-band and out-of-band spectrum emissions related performance.

The level of component integration of a commercial 5G mmW-capable device under test (DUT) will increase significantly over previous generations, making it almost physically impossible to connect the DUTs to the test equipment by cables. And even if cables could be connected, cable costs and cable losses at mmW frequencies would be prohibitive. DUT fixtures supporting mmW can be extremely fragile. 

Rohde & Schwarz offers its R&S TS8991 OTA Performance Test System, a single-source turnkey system for wireless testing that meets the needs of industry and regulatory certification tests. The R&S TS8991 includes an anechoic chamber, positioning equipment, antenna (link & measurement) systems, test instruments and automated measurement software. It is compliant with CTIA, joint CTIA & Wi-FI Alliance® and 3GPP test plans. The test system is available in different sizes, and its modular system design allows for customer-specific configurations. Systems can be custom designed to meet specific requirements in terms of size, functionality, frequency range and applications.

Alexander Pabst, Vice President Systems and Projects at Rohde & Schwarz, says: “As the 5G standards approach finalization and device designs are developed alongside, we as OTA test system vendor utilize our experience and expertise to support the new test methods. Within the 5G device ecosystem, test and measurement will play a more strategic role relative to earlier generations. Rohde & Schwarz already provides first 5G-NR OTA solutions today. Together with our customers we will continue to actively drive development and standardization of 5G-NR OTA test platforms to meet the evolving testing needs and to form strong partnerships along the way.”

Users can either purchase separate components (instruments, chamber, software) for their OTA test solution and assemble and integrate them themselves. Or they purchase a complete turnkey system, which is the fastest and least risk way to ensure success for the fast moving 5G ecosystem. Given the new challenge of 5G with mmW and the complexities this introduces, something as fundamental as calibration of the signal paths and the positioning system becomes mission critical. Rohde & Schwarz partners with customers to offer superior service and support throughout the equipment selection, installation and usage phases – ensuring OTA test systems are properly set-up and meet all application requirements.


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