Industry Insights

Accelerating 5G Device Certification with Extensive Conformance Testing

2019-08-12  |  6 min read 

Device makers are on the brink of capturing the 5G opportunity. Before initiating volume manufacturing and introducing commercial devices to the market, device makers need to certify their new 5G devices according to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G new radio (NR) standards using test cases validated by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and PTCRB, a certification forum consisting of leading U.S. mobile operators. This means that they need 5G conformance test solutions that support an increasing number of test cases to address the continuously evolving 5G NR standard.

Keysight demonstrated its leadership in the 5G conformance testing domain once again this month with the following announcements:

1. Keysight’s 5G Protocol Conformance Toolset supports the most GCF/PTCRB-validated protocol conformance test cases in both non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) modes for frequency range 1 (FR1) and frequency range 2 (FR2)

2. Keysight’s 5G RF/RRM DVT & Conformance Toolset supports the most GCF/PTCRB-validated radio frequency (RF)/ radio resource management (RRM) conformance test cases in NSA mode for both FR1 and FR2

3. Keysight collaborated with Qualcomm to obtain the industry’s first GCF validation of 5G RF demodulation and RRM test cases

Conformance test solutions that provide up-to-date and comprehensive access to 5G conformance test cases allow device makers to launch 5G devices based on the latest 5G NR specifications and ensure that these devices perform as expected in next-generation mobile networks.

"By offering a leading number of RF and protocol conformance test cases validated by both GCF and PTCRB on the same platform, we're making it possible for global mobile ecosystems to efficiently accelerate 5G device certification, bringing 5G commercial services to consumers around the world."

Kailash Narayanan, vice president and general manager of Keysight's wireless test group

Keysight has spearheaded the 5G NR standardization process and contributed more to the development of the 5G NR standards than any vendor by:

  • Authoring 400+ RAN4/5 5G NR contributions
  • Leading in GCF/PTCRB test case validation for 5G NR SA and NSA modes
  • Submitting the simplified compact antenna test range (CATR) over-the-air (OTA) testing method adopted by the 3GPP

Conformance testing is a mandatory part of bringing a device to market. It helps ensure that commercial 5G devices comply to the latest 3GPP specifications and operate as expected on mobile networks. Typically, certified test laboratories perform these tests. Many device makers conduct pre-conformance testing to ensure that their product will successfully pass formal certification testing at these independent laboratories.

The conformance testing process involves connecting a device to a wireless test system and performing the tests required by the GCF and PTCRB certification bodies. But conformance test requirements and test methods for 5G are not complete. Tests for Rel-15 are still in development and will be finalized in the next several months. New Rel-16 capabilities will require the development of even more tests as the 5G standards evolve.

In addition, the 5G NR standard addresses many different usage scenarios from very high throughput and low packet size to very low latencies with high reliability. To support such a wide variety of use cases, the 5G NR physical layer was defined with high flexibility, changing the way signals are created and operate. There are also different network system architecture options, given the interconnection between legacy and new core and radio access network (RAN) networks. Ensuring that devices and the network will perform correctly in all these use cases requires testing.

The continuous evolution of the 5G NR standards and the breadth of use case scenarios pose significant challenges to device makers. They need innovative conformance testing solutions that address these challenges while accelerating the device certification process. The 5G Protocol Conformance Toolset and 5G RF/RRM DVT & Conformance Toolset are part of Keysight’s suite of 5G network emulation solutions, which leverage the company's UXM 5G Wireless Test Platform and provide early access to a comprehensive range of test cases on a common platform. By addressing global test requirements on a single solution platform, Keysight enables the mobile industry to accelerate the certification of 5G multi-mode devices in different form factors.

"Our work with Keysight, a leader in 5G technology, has resulted in another significant industry breakthrough. Early access to GCF validated test cases can enable device makers and mobile operators to help ensure end-users can access a superior 5G experience."

Prashant Dogra, vice president, engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

UXM 5G Wireless Test Platform

For more information, please visit the following webpages:

For insights on how to accelerate testing across the device workflow from R&D to manufacturing, download Keysight’s latest eBook, Making 5G Work.