R&S Equipment Used for World First NB-IoT Base Station Acceptance Testing

With the growing demand for LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) services and applications as part of the Internet of Things (IoT), 3GPP has developed Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT). NB-IoT is a new cellular air interface that is fully adapted to the requirements of machine type communications. In October 2016, China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) and Rohde & Schwarz finished the first test session for NB-IoT capable base stations, to ensure the significant quality and standardized network deployment.

China Mobile has chosen Rohde & Schwarz as a partner to perform the first NB-IoT base station tests according to Release 13 Cat-NB1. The CMCC team tested the base station’s RF performance. These include tests cases in area of transmission power, spectrum analysis, group timing and delay, and coverage capability. The next set of performance tests will include fading scenarios, using the R&S SMW200A vector signal generator.

Rohde & Schwarz is the first to offer a base station testing solution for generation and analysis of NB-IoT signals. The well-established solution consisting of the R&S SMW200A vector signal generator and the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyser has been already used by leading manufacturers of mobile network infrastructure for base station tests. The NB-IoT signal analysis is performed by the R&S VSE vector signal explorer software option which will be available soon. Users will be able to upgrade to NB-IoT capability to support NB-IoT eco system success.

For IoT applications such as smart metering or tracking, low power wide area networks (LPWAN) are needed. Current technologies rely mainly on 2G and 3G. The new 3GPP standard NB-IoT, which is based on 4G technology, fulfills the general requirements for cellular IoT networks such as wide coverage, improved reception indoors, very low power consumption, low device cost and support of massive numbers of devices.