Keysight going strong despite U.S. trade tensions with China

Keysight saw triple-digit 5G order growth in the third quarter. Pictured: Keysight 5G Geometric Channel Modeling Tool (Keysight Technologies)

It's been a good year for Keysight Technologies so far. The test and measurement company’s Communications Solutions Group reported third-quarter revenue of $515 million, up 23%, driven in part by 5G-related R&D spending across the wireless ecosystem. The company as a whole reported record revenue of $1 billion for the quarter.

And although it’s keeping an eye on the trade tensions with China, Keysight's business there continues to be strong, executives say. Restrictions in China are principally affecting its aerospace defense business, an impact estimated to be in the $10 million to $15 million per quarter range, but the company says that’s being offset by growth in other areas.

“The strength of our aerospace, defense business globally is very strong, and we feel like the rest of the world will offset this impact to China,” Mark Wallace, senior vice president, Worldwide Sales, said during the company’s most recent earnings conference call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “This is our fourth quarter in a row of double-digit order growth and we continue to see increased investments around the world, especially in the U.S.”

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The company is actively monitoring the situation in China, and “despite the trade tensions, our business in China continues to be strong and broad,” he added. “We delivered solid double digit revenue and order growth in Q3, and we're continuing win in China with our differentiated solutions for 5G, for automotive, for semiconductor, et cetera.”

Keysight, which was spun off from Agilent Technologies in 2014, was an early participant in 5G and claims to offer the broadest array of 5G solutions on the market today. It’s engaged with operators around the world in their 5G deployments, supplying key channel emulators and other gear.

Keysight President and CEO Ron Nersesian said Keysight’s Ixia Solutions Group, along with the Nemo Solutions team from its acquisition of Anite, also secured key design wins for leading-edge RAN and core network solutions for 5G in the third quarter—a quarter in which it saw triple-digit 5G order growth.

Keysight earlier this week announced it had extended its collaboration with NTT DoCoMo by providing network emulation solutions for characterizing and validating new 5G New Radio (NR) mobile devices designed to operate on the operator's 5G network.

Keysight’s solution allows users to validate the protocol signaling and RF performance of 5G NR mobile devices in a lab environment. It’s also working with NTT DoCoMo to develop specific test scenarios to ensure new 5G mobile devices will operate as expected on its network, thus enabling DoCoMo’s ecosystem to reduce R&D efforts and accelerate market introductions of new 5G mobile devices.