Rohde & Schwarz Enhance Test Solutions for R&D and Standardization of 5G

Rohde & Schwarz has enhanced their proven test solution platforms to include advanced capabilities that are facilitating the research, development and standardization of 5G. The fifth generation of mobile radio will open up new frequency bands for commercial wireless communications in the microwave and millimeter wave ranges to increase date rates on a massive scale. To implement 5G, new areas are being investigated including Massive MIMO, millimeter wave communications and complex channel models.

The standards that will define 5G have yet to be outlined. However, it is clear that new technologies and new frequency bands will be required to meet the needs of enhanced mobile broadband. Currently, many researchers are focused on developing new antenna technologies for Massive MIMO systems, studying channel characteristics, and characterizing components up to millimeter wave, all of which will require high performance and flexible test and measurement solutions to advance 5G technologies.

To meet the 1000x improvements in capacity and to achieve ever higher data rates, Massive MIMO antenna systems that use hundreds of antenna elements, are being planned for 5G. In these systems, the radio is combined with the antenna resulting in few or no RF test ports, thus requiring over-the-air (OTA) measurements to characterize the systems. To expedite these tests, R&S has developed a flexible near field measurement technique that allows continuous sampling on arbitrary grids thus decreasing the measurement time in the near field by a factor of 40 compared to stepped measurements. In addition, they offers bench top and production far field measurement systems for devices being investigated between 28 GHz and 90 GHz.

The ZNBT 24-port vector network analyzer is being used to measure the mutual coupling between antenna elements, which reduces overall system capacity, so that 5G antenna engineers can determine the optimal distance between antenna elements in Massive MIMO systems. This solution can be extended up to 288 ports using the 2x24 ZN-Z84 switch matrix.

For RF through millimeter wave signal analysis and generation, the FSW signal and spectrum analyzer, SMW200A vector signal generator, are ideal to deliver the performance and flexibility required in an R&D environment. The SMW200A is the only microwave signal generator on the market to combine a baseband generator and RF generator with fading, AWGN, Massive MIMO and mm-wave MIMO capabilities in a single box. A new option for the FSW, the FSW-B2000, extends the analysis bandwidth to 2 GHz. The combination of having a high-end frequency range up to 85 GHz with a 2 GHz analysis bandwidth is unique to the market.

With many new frequency bands under consideration (e.g., 28 GHz, 39 GHz, etc.), researchers need to know exactly how their systems will behave in these new channels, looking at effects such as path loss, atmospheric absorption, diffraction and penetration through various objects, etc. To help 5G researchers answer these questions, Rohde & Schwarz has developed the industry's first commercial test solution for 5G channel sounding. The TS-5GCS test setup combines the new TS-5GCS channel sounding software with the FSW signal and spectrum analyzer and SMW200A vector signal generator. This setup supports development of applications requiring complex multichannel scenarios up to 40 GHz, allowing users to conveniently measure channels in the new 5G frequency bands in the centimeter and millimeter ranges.