5G NR network rollout is now – let’s test!: Page 5 of 10

April 06, 2020 //By Arnd Sibila, Technology Marketing Manager, Rohde & Schwarz Mobile Network Testing
Rohde & Schwarz 5G test
3GPP release 15 specifies the initial 5G standardization framework of the radio access network called 5G New Radio (5G NR). The standard contains a high degree of flexibility in radio parameters, which complicates network measurements. However, Rohde & Schwarz has already conducted measurements in pre-commercial 5G NR trial networks with its commercially available 5G NR network measurement solution. We gained interesting insights into the new technology’s performance, capabilities and frequency bands.

5G NR scanner based network measurements in the field

Understanding 5G NR coverage in real-life environments is just as important as it is for all other technologies. The introduction of new frequencies and features, such as 3.7 GHz and beamforming respectively, make testing particularly important and challenging, despite numerous simulations executed by industry players. Conducting measurements in pre-commercial network trials is the only way to gain new insights and to overcome doubts and uncertainties before the technology’s commercial launch.

With pre-commercial 5G NR network trials underway, Rohde & Schwarz mobile network testing (MNT) has already had the opportunity to execute 5G NR field measurements. In collaboration with a tier-1 mobile network operator, measurements in the 3.7 GHz frequency band were conducted in a European country as early as 2018.

 

Coverage in 3.7 GHz frequency range

Bearing in mind the higher than normal frequency band, it was surprising how the 5G NR beamforming capabilities benefit the achievable coverage. In a suburban environment, the test engineers could measure a reference signal’s received power (RSRP) on the synchronization signals of –125 dBm at a distance of 6.5 km from the base station. They expected that 5G NR UEs could connect to base stations at signal levels down to –120 dBm (see Figure 4).


Figure 4: The 5G NR beamforming capabilities benefit the achievable coverage (Source: Rohde & Schwarz).

Figure 5 shows the SSB index “beams” or the “micro sectors” very clearly. The outer color layer represents the SSB indices as explained in the color code. For a better overview, the colored micro sectors have been added to the screenshot.


Figure 5: The SSB index “beams” of one PCI with color code added (Source: Rohde & Schwarz).

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