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Test and Measurement: Innovate5G, Nokia and Athonet test 5G SA call in the midband

Innovate5G, Nokia and Athonet are laying claim to making the first commercial North American call via a 5G Standalone private network in the midband at 2.5 GHz (Band n41, TDD spectrum).

The partners said that they made the call using Athonet’s 5G SA core network and Nokia’s AirScale Next Generation-RAN integrated with Innovate5G’s a cloud-based application testing platform for 5G, the latter of whichlaunched earlier this summer. They added that while consumers tend to think of 5G in terms of mobile carriers’ networks, “enterprise applications on SA networks present a significant enterprise opportunity.”

“This multiple vendor collaboration opens the ‘go to market’ journey, helping developers understand things like jitter, delays and video quality when it comes to their 5G applications,” added Ed Alfonso, EVP and GM of mobile networks for Nokia Americas. “If you build it and want to know how it works, we have created the place to come test your 5G mid-band applications with this first commercially available TDD radio integration in SA 5G leveraging Nokia’s RAN infrastructure.”

“To put this accomplishment into perspective, a developer designing for 5G would literally have to drive around to try to latch on to a 5G network to test their application, and even then, they’re still not going to have any meaningful/definitive information about performance,” said Rashmi Varma, CTO of Innovate5G. “In addition, the networks they may find are still migrating from 4G and are not yet pure 5G networks. This call means we can now provide 5G access to developers wanting to test in the actual environment, while also providing the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to help understand metrics like round-trip time and latency.”

Innovate5G also said that its lab is “slice capable” and the fact that it allows developers to log in remotely means that it has remained accessible during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This test call validates Innovate5G’s vision to provide a pathway forward to 5G,” continued Gianluca Verin, chief technology officer of Athonet. “Our 5G mobile core is built for business-critical applications to connect a multitude of devices and sensors, allowing developers to put their ideas into action and leverage the incredible potential of 5G. This collaboration with Innovate5G and Nokia makes it possible for anyone to gain access.”

In related news, earlier this week Ericsson and Qualcomm claimed the first successful over-the-air 5G New Radio call on CBRS spectrum via a 5G Standalone network. The trial for the OTA 5G NR call took place at Ericsson’s North America headquarters in Plano, Texas, utilizing a 5G SA network configuration with rooftop radios and the previously announced Ericsson 5G Distributed Innovation Network. The smartphone that was used was equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System.

In other test news:

Accedian has struck a strategic partnership with Cisco to provide what the service assurance and analytics company is describing as a “cloud-native, single pane-of-glass view of network and service performance.” Cisco will offer Accedian’s Skylight — branded as Accedian Skylight for Cisco Network Automation — to provide near real-time network performance monitoring, analytics and assurance.

“Digital businesses will succeed or fail by the quality of their customer experiences, and our collaboration with Cisco supports our clients and their end-users by creating a best-in-class dynamic service assurance solution,” said Dion Joannou, CEO of Accedian, in a statement. “With tools such as Skylight and Cisco Crosswork Network Automation, organizations can efficiently monitor and troubleshoot their network performance, all without impacting the customer experience.” Kevin Wollenweber, VP of networking for Cisco’s Mass-Scale Infrastructure Group, added that “Service providers are always looking for ways to securely and cost-effectively improve customer experience, differentiate services, and enhance operational efficiency. With Accedian Skylight for Cisco Network Automation, we are helping them to achieve dynamic service assurance, driven by powerful analytics and automation, while providing a better experience for subscribers.”

RADCOM is now offering its RADCOM Ace service assurance solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS), saying hat the integration of its real-time subscriber analytics and troubleshooting with AWS” enables operators to dynamically deploy an automated, cloud-native service assurance platform while utilizing AWS to scale efficiently and reduce time to market” for 5G, IoT and edge services, as well as 4G and Voice over LTE.

“We’re excited to be working with Amazon to provide telecom operators a fully integrated, cloud-native service assurance solution for deploying and optimizing 5G, 4G and VoLTE services on the AWS cloud and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) for on-premises implementations,” said Hilik Itman, RADCOM’s COO. “Telecom operators will be able to use AWS Cloud and Amazon Managed Kubernetes Services along with RADCOM Ace to simplify 5G rollouts and smartly manage network services more automatically.”

Keysight Technologies says it is the first test company to submit a 5G New Radio Rel. 16 protocol test to 3GPP’s RAN 5 working group, using its S8704A Protocol Conformance Toolset. The test company noted that Rel. 16 capabilities are expected to improve 5G New Radio’s coverage, capacity, latency, security, power consumption, mobility and reliability, and that the release includes new features for specific support of transportation, private 5G and industrial IoT.

The test case, which Keysight submitted for verification to 3GPP RAN 5 on August 6, 2021, allows chipset and device vendors to verify functionality related to self-organizing networks and the minimization of drive testing.

Anritsu unveiled a new Vector Network Analyzer this week, aimed at supporting millimeter-wave designs. The VectorStar ME7838AX/EX broadband systems are the first broadband VNA systems to offer single-sweep capabilities up to 125 GHz and 110 GHz, respectively, the test company said. There are four models of the VNA, and Anritsu has also put out accompanying calibration and verification kits characterized to 125 GHz.

Anritsu also this week announced upgraded capabilities for its MT1040A Network Master Pro, with an option to support simultaneous dual-port 400GbE measurements using a combination of two 400G measurement modules, or to support 200GhE testing for data centers.

-A recent report from StrategyR estimates that the global market value for IoT testing was nearly $989 million last year and will reach $5.5 billion by 2026 — a compound annual growth rate of nearly 33%. The network testing market, meanwhile, is projected to grow at more than 35% and reach $2.8 billion during the same timeframe.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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