Keysight Technologies, a test and measurement vendor, extended its 5G collaboration with NTT DoCoMo (NTT). Keysight will provide NTT with 5G network emulation solutions for characterizing and validating 5G New Radio (NR) mobile devices that will operate on NTT’s 5G network.
Keysight’s 5G network emulation solutions include its 5G Protocol R&D and its radio frequency design verification tool sets — both of which adhere to the 3GPP Release 15 5G NR standards. The 5G Protocol R&D Tool Set enables the prototyping of next-generation mobile devices.
Keysight and NTT have been working on 5G research since 2015. Keysight contributed its 5G test and measurement tools and expertise to an NTT-led 5G research program on millimeter wave (mmWave) channel measurements. They jointly developed mmWave technology for deploying enhanced mobile broadband services to support a number 5G use cases.
The partnership now enables NTT to test the performance of 5G mobile devices and address the technical challenges associated with deploying 5G.
According to Roger Nichols, Keysight’s 5G program manager, its 5G testing solutions cover “radio testing, high-speed digital testing, DC power management, and pretty much anything else regarding the electronic demands of 5G.” This includes network testing from Ixia, a subsidiary of Keysight, and “an array of electronic design software and computer-aided simulation tools to serve the breadth of development-to-development lifecycle,” he said.
Keysight’s 5G tests relevant to NTT involve validating the protocol signaling and radio frequency performance of 5G NR mobile devices and testing for mmWave over-the-air. Its mmWave tests use network emulation with anechoic chamber, a closed chamber that completely absorbs reflections of mmWaves, including its Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR). Keysight’s CATR adheres to 3GPP’s standards for far field testing.
The two companies are also developing specific test scenarios for NTT’s mobile ecosystem. These will test whether or not 5G mobile devices operate as expected on NTT’s network.
The Japanese operator is at the forefront of the 5G race, planning to fully launch commercial 5G by 2020. It was ranked last year by U.K. based Juniper Research as the second in a list of “most promising” 5G network operators, ahead of KT, China Mobile, and AT&T.
Keysight Technologies was spun off from Agilent Technologies in 2013, which itself was spun off from Hewlett-Packard in 1999. Since then, it has built testing software and equipment for wireless communications, aerospace and defense, energy, medical, automotive and semiconductor markets.
Keysight’s 5G involvement extends beyond NTT. According to Nichols, Keysight is “involved in many different technical facets of 5G” including work with other mobile operators, device makers, semiconductor companies, network equipment manufacturers, universities and research institutions, and industry consortia.
Most recently, in July it joined a 5G Device initiative that is led by China Mobile. The initiative aims to develop a full-protocol stack based on 5G non-standalone and standalone 3GPP Release 15.
In January of last year it acquired test equipment vendor Ixia for $1.6 billion to fill a gap in its IP networking testing equipment. Ixia now operates as a subsidiary of Keysight, alongside a number of other subsidiaries.