As the leading provider of test and measurement (T&M) solutions for wideband RF, microwave and millimeter-wave technologies, Keysight have two primary goals in 5G. Mombasawala Mohmedsaeed, General Manager – Applications, Keysight Technologies & Sandeep Kapoor, Country Head Marketing- India, Regional Head Aerospace Defense Marketing- EMEAI further confabs on the emerging 5G space and how Keysight is dressing up for the next testing revolution. Edited Nub.
- What has been the key focus areas of this year’s “Keysight Measurement Insights Seminar (KMI 2018).’’
We have two flagship events in a year. First one being Aerospace Defence Symposium, which is mainly focused on the aerospace and defence industry, and is attended by people from radar industry, electronic corporate industry and defence manufacturing industry. The second event is KMI. KMI is dominantly focused on Wireless Technologies and High Speed Digital Test Technologies. This year we have extended our focus on 5G and we have a lot of paper and focus on 5G. On the high speed digital test side, we have focused on MIPI, PAM-4, 400G, PCI- Gen 5, CICIX, DDR Technologies. As we know that the ecosystem is evolving very fast for 5G and is substituting many underlined technologies, we have had quite a few papers around the same and have had experts talking about these technologies.
- How has been Keysight evolving in the emerging 5G space. Key solution and portfolio in the market?
Being first and best in 5G depends on tools that let you explore new signals, scenarios and topologies. In design and test, our solutions support innovation across new and existing technologies. As the leading provider of test and measurement solutions for wideband RF, microwave and millimeter-wave technologies, we have two primary goals in 5G. One is to assist commercial researchers as they accelerate the development and verification of new-generation designs. The other is to help researchers in academia explore ground-breaking concepts with greater precision and deeper confidence. Our versatile bundle of SystemVue simulation reference libraries for 5G equips customers to explore current challenges and continue forward as the standard takes shape. Modifiable source code allows them to quickly understand and explore pre-5G physical-layer alternatives. The ability to validate RF and baseband integration early in the development process reduces project risk.
We continue to release a growing number of reference solutions that combine off-the-shelf hardware with application specific software that encapsulates our measurement expertise. The result is a flexible foundation that can be easily adapted to meet specific needs now and as 5G evolves. The integration of our test equipment and design software provides game-changing capability as customers validate designs and simulations. For example, customers can use sophisticated device and system-block models to prove out designs before investing in prototypes.
3. Moving beyond from just bandwidth, connected devices are also coming upfront wooing Internet of Things. How IoT with the emergence of 5G is changing the testing processes.
IoT will be available in all forms and in all segments like healthcare, manufacturing, and even in home control appliances. It is something that is going to take over a lot of manual activities and the domain is massive.
In terms of IoT testing, there are two critical tests which are required. The most critical test is Battery Drainage Test or Current Test because of sensors which are used for IoT. IoT is all based on sensors and these sensors need to work for several years. So battery life is very critical for them, so is the longevity of the battery life. So we need to do very precise, current rate analysis which is very important. In addition, on the backend too, wireless protocols on which IoT devices operate, they are all different type of WLAN technology or LoRa technologies which are part of standard RF technologies. So those are the other key critical test which we do on IoT. These are the two predominant areas which are coming on IoT Testing.
4. 5G promises lot more bandwidth and traffic density and number of connections and such, what engineers need to do to have a seamless testing experience?
One of the paradigm-shifting benefits with 5G technology is the seamless throughput one would get vis-à-vis to say, 4G LTE. And, as 5G matures by the early 2020’s, throughput data rates are expected to reach around 500 to 1000x times compared to 4G LTE. With watertight test margins, there are a lot of test programs to be executed by R & D, validation & manufacturing engineers in the lab and on the field to ensure that there is first time right user equipment (UE) in the market.
- Any major projects in the 5G space where Keysight has aligned itself?
Our projects are separated in two-three parts:
First: is our engagements and association with the standardization bodies and industry bodies, second is our association with the research houses and universities. So, if you take the first part i.e, our engagements and association with the standardization bodies and industry bodies, Keysight is a part of INT 2020. Keysight is also a part of Industry Consortium – IMT2020/ FutureForum; 5GMF, 5GPPP. These are the different organizations which are operating in different parts of the world and different region. Infact, Keysight is a member of India 5G steering committee. This is the part of our Industry associations.
Second: The universities and research bodies, who are working on developing 5G standards, for developing 5G use cases or developing 5G reference designs. So we are closely connected with several universities across China, Taiwan and even in India. In Europe we are working with quite a few universities for research and association purpose.
Third: is our association and engagement with the commercial organizations. We are working closely with Qualcomm, Samsung, Mitashi, NTT, Korea Telecom, and China Mobile and in India with Tech Mahindra. We are working with them on different type of projects. This year, during Mobile World Congress (MWC), there were joint statements made between Keysight and Qualcomm as well as Keysight and Samsung. Overall, you can say that we are engaged with or collaborating with all the major players in the 5G ecosystem. Additionally, in terms of project or in terms of our business I can very easily say that we are by far the number one player in 5G as far as the numbers are concerned and we are having pretty high market share.
6. Can u talk more about the 5G NR emulation capabilities and how it is helping in next-gen prototyping chipsets and devices?
Emulation, as we know, is the mimicking of real life field situations by executing physical testing in lab conditions with electronic instrumentation. With data rates & frequencies multiplying as time progresses, it would be very difficult to test corner cases in the field. This is where, emulation will go a long way in ensuring that every field condition is tested before user equipment (UE) goes out of the lab.
7. What challenges and scopes do Indian market brings, how is Keysight helping mobile network operators for their next 5G journey?
When we talk about 5G and other technologies like our massive MIMO; MMTC: mmWave, Massive MIMO, Beamforming, Channel Aggregation, the biggest challenge is, these technologies are untested for 5G. These technologies might have been tested for various other technologies or various other industrial domains but are still pretty much untested for 5G. This is the challenge that everyone is facing.
For commercial deployment, the biggest challenge for today is the availability of devices. The first commercial deployment was done by Horizon last year, the 5G TM standard. They have done the tests for fixed mmWave for 11 cities in the US. Now they have moved to 5G NR Standard and AT&T and Horizon both are looking forward to implementing 5G this year. This year again during the Winter Olympics in Korea as well as the World Cup in Russia, the 5G trial were done. Of course, it was a private one, but again, the challenge was to see the type of architecture and the services that they can provide.
Now there’s something interesting I read a few days ago, six companies or operators announced that they have done a limited commercial launch whereas right now, there are no commercial launch that has happened in the world. The full-fledged commercial launch is expected next year by Korea Telecom (in 2019) and Japan is planning the launch in Olympics 2020.
According to a GSA report, there are six companies who claim to have done a limited launch in different parts of the world. One operator by the name Alisa claims to have done the launch in Finland and there’s HTC who claims to have done in Saudi Arabia. There are various claims but there are also challenges in which they are examining the kind of test cases that work and the type of throughputs they get.
There are multiple trials being conducted all around the globe. 66 countries and 154 operators are testing and demonstrating various test cases and getting different types of throughputs. The maximum throughput they are getting is between 1 Gbps-5 Gbps. There are tests being conducted for latency as well. Majority of the operators are getting latency between 1 millisecond to 2 milliseconds but the 5G specifications need a latency of 1 millisecond for all the machine in a typical application.
There are very few trials, single-digit trials have been able to obtain latency figure of less than 1 millisecond. So these are still few of the challenges that all the operators are trying to solve. Even the throughput mentioned earlier i.e., 1 to 5 gigabit per second is the outcome of over 261 trails that 70 of them have tried to obtain that speed and there are some that have obtained much higher than that. But there is an agreement that they are bore of proof of concept and not the real ones. Therefore, latency is one big problem which still needs a lot of work to be done and even the throughputs. Maybe we will see some good results in the coming few months before the commercial launch.