For the test industry, this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) came down to two major themes: 5G and the internet of things, with a little virtualization thrown in just to keep things lively.
So who was doing 5G test demos at MWC? The real question is, who wasn’t? Some of the notable demos included Keysight Techonologies’ work with Qualcomm to show off the aggregation of eight 100 MHz carriers at 28 GHz, achieving 4 Gbps speeds; and Keysight’s demo of 5G base station reference design verification with the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, as well as emulation of devices for a 5G base station with DatangMobile. Keysight’s UE emulation for 5G is also being used by Samsung for interoperability teating, while Samsung will be using Anritsu’s Signal Analyzer MS2850A with 5G analysis software to support its 5G production lines for manufacturing quality assurance.
Spirent Communications, meanwhile, said that it was part of a successful demonstration of the first 5G over-the-air, massive multiple-input-multiple-output beamforming test bed at the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology. CAICT’s testbed has been used by Huawei to test antenna array designs for 5G “gNodeBs.”
Not to neglect the sub-6 GHz range, National Instruments unveiled a reference test solution for 5G NR in mid-band, sub-6 GHz frequencies. The company said that the new test offering is “well-suited for testing new wideband [radio frequency integrated circuits], especially those operating in the 3.3 – 4.2 GHz and 4.4 – 5.0 GHz bands.”
In IoT testing, Rohde & Schwarz will be supporting Huawei’s efforts in narrowband IoT and also launched what it said is the first over-the-air signaling test solution for Bluetooth Low Energy as well as testing NB-IoT location-based services, while Spirent scored a win in being designated as the official test tools provider for IoT standardization body oneM2M
Time-Sensitive Networking and synchronization is increasingly important in Ethernet networks — and in applications such as automotive Ethernet. NI added TSN support to its CompactRIO platform.
A couple of companies — Anritsu and Empirix — also took the time to tout their successful participation in ETSI’s second network function virtualization plugfest, which targeted NFV interoperability. Chip company Cavium also announced that it’s been working with Sprint on NFV testing of a “complete end-to-end containerized mobile network with live traffic on commercial [user equipment]” via cloud provider Packet’s public cloud, and demonstrated that testing at MWC. NetScout said that it landed a new, multi-year agreement with VodafoneZiggo — which is a joint venture of Vodafone Group and TV and internet provider Liberty Global, serving the Netherlands — to provide NFV service assurance.
LTE was not entirely left out at MWC, however. Prisma Telecom Testing focused on the extension of LTE-Advanced Pro, using Rohde & Schwarz equipment for a demo that the two companies said was the first radio frequency testing for eight component-carrier carrier aggregation in the downlink, with 2×2 MIMO and 256 QAM modulation on each carrier, plus four CC aggregation in the uplink. Rohde also enabled a ZTE demo of a smartphone achieving 1.2 Gbps speeds with 3CC CA in the downlink with 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM, and an LTE-A Pro demo with Huawei of 1.6 Gbps download speeds.
In other test news this week:
–Keysight Technologies beat its guidance in a quarter that CEO Ron Nersesian called “outstanding.” Revenues were up 15% year-over-year to $837 million, while net income was down to $94 million compared with $109 million in the year-ago period. Keysight did note that it did see a slight production disruption in its communications service group due to the California wildfires which impacted its Santa Rosa headquarters; the CSG unit’s revenues were $420 million, compared to $434 million during the same period last year. Keysight’s electronic industrial solutions unit saw revenue growth of 6% year-over-year, as did its services solution group. Its Ixia Group reported revenues of $127 million.
-Test equipment rental and services company Electro Rent is moving its headquarters for the Americas to a new site within the San Fernando valley: from Van Nuys to West Hills, where it will have access to a 145-seat amphitheater, on-site conference services and “outdoor collaborative areas.” The company said that the new home will become a center for hosting customers and partners.
-Portuguese operator NOS will use Polystar’s Kalix, Osix and Jupiter offerings for real-time analytics and network monitoring, replacing a legacy platform that didn’t provide an end-to-end view and work across the operator’s GSM, UMTS and LTE networks and its circuit- and packet-switched core. NOS will also use the data collected as part of a data lake initiative to leverage big data analytics.