First narrowband non-terrestrial networks OTA test system

First narrowband non-terrestrial networks OTA test system

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Keysight Technologies and ETS-Lindgren have announced an industry-first over-the-air (OTA) test system for devices supporting narrowband non-terrestrial networks (NB-NTN) technology.

Non-terrestrial networks (NTN), a feature of 3GPP Release 17 (Rel-17), enables cellular communications to be delivered by satellite, providing secure, reliable, and high bandwidth coverage to isolated locations globally. The initial technology enabled by NTN is narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT), which enables many new use cases, including asset tracking, remote monitoring, and emergency services. This enables mobile network operators to provide coverage to a wider geographical area and a larger number of subscribers. OTA test is key to the development of this technology.

Working in close partnership, Keysight and ETS-Lindgren developed a joint OTA test system for measuring and validating the transmitter and receiver performance of devices supporting NB-NTN. These tests allow device manufacturers to assess real-life performance to ensure they meet consumer expectations and the requirements of network operators and regulators. The system will also support the forthcoming CTIA OTA test requirements for NTN devices.

The combined system comprises Keysight’s UXM E7515B NTN software and ETS-Lindgren’s OTA test chambers and EMQuest Antenna Measurement Software. The Keysight NTN software runs on the Keysight E7515x family of UXM 5G Wireless Test Platforms and emulates both terrestrial and satellite networks, including satellites in low, mid, or geo-stationary/synchronous orbits to test the effects of Doppler shifts. The built-in channel emulation capabilities of the UXM 5G also allow the performance of devices to be assessed under real-world channel fading conditions in a lab environment. Along with ETS-Lindgren’s OTA test chambers and EMQuest Antenna Measurement Software, the fully integrated system allows the transmitter and receiver performance of NTN devices to be assessed, including measurements such as Total Radiated Power (TRP) and Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS).

Keysight’s portfolio of NTN test systems also supports testing of 5G New Radio and unmodified LTE devices over NTN connections, which are anticipated to be supported by NTN.

James Young, Director of Wireless Solutions, ETS-Lindgren, said: “NTN and direct-to-device satellite technologies are generating significant interest as designers consider the use cases and applications that could be built around this new link method. The buzz around NTN, and the need to answer questions about device performance and capabilities, pushed ETS-Lindgren to prioritize building this test capability for our OTA system users. The cooperative approach with the Keysight UXM 5G Emulation Solution team helped accelerate the development of this important OTA test and allowed quick integration within EMQuest.”

Chih Kai Wu, Wireless Solution Director, Keysight Wireless Test Group, said: “Keysight is partnering with ETS-Lindgren to deliver the industry’s first NB-NTN OTA test system. This partnership demonstrates the technology leadership of both companies and enables the mobile ecosystem to accelerate the deployment of NTN networks, devices, and services.”

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