National Instruments announces 5G field trials with Samsung to prove coverage
‘Real-world’ 5G tests are now only months away, as National Instruments announces field trials with Samsung to prove connectivity and coverage.
The first field trials for 28GHz will go ahead in June 2018 and will be rudimentary tests to verify connectivity, coverage and performance in different scenarios. More comprehensive tests will then take place in the autumn.
With the initial 5G standard only ratified in December 2017, infrastructure and devices are progressing at different speeds, with the former being essential if mobile devices are then to be trialled.
“It will be the Samsung base station and instead of an Apple iPhone or something like that, it will be a software-defined radio [SDR],” says James Kimery, Director of Product Marketing RF Communications and SDR at National Instruments (NI). “The reason for that is the user equipment devices, like cell phones, haven’t been developed yet. For Samsung to be able to expedite the base station equipment to market they need to have something to test against. So that is where NI comes in.”
There was a demonstration of 5G capabilities at the Winter Olympics in Korea, but that was set up before the specification for 5G had been established, so it was not using compliant equipment. These field tests in the summer and autumn will represent the first real outing for the technology.
5G will present new test challenges from devices to base stations and it will have to accommodate new applications like Internet of Things and VX. Another element to 5G is the new applications, such as IoT. “Having flexible test equipment is necessity,” says Kimery. “This is a new application for software-defined radios and we’re pretty excited about it.”
David Hall, NI’s principle product marketing manager, RF and Wireless, adds: “We are engaged in everything from measurements of the physical devices themselves, all the way to the behavioural test of those devices, where you use the software-defined radio to emulate those types of devices and then the behaviour of the network. There are a ton of test challenges, from RF test quality through to a completely new behaviour for a completely new kind of device.”
The test solution is based on a PXI platform with USRPs, which are software-defined radios. All the software is written in LabView and LabView FPGA.