The collaboration, say the companies, will allow 5G chipset and device manufacturers to validate the performance of 5G NR smartphones and IoT devices in the lab without requiring access to expensive and complex 5G base stations. As part of the arrangement, Spirent has adopted NI’s flexible software defined radio (SDR) products in the development of its 5G performance solution.
Spirent’s solution will use NI’s USRP (Universal Software Radio Peripheral) devices and mmWave Transceiver System, and will include 5G NR test scenarios for mobile location, video, data, audio, and calling performance. Key architectural details of the solution include the use of NI’s LabVIEW FPGA to emulate layer 1 through layer 3 of the 5G NR protocol stack.
“Building on the strength of NI’s early success in 5G research and prototyping, combined with the modularity of its platform, accelerates initial interoperability and means our customers can feel confident that the platform can adapt to the evolving standards,” says Rob VanBrunt, general manager of Spirent’s Connected Devices business unit. “5G test engineers already recognize NI’s off-the-shelf platform as the industry’s most flexible and powerful hardware available. Integrating their advanced signal processing capabilities into our 8100 platform enables an attractive upgrade path for our existing customers.”
The new 5G performance test solution will include support for both sub-6-GHz and millimeter-wave radio bands and will integrate with Spirent’s existing network emulation platform. The system will also feature up to 2 GHz of bandwidth, the company says.
“The marriage of our high-performance platform and Spirent’s best-in-class test methodology for measuring the mobile user experience is exciting for the industry,” says James Kimery, director of wireless research at NI. “Being able to assess the accuracy of cellular location in 5G environments and measuring the performance of video and data delivery are critical needs as 5G devices come on line starting in 2019.”