NI announces test UE offering for 5G lab and field trials

NI has announced a real-time 5G New Radio (NR) test UE offering. The NI Test UE offering features a fully 3GPP Release 15 non-standalone (NSA) compliant system capable of emulating the full operation of end-user devices or user equipment (UE).

With the 5G commercial rollout this year, engineers must validate the design and functionality of 5G NR infrastructure equipment before productisation and release. Based on the rugged PXI Express platform, the NI Test UE offering helps customers test prototypes in the lab and in the field to evaluate them on service operators’ networks. In addition, customers can perform InterOperability Device Testing (IoDT), which is a critical part of the commercialisation process to ensure that network equipment works with UE from any vendor and vice versa. The NI Test UE offering can also be used to perform benchmark testing to evaluate the full capabilities of commercial and precommercial micro-cell, small-cell and macro-cell 5G NR gNodeB equipment.

Spirent has worked with NI to add 5G NR support to its existing portfolio of products. “As 5G was picking up steam, we looked to find a world-class 5G NR platform that would outperform the market today and continue to do so as the 5G market matures,” said Clarke Ryan, senior director of Product Development at Spirent. “As a leader in SDR-based radios since 2011, NI was the natural choice to ensure we have the best radio with the best testing capabilities to stay ahead of the curve for our customers.”

The NI Test UE offering provides a flexible system for evaluating 5G technology. Customers can use the SDR front ends to select the sub-6 GHz frequency of their choice. The system scales up to one 100 MHz bandwidth component carrier and can be configured for up to 4×2 MIMO to achieve a maximum throughput of 2.3 Gb/s. The 5G NR Release 15 software includes complete protocol stack software that can connect with a 5G gNodeB while providing real-time diagnostic information. Customers can log diagnostic information to a disk for post-test analysis and debugging and can view it on the software front panel for a real-time visualisation of the link’s performance.

“The industry is on the cusp of 5G commercial deployments and mobile operators need to ensure that their infrastructure is 5G enabled in a virtualised, programmable, open and cost-efficient way,” said Neeraj Patel, Vice President and General Manager, Software and Services, Radisys. “NI is leveraging our first-to-market 5G Software Suite as the engine for its Test UE offering. Our complete 5G source code solution for UE, gNB and 5GCN represents a disruptive end-to-end enabling technology for customers to build 5G NR solutions. By powering such first to market test applications together with NI and Spirent, we are accelerating 5G commercialisation that will change how the world connects.”

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