Both Viavi Solutions and Siemens are making acquisitions to augment their position in 5G test.

Viavi will pay $455 million to pick up Cobhams’ test and measurement business. Viavi said that this “significantly strengthens [its]competitive position in 5G deployment and diversifies the company into military, public safety and avionics test markets.” Viavi noted that Cobham’s test unit generated revenues of $200 million last year.

The boards of both companies have already approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of the year, pending regulatory approvals.

Oleg Khaykin, Viavi’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the combination “is another step in our [network and service enablement]strategy of driving operational scale and monetizing our [net operating loss]assets.” Cobham AvComm and its wireless test and measurement, he added, “are recognized leaders with a world-class team that has a long track record of successfully bringing innovative solutions to market. Together, we expect new opportunities to grow through channel expansion and technology sharing as we address rapidly emerging opportunities in 5G, software-defined and virtualized test.”

Meanwhile, Siemens strengthened its position in silicon testing for 5G with an agreement to acquire Olau, Finland-based Sarokal Test Systems and plans to integrate its testing capabilities with previously acquired Mentor Graphics offerings. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; it’s expected to close in the first calendar quarter of this year.

Sarokal focuses on emulation of fronthaul networks at the network edge and testing transmission specifications across multiple domains and detecting RF problems; the company said that its offerings were “created from the beginning for both the virtual … environment as well as the physical testing environment” with 5G in mind.

“The addition of Sarokal’s one-of-a-kind fronthaul testing expertise is expected to provide our Veloce emulator customers with a unique advantage,” said Eric Selosse, vice president and general manager, Mentor Emulation Division, a Siemens business. “Sarokal’s tester technology in conjunction with Mentor’s Veloce emulation platform will enable customers to ‘shift left’ the validation of 4G and 5G designs for accurate and timely pre- and post-silicon testing.”

In other test news:
Rohde & Schwarz launched what it says is the first firmware for analyzing 5G New Radio downlink signal analysis. This is a new option for the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer and can be used to validate base station equipment and components such power amplifiers, according to Rohde & Schwarz.

R&S also this week introduced a Wi-Fi signalling tester option that can emulate all wireless LAN standards from 802.11a to the emerging 802.11ax standard.

In related news, Altair Semiconductor will use Rohde & Schwarz equipment for protocol testing, radio frequency, radio resource management and carriers testing of its dual-mode CAT-M1/NB1 IOT chipset ALT1250 and other next-gen IoT chipsets. R&S was chosen as a strategic test partner by Altair.

MTS continues to see big gains from its sensors business. The test company reported revenues of $194 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2018, down about 2.6%; MTS noted that its test ordered are skewed toward the second half of the year.

President and CEO Jeff Graves said on the company’s call with investors that MTS’ test business performed in line with expectations, while its sensors business performed particularly well with double-digit revenue growth for the third consecutive quarter. MTS expects to see strong sensors growth continue through 2018.

MTS’ benefit from recently passed tax reform was $25 million in the quarter, and MTS plans to use the gains to pay off debt. Graves said that the tax changes “will significantly reduce our tax burden, and with roughly 65% of our sales being outside of the United States, will allows us to more readily repatriate our foreign earnings.”

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