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January 11, 2019
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In an interview with tele.net, Andreas Pauly, Executive Vice President Test and Measurement, Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG, and Yatish Mohan, Managing Director, Rohde & Schwarz India, talk about the evolving T&M market in India, the testing challenges related to 5G and the way forward for the T&M market in India. Excerpts…

(From left to right:  Andreas Pauly and Yatish Mohan)

What are the key trends in the telecom T&M market in India?

The Indian telecom industry has witnessed unprecedented growth from the past few years due to continuous deployment of next-generation technologies, increasing subscriber base, and unprecedented data traffic. Test & Measurement (T&M) equipment plays critical role for the telecom sector ecosystem partners including network equipment manufacturers (NEMS), mobile device manufacturers, and telecommunication service providers. A major driving factor for the growth of the telecom test equipment market is the introduction of new technologies and standards within the telecom industry.

The demand for test equipment is enhancing due to growing bandwidth demands and introduction of next generation cellular & wireless technologies. Further, increasing R&D spending in the telecom sector along with growth in the mobile phone market is expected to drive the market growth. Moreover, regulatory compliance, government support, and constant technology developments are expected to boost the telecom testing equipment market in 2019.

Considering the announcement of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for rolling out a mandatory plan to initially test devices from April 1, 2019, the Indian telecom equipment testing market is expected to see huge demand for the test equipment and services which are relevant to Essential Requirements for safety, electromagnetic interference (EMI), electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), radio frequency (RF), specific absorption rate (SAR) and other technical requirements.

How the customer needs for test and measurement have changed overtime, particularly with the advent of 4G?

Going from 2G/3G to 4G is a paradigm shift in test and measurement. The advancement of 4G technology in the wireless realm has brought significant changes in the way wireless devices and networks are tested. Test of 2G/3G devices was somewhat simpler where antenna configurations and lower-speed data protocols could be tested in a so-called 'tabled' environment where manufacturers can simply plug in the test equipment into a port on the device and get information about receiver and transmitter performance as well as can check algorithms for cellular handoffs.

However, things are no longer so simple. The test scenario becomes more complex in a 4G environment. The biggest change in the way mobile devices are tested is due to the arrival of MIMO technology. MIMO has brought a proliferation of test schemes that involve intensive field testing of devices. Over-the-air (OTA) testing has become the need of the hour. It is done in two stages. The first stage is to take measurements in a cabled environment to establish a performance baseline for the receiver front end and baseband processing. It is done to measure RF throughput. The second stage repeats the RF measurements in an anechoic (non-echoing) chamber, simulating the cabled environment. Besides, significant change in test environment, some specific other test requirements also emerged to ensure performance of devices in 4G network.

For example, one of the biggest areas of concern for RF design in 4G/LTE is the ongoing spectrum fragmentation and the multiplicity of radios within handsets. This in turn, requires special testing to ensure consistent performance across those multiple bands. Interoperability is another parameter which needs appropriate testing solution as handsets are expected to switch seamlessly between 3G networks and the newer 4G/LTE networks and that is also without dropping data connections or calls. Therefore, suitable optimization is required on both the network and device sides through proper testing. Moreover, data performance is a critical test area.

What are the testing challenges related to 5G?

Two key features in 5G NR are especially important for the realization of higher data rates than in LTE: the use of millimetre wave frequencies (up to 100 GHz 1) and support for significantly higher signal bandwidths. In particular, 5G NR supports signal bandwidths up to 100 MHz for carrier frequencies below 6 GHz and up to 400 MHz for frequencies in the millimetre wave range.

These ambitious features bring new challenges for development engineers. Designing power amplifiers that exhibit the necessary characteristics (e.g. linearity) is not trivial and may necessitate new design approaches (e.g. digital predistortion). The circuit is needed to generate frequencies in the millimetre wave range requires careful design and selection of components in order to reduce the effects of phase noise introduced by mixers and multipliers. Beamforming also requires very good amplitude and phase synchronization between antenna elements in active antenna systems.

The high frequencies intensify the challenges for test and measurement methods. The short wavelengths and higher losses in circuits necessitate tight integration, making it impractical to supply connector ports for testing. At the same time, the effects of connectors and test fixtures become non-negligible, potentially affecting the validity of conducted measurements.

Continuously updated test and measurement equipment from Rohde & Schwarz helps the industry quickly bring 5G NR solutions to market. Developers, for example, urgently need suitable signal sources and analyzers. We offer new software for 5G NR signal generation and analysis. It simplifies generation of uplink and downlink 5G NR signals for all testing needs.

A signal generator for 5G NR needs to be able to generate extremely clean wideband signals with excellent EVM over a wide frequency range. This requires the signal generator to exhibit outstanding spectral, phase and amplitude characteristics. To overcome high path loss at millimetre wave frequencies, very high RF output power is also necessary. The R&S®SMW200A vector signal generator fulfils all these and other requirements resulting from 3GPP Releases.

With 5G NR, signal analysis bandwidths of at least 1 GHz become necessary in order to capture the interaction of multiple component carriers. The R&S®FSW-B1200 option provides 1200 MHz of internal analysis bandwidth for the 43 GHz and 50 GHz models of the R&S®FSW series of signal and spectrum analyzers.

What are the key focus areas of Rohde & Schwarz India?

Rohde & Schwarz India (RSINDIA) is a leader in the Indian T&M market. We achieved approximately 15% growth last year in India. We have been a trusted test and measurement (T&M) solution partner for more than two decades in India; we partner closely with various agencies, training institutes and technology companies to facilitate technology growth in the country. For example, we have cooperation with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for radio solution.

We are one of the leading suppliers for the Indian mobile and wireless communications sector, offering a complete portfolio of T&M instruments and systems for the development, production, and type testing of components and consumer devices as well as for setting up and monitoring mobile networks. Beside these segments, RSINDIA supplies T&M products and solutions for automotive, aerospace and defences, industrial electronics, research, and education sectors. Quite a few examples of our success stories can be described as we have more than 50% market share in EMI/EMC testing in India.

In India, we offer complete support, calibration, repairing, maintenance as well as turnkey project execution with local value addition. We have a central calibration lab in Bengaluru. About 4 years ago we started R&D activity in India with a project given by one of our Chipset customers, today we are also supporting our parent organization in Germany  with this R&D facility. Already a large number of Developers are working in our R&D operations at Delhi & Bangalore.

Recently, RSINDIA was named ‘Indian T&M Company of the Year’ at Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 India Best Practices Awards Banquet in Mumbai. The Frost & Sullivan award is the acknowledgment of R&S gaining a sizeable market share in the past five years and becoming a powerful brand in the T&M space.

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