Verizon’s 5G spec drives new test & measurement gear

Rhode & Schwarz 5G
Source: Rohde & Schwarz

Verizon released its 5G radio specification in July, intending to provide guidelines for testing and validating crucial 5G technical components. Now test & measurement firm Rohde & Schwarz says it has successfully demonstrated the generation and analysis of 5G signals based on the characteristics as specified in Verizon’s open trial specifications.

The specification, which was the result of collaboration within Verizon's 5G Technology Forum, describes the physical layer characteristics of a 5G signal. The specified signal is derived from LTE and adapted to be used initially at 28 and 39 GHz. The basic mode of operation is TDD, and the proprietary signal is a multicarrier OFDM signal with a subcarrier spacing of 75 kHz. It's aiming for a bandwidth of 100 MHz per component carrier; up to eight carriers can be aggregated. 

Verizon released the spec in part so that industry partners, such as chipset vendors, network vendors and mobile operators, could develop interoperable solutions and contribute to pre-standard testing and fabrication. Similar to how it led with LTE, Verizon wants to be the first U.S. company to roll out 5G services. Its 5G Technology Forum includes Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Samsung and Qualcomm Technologies.

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Verizon has said that its goal is to collaborate with vendors on some early specifications and then contribute those to the 3GPP, the standards body responsible for creating the 5G standard. But Tom Keathley, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, recently told SDxCentral that he doesn't believe all of Verizon’s 5G specs will be adopted by the 3GPP.

“There are items in their spec that won’t be accepted. I can guarantee it,” he told SDxCentral. Keathley believes that building equipment based upon this early specification won’t be good for 5G deployment because it could potentially lead to different networks being built.

Considering that hundreds of companies are involved in the standards process and that many of them are vying to get their own version of technology into the standards, it’s easy to see how one entity might have a tough go of it. But Verizon is determined to do what it can to influence the ultimate outcome.

In addition to Verizon’s contributions to the 5G Trial Specification Alliance, it’s working with South Korea’s KT Corporation, the official sponsor of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, on a harmonized 5G specification. Verizon and KT Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support their mutual interest in collaborating on future mobile and broadband technologies, including 5G wireless technology, SDN/NFV and GiGA technologies.

Rohde & Schwarz says its signal generation and analysis instruments already support the basic characteristic of the specified 5G Verizon signal. The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator equipped with the R&S SMW-K114 5G waveform candidate software option makes it easy to configure OFDM signals with the required 75 kHz subcarrier spacing and 100 MHz bandwidth, according to the company. Additionally, preamble and user data settings enable creation of 5G signals with the basic characteristics as specified by the Verizon 5G technical forum. “This means that reference symbols can be set, and data modulation such as QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM and even higher-order modulation schemes such as 256QAM can be applied,” Rohde & Schwarz said in a press release.

For more:
- see this press release
- see this SDxCentral article

Related articles:
Verizon claims first in completing 5G radio specification
AT&T's Mair: Like Verizon, AT&T will have pre-standards 5G gear by end of 2017
SoftBank, others join MulteFire Alliance

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