The telecom industry is gearing up for the next quantum jump – 5G wireless technology – promising to connect everything from mobile phones to vehicles to household devices at lightning-fast speed. From the first generation of mobile communication with unreliable and expensive voice calling to ultra-fast 4G network connectivity that ushered us with everything one can expect from mobile broadband, the question is – where are we heading to with 5G?
5G can help connect billions of “things” in an instantaneous and secure manner. This is a huge opportunity for diverse industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, automobile, emergency services and distribution to leverage the power of mobile connectivity in a manner that is unimaginable.
5G Non-Standalone Mode Deployment – What You Need to Know
Despite that the consumers are in anticipation of the 5G revolution, they will have to wait for years to see the benefits. Standardisation initiative in the IEEE, 3GPP, ITU, etc is in progress. Various field and lab trials are under process; test beds have been established. Until then they have to do with 5G Non-Standalone mode of deployment.
According to 3GPP, the first round of networks and devices that will experience 5G connectivity will be supported by the existing 4G (LTE) infrastructure. In the Non-Standalone mode, smartphones are 5G-enabled and will connect to 5G frequency for data throughput, but will have 4G connectivity for non-data applications such as connecting to the servers and towers. The initial 5G network infrastructure deployment will use enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) to ensure connection reliability and higher data bandwidth.
In this mode, 5G network will serve the User (U-Plane) alone, while LTE will be responsible for Control (C-Plane).
Non-Standalone Mode – Why It is a Better Choice Initially?
The initial rollout of 5G in non-standalone mode will be a preferred choice for operators to begin with. The final version of 5G Standalone (SA) mode is still underway. For the telecom industry, it is better to first use the NSA mode to test and validate several 5G scenarios. This will serve as a field trial and test bed to go for SA with an intelligent approach.
The NSA mode depends on LTE network infrastructure and there is no or little investment in setting up a new core network, new base station or new backhaul mechanism as it will be required for SA mode. So, operators who want to commercialise 5G rapidly, the Non-Standalone mode is a better choice to start off.
5G Network Deployment and Validation – Key Challenges
While the latest 3GPP announcements solidify the foundation of 5G, several questions still linger on. For network operators and engineers, this poses a challenge, including how to validate their hardware, software and designs.
- Frequent Standards Evolution – The transition from 3G to 4G was smoother because of similarity in propagation, frequency coverage and other parameters. But 5G still remains an unchartered territory due to frequent changes in standards from 3GPP’s side. Additionally, the confusions emerging from NSA and SA modes have left operators and manufacturers in a dilemma as to which is the right choice for them.
- Major Change in Device’s capabilities– 5G devices will have a dual capability so that they connect to the existing LTE frequency and on 5G New Radio to avail user plane services. This is a major change in device’s capabilities and hence demands a complex validation methodology.
- High Cost of Validation– Another big challenge is the high cost of testing 5G scenarios.
Seamless 5G Validation with Simnovus
Considering the massive scope of 5G network and the challenges generating from there, it is vital to focus on unique test and measurement solutions. At the same time, you have to reduce the cost of tests to ensure the success of 5G deployment.
Simnovus offers a new approach to 5G testing architecture that will significantly help operators, manufacturers and equipment suppliers to validate their configurations, hardware and software for superior performance.
- Device Testing: Simnovus plans to develop a device Testing solution to validate several 5G testing technologies such as new spectrum opportunities, coding & modulation schemes, spatial signal processing, channel modelling, proof of concept and others. It will simulate the entire 4G RAN and 5G in NSA architecture, compliant with 3GPP 14 & 15 and support Cat NB1, NB2 and M1 devices.
- gNodeB Testing: To help validate 5G scenarios and use cases, Simnovus plans to develop a gNodeB testing solution which can simulate thousands of UEs over NR interface. gNodeB connects UE to the mobile network, reducing base station power consumption and enabling high-gain links to overcome the challenge of mmWave channel losses. Considering the complexity, Simnovus can help NEMs test their system before and during deployment, thoroughly testing MIMO, Remote Radio Heads and Active Antenna Systems.
Be 5G-ready with Simnovus. Learn more!