5G RF parameters

The 5G device development requires testing at various stages starting from design phase till the final deployment phase. It involves tests at various protocol stack level of the 5G device and 5G network level. Some specific 5G RF parameters for testing 5G devices and networks according to the 5G New Radio (NR) standard specifications are as follows.

Frequency range : The device should support FR1 (Sub 6 GHz) and FR2 (mmwave) bands as per its design.
Bandwidth : The device should support different bandwidths as per FR1 and FR2 such as 5 MHz, 10 MHz, 20 MHz, 100 MHz, 400 MHz etc.
RSRP and RSRQ : These Signal strength and quality metrics are useful test parameters.
SNR and SINR : These parameters measure signal quality under different conditions.
Transmit power : This test will ensure devices adhere to transmit power limits specified by regulatory authorities. It will ensure devices comply with RF emission limits and other regulatory requirements.
Receiver sensitivity : It will determine minimum signal strength required for successful reception.
OTA performance : It conducts over the air testing to evaluate real world device performance.
Interference and coexistence : It tests devices for resistance to interference and their ability to co-exist with other wireless systems.
RF carrier aggregation : It will verify that devices can effectively aggregate multiple carriers for high data rates.

Following table lists out main test cases required to be done at various phases of 5G product life cycle.

5G test parameters test cases
Transmitter Conformance testing Power spectrum mask, transmit power vs time, CCDF, I/Q vs time
Receiver Conformance testing EVM, channel response, spectral flatness
Interoperability testing This tests ensures that 5G devices from one vendor will work with 5G devices from the other vendors in the network without any issues.
Network stability tests 5G system works without having any issues at long run during handover and other tests.
Inter-RAT tests This test ensures 5G device works well across all the RATs (Radio Access Technologies) for which it has been desiged for.
MCS (Modulation and coding) tests The device should support QPSK, 16 QAM, 64 QAM and 256 QAM modulation types.
Other 5G RF parameters Phase noise, 1dB compression, third order intercept points, harmonics, spurious, noise figure, image rejection etc. as per 5G device RF conformance test specifications.

One can refer conformance documents and other test case documents published by respective 5G standard bodies for more details.

5G test equipments companies

Keysight 5G test equipments

The figure-1 depicts 5G test bed using 5G test equipments as mentioned in the table.

Keysight 5G test equipment Description
M8190A Arbitrary Waveform Generator which generates baseband IQ data
E8267D PSG signal generator, which takes IQ data as input and generates modulated IF output.
N5183 MXG Used to generate RF signal used as LO (Local Oscillator) input for both up converter and Down converter
DSO-Z634A (63 GHz Oscilloscope) Used as Oscilloscope, it analyzes the 5G signal in time domain
N9030A , N9040B Used as Signal Analyzer, used to analyze 5G signal in frequency domain

In addition to the above tools, 5G test bed requires, Waveform Creation Application Software and VSA application. Waveform Creation allows user to configure 5G baseband and RF parameters (i.e. PHY and MAC frame related). VSA application allows user to analyze various baseband related parameters such as EVM, channel response, IQ impairments, power spectrum, CCDF etc.

The following is the list of companies which offer 5G test equipments or tools other than Keysight Technologies.
Rohde & Schwarz : Offers 5G NR signal generation,signal analysis and OTA test solutions.
Anritsu : Provides test solutions for RF/PHY testing, protocol testing and conformance testing.
Viavi solutions : Offers test and measurement solutions for 5G network validation (Radio/protocol testing), network monitoring and assurance.
Litepoint : Offers test solutions for 5G RF and protocol testing, manufacturing and calibration
Tektronix : Offers test solutions for 5G signal analysis including spectral and modulation analysis and VSA (Vector signal analysis).
Other companies : Yokogawa, Xcerra, CETECOM, Spirent communications, National Instruments (NI), Cobham wireless etc.

5G NR Numerology | 5G NR Terminology

5G NR Control channels | 5G NR Traffic Channels | 5G NR Reference Signals and sequences


RF Wireless Tutorials