If we know anything, its that wireless technology moves, and moves fast. As 5GTF was the basis for Verizon’s 5G Home product offering, so too was R&S 5GTF measurement system the basis for its Freerider backpack 5GNR coverage measurement solution.
In 2014, eight industry leaders created the 5th Generation Technical Forum, better known as 5GTF. Verizon Wireless, along with Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung, aimed to develop a wireless alternative to fiber to the home (FTTH) using a mmWave spectrum called fixed wireless access (FWA). This pre-5G specification targeted FWA in the 28 GHz frequency band. The U.S. telecommunications regulator FCC allocated the band with a bandwidth of up to 850 MHz as 5G spectrum in 2016. 5GTF leaned heavily on the previously defined LTE standard, while incorporating 5G methods expressed in 3GPP. The business case depended on the number of households that can be connected to a certain number of base stations and still provide a suitably high data throughput. For the required signal quality and 5G coverage measurements, Verizon Wireless trusted the Rohde & Schwarz prototype measurement backpack solution, known as the R&S Freerider Backpack.
The proprietary 5GTF has been the launching off point of Verizon’s 5G plans in the United States. Verizon used this to tweak its 5G Home product offering, which is a version of fixed wireless access (FWA) running on 3GPP-based 5G New Radio (NR). 5GNR is expected to become the leading radio access technology in mobile networks for years to come. Much like Verizon, the Rohde & Schwarz Freerider backpacks have evolved to support 5GNR testing.
Importance of 5G coverage measurements
The most interesting parameter in mobile networks is coverage. This is especially true when networks operate in high frequency bands such as 28 GHz. There, the signal propagation is difficult and not yet fully understood. In view of the highly competitive timeline for early 5G adopters, Rohde & Schwarz mobile network testing designed a prototype measurement system that uses an ultra-compact drive test scanner that covers frequency bands up to 6 GHz.
This frequency range is extended by using a down-conversion approach. This means that up to eight 100-MHz-wide component carriers transmitted at 28 GHz are down converted to an intermediate frequency range that drive test scanners can process.
The entire solution is integrated into a battery-operated backpack, enabling coverage measurements in the field, for example, in office buildings. Verizon used the above 5GTF prototype measurement backpack in a trial network in the second half of 2017.
Today, the R&S®FR4 Freerider 4 backpack is a compact, lightweight backpack for walk test and drive test campaigns. Supporting up to 12 test mobile phones and high-performance scanner measurements (including 5G millimeterwave and LTE 4×4 MIMO), it is ideal for network optimization, benchmarking and cellular network analysis. The backpack can be operated from a tablet or laptop via WiFi to control the measurement application running on a built-in PC (R&S®NCM2) or an R&S®TSMA6 scanner. A cabled LAN or USB connection is also possible via the integrated LAN switch or optional USB hub. With the R&S®- FR4 Freerider 4, a complete and compact drive test system can be temporarily installed in a rental car, significantly reducing the setup time for measurement campaigns. The sturdy construction is shock and vibration proof in line with automotive standards and can be used in any vehicle type.
The R&S®FR4 fully supports the R&S®TSMx scanner family as well as GSM, WCDMA, CDMA2000®, 1xEV-DO, WiMAX, LTE, NB-IoT, LTE-M, PowerScan RF, CW channel power scan and 5G NR.
Visit Rohde & Schwarz for more information.
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