As 5G development and deployment continues to ramp up, the necessary testing for 5G chipsets, devices and equipment presents a number of new challenges at both millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz frequencies.

“For a lot of people, 5G millimeter wave over-the-air testing is a completely new world,” said Chris Gillis, senior application engineer with Rohde & Schwarz. He added that 5G OTA production testing systems can be “just as efficient and reliable” as those for more familiar sub-6 GHz frequencies. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated a two-part set-up for mmWave over-the-air production testing. It consisted of the R&S CMP200 Radio Communications Tester for signal generation and the company’s R&S CMQ shielding cube, a set-up which offers the ability to do either conducted or OTA mmWave testing with additional accessories available from Rohde & Schwarz.

“It’s really important to have an integrated solution … so that you know your system is reliable and you can always get good results and have a good yield,” Gillis said. Watch the full interview and review of the demonstration below:

Gillis also provided insight into sub-6GHz signaling testing of devices with Rohde & Schwarz’s new CMX500 Radio Communications Tester, which extends the capabilities of R&S’ well-known CMW500 tester from LTE into 5G New Radio, allowing both technologies to be tested simultaneously.

“LTE is not going anywhere,” Gillis said. “It’s still going to be there, but you also want to test 5G.”

Outlining the CMX500’s capabilities, Gillis noted that the demonstration configuration set up at MWC showed 5G NR testing in Standalone mode at sub-6 GHz, although it can also be used for 5G NR Non-Standalone mode testing at those frequencies. The CMX500 supports testing of up to 100 megahertz of bandwidth.  

“You can test out your device, whether it’s a chipset or a smartphone or a tablet,” Gillis said. “In the early stages of development, you don’t want to be testing out in the world with an actual base station, and then even when you’re at a later stage, you want to do some verification tests,” he went on. “If your network has specific configuration, better to test it in a controlled environment in a lab and see, okay, how is the device going to react? It’s a lot faster and you can do more reproducible tests when you have a lab environment.”

Watch that interview and demonstration below:

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