5G, the internet of things, machine learning and vehicle electrification are among the major technology and test trends that will shape the industry in 2018, according to National Instruments’ new Trend Watch 2018 report.

NI identified 5G as a disruptor to traditional test processes because of the design and engineering challenges as well as the need to keep costs in line.

“Test and measurement solutions will be key in the [5G] commercialization cycle,” NI concluded. “Test systems must expand beyond the physical layer to quickly and cost-efficiently test these new multi-antenna technologies with controllable/steerable beams. Additionally, these systems must address the new [millimeter wave]-capable devices with extremely wide bandwidths. These test solutions must not only
be able to test the important parameters of a device but also be cost-effective for 5G to reach its potential and achieve widespread adoption.”

NI also anticipates that the IoT will be growing beyond initial pilot projects and shift toward addressing the problems of managing large-scale deployments, tackling the issues of data management, remote systems management and software configuration management. Meanwhile, machine learning will increasingly provide automated engineering insights.

NI sees the automotive market being disrupted by vehicles that are increasingly run by electric power — not just in terms of their engines, but within vehicle subsystems. “As the number of power electronics subsystems in the vehicle grows, the automobile itself begins to look like an electrical microgrid with a common power bus connecting a growing list of sources and sinks of power, each managed by an independent embedded control system,” NI said.

Read the full report from NI.

In other test news:

EXFO has closed on its $11.1 million acquisition of Yenista Optics, a French optical test equipment supplier which serves the high-end lab and manufacturing markets. The acquisition is one of two recent moves by EXFO, the other of which was its purchase of a significant share in, and the potential takeover of, network performance analytics company Astellia.

-The Wireless Broadband Association launched a new certification program this week for testing devices for Wi-Fi-related carrier services, including Wi-Fi roaming and offload interoperability. The Carrier Wireless Service Certification program participants include AT&T, Boingo, Cisco and Ruckus, as well as HPE-Aruba and Shaw Communications. Test labs include Dekra, Kyrio and UL. The CWSC program is one of the results of WBA’s next-generation hot spot trial program and is aimed at making helping carriers and vendors test efficiently to ensure service interoperability across devices. It’s starting with certification of Wi-Fi roaming and Wi-Fi offload, but will eventually include other carrier services such as end-to-end quality of service, Wi-Fi calling and unlicensed integration for 5G interoperability, among others.

Spirent Communications said that its VisionWorks solution for service assurance was chosen by an unnamed Tier One mobile operators for a multi-million dollar deployment that will start in the fourth quarter of this year and go into 2018. VisionWorks includes active test “agents” throughout the radio and core network as well as customer service locations, plus controller modules and analytics, for automated testing of service quality for end users and identification of network problems. Dave Stehlin, GM of lifecycle service assurance at Spirent, said that two Tier One mobile operators have opted to use VisionWorks and that Spirent’s initial deployment is being used to assure mobile virtual private networks for enterprise customers, and is being expanded from hundreds to thousands of such customers by the end of the year.

NetScout added new features to its AirCheck G2 for Wi-Fi network testing, including the ability to check throughput and performance as well as detect non-802.11 interference. Using a test accessory that is deployed as an endpoint lets users test the network performance and figure out whether problems are in the Wi-Fi access network, the local area or wide area network.

Ixia has partnered with Rebaca Technologies, which provides test orchestration and DevOps solutions, for testing network function virtualization-based services for subscribers. Ixia said that deploying NFV-based network elements and services “can be challenging and lengthy to verify given their complex protocol specifications, extent of test cases required to verify all service scenarios, and the repetition required to achieve acceptable service levels.” The new offering combines Ixia’s IxLoad “virtualized test bench” for verifying the virtual Evolved Packet Core and other network elements, with Rebaca’s ABot test orchestration.

Bureau Veritas has introduced what it says is the first technical standard in personal data protection, with a certification program that it developed in partnership with Lexing, a network of lawyers who specialize in personal data protection. Bureau Veritas said that the new certification is in line with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation that will come into effect in May 2018 and govern how companies handle EU citizens’ personal data, and also can help companies address the overall concerns about data security in the wake of high-profile hacking and data breaches.

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