Is it too early to think about ‘6G’? Nah. Higher, further, faster, baby! The Chinese government is already kicking off its 6G research efforts, and test company Rohde & Schwarz said this week that it has partnered with research institutions including the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF  and the Heinrich Hertz Institute to explore terahertz frequencies.

The partners have already put together a wireless transmit and receive system that operates between 270-320 GHz, “with further frequency extensions for potential 6G bands already in preparation,” Rohde said.

While 6G standardization isn’t even a twinkle in 3GPP’s eye at this point, Rohde & Schwarz said that some characteristics of 6G can already be deduced: the aim of 6G, it says, will be “to push the boundaries of transmission bandwidths even higher” than 5G and achieve terabit-class data rates. The “wide contiguous frequency blocks” which would enable that “can only be found at sub-terahertz and terahertz bands … above 100 GHz,” Rohde & Schwarz says, adding that “the utilization of terahertz frequencies for 6G is estimated to become commercial in the next 8 to 10 years.”

In terms of its partners, R&S said, the HHI “works on signal processing, synchronization between transmitter and receiver, and system integration,” while the IAF “contributes … high-performance millimeter-wave transmitter and receiver modules.” The joint research on 6G is focused on the D-band at 150 GHz and the H-band at 300 GHz, while frequencies above 300 GHz “are still [the]subject of fundamental research,” the test company said.

In other test news:

PCTel reported a large boost to its revenues, with revenues up 28% year-over-year to $23.6 million. Its test and measurement product revenues were up a whopping 104% compared to the third quarter of last year, while antenna revenues were up 11% year-over-year. Profits were also up, at $1.3 million compared to a loss of about $1.67 million in the prior year’s third quarter.

“We are pleased with our fourth consecutive quarter of solid performance with significant improvement in revenue and earnings per share compared to a year ago,” said David Neumann, PCTEL’s CEO, in a statement. “Our 5G scanning receiver business continues to drive revenue growth and gross margins in a market that is in its early stages. We are also encouraged by the number of industrial IoT applications and the need for our antenna solutions which will drive long term growth for PCTEL.”

The company also recently added Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) signal quality measurement capabilities to its public safety network testing solution, which now supports signal quality testing for P25, LTE (including FirstNet), DMR, and UMTS as well as channel power measurements for any LMR technology, the company said.

Spirent Communications’ head of 5G strategy discussed the company’s recent 5G service assurance win in the U.S., as well as 5G network emulation for testing connected and autonomous vehicles, in an interview at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles. Read the full story and watch the video interview here. 

Keysight Technologies said that it is working with Black Shark Technology to speed up the launch of flagship 5G gaming smartphones in China. Rapid 5G roll-out in that country is expected to ramp up rivalries around cloud-based, 5G gaming. Black Shark is part of Xiaomi’s MiOT ecosystem, and it’s using Keysight’s emulation solutions as part of its device strategy for development and verification.

“Black Shark’s selection of Keysight as their sole supplier of RF performance testing tools underscores the significance of our close collaboration on 5G technology with Xiaomi, one of Black Sharks’ key investors,” said Peng Cao, senior director of the Commercial Communications group at Keysight Technologies, in a statement. “We’re excited to play a key role in enabling leading 5G device makers, such as Black Shark, to commercialize 5G devices in a growing number of form factors across a multitude of regional variants.”

In other Keysight news, the company’s president and CEO, Ron Nersesian, was appointed chairman of the company’s board of directors as of November 1. He takes over that role from Paul Clark, who has been chairman of Keysight’s board for the past five years, since Keysight spun off from Agilent. Clark will now become the board’s lead independent director.

“This expanded role recognizes Keysight’s strong performance over the last five years,” Clark said in a statement. “Under Ron’s leadership, Keysight has delivered significant returns for stockholders with revenue and profit growth, built a portfolio of differentiated, market-leading solutions for customers and created opportunities for employees to grow and contribute.”

-A survey from benchmarking company GWS found that consumers don’t use Wi-Fi calling all that frequently. Read the full story here. 

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