5G Requires a New Approach to Testing

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According to Hall, the company recently collaborated with AT&T is to help them build a channel sounder, a system used to measure some of the real-world electromagnetic propagation effects in the 28GHz spectrum. In that collaboration, NI provided the software-defined radio hardware as well as engineering resources to help AT&T develop the system.

"With this system, AT&T is already taking real measurements and being able to characterize the channel in a way that was impossible before," notes Hall.

5G Use Cases

According to Hall, the 3GPP—the standards body responsible for 5G—is simultaneously working on additional wireless technologies to support more of the IoT use case.

"This is a little bit of a shift from years past, where we start with GSM, then we did 3G, then we did LTE, and we saw people attempt to use the cellular technology to support the non-cellular use case. An example of that is in automobiles, there's a technology called OnStar, which uses CDMA network—2G mobile communications—to radio a base station if there’s a problem with the vehicle. Obviously, CDMA wasn’t designed for that use case, but it’s a good enough technology to solve that problem," says Hall.

Hall says 3GPP is shifting towards designing one flavor of standards for mobile broadband, a different flavor for the IoT, and even a different flavor for automotive. Two of the technologies that are actively being developed—one of them is called NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT), is an implementation effectively like LTE, that’s designed for low-power, long-range transmissions and to support many devices on the network. Another one that’s happening in parallel is LTE V-to-X and 5G V-to-X, which is a vehicle-to-vehicle communications standard based on some of the 5G and LTE technologies, but designed for high-doppler situations, such as moving vehicles communicating with each other.

To read the full version of this article, which appeared in the May 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.


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