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Four Reasons Why Drive Testing Is
Important For 5G NR

5G

5G deployment is transforming the business operational model. The buzz surrounding 5G technology and its impact is exhilarating, and it will fuel the next generation of services and connectivity. The introduction of 5G is igniting productivity and innovation, and it is the key to unlock the full potential of emerging sophisticated technologies. 5G boom is poised to improve how the business landscape functions and help stay connected and thrive in the competitive marketing ecosystem.

5G seeks to empower digital experiences.With the rolling out of 5G networks with enhanced speeds, businesses can augment powerful internet connections, edge computing, and enterprise applications in new and innovative ways. Keeping up with technological upgrades and assuring digital experience is critical for today's global businesses. 5G provides superior speed, greater capacity, latency reduction, and responsiveness of wireless networks. The salient features of 5G influence business operational capabilities and create new use cases like digitalized supply chain, remote services, digitized logistics, and more.

To stay ahead of the competition, companies must understand and capture the opportunities that 5G presents. With 5G drive test tools, companies can measure Quality of Experience (QoE) with improved efficiency to develop, deploy successfully, and leverage operational excellence of emerging 5G networks. As innovations like AI, IoT, and virtual reality drive the next paradigm shift, 5G will provide opportunities in bandwidth and latency reduction for powering these advancements. End-to-end 5G test solutions have become a critical enabler of 5G potential. 5G drive test parameters help measure and assess the coverage, capacity, and Quality of Experience (QoE) of the 5G network. The Drive test parameters record various physical and virtual parameters to define signal strength, signal quality, beam management, and more in 5G.

5G NR is moving at a fast pace. Hence, 5G drive testing is still relevant and essential to ensure the viability of the 5G network radio. 5G networks will help to support three prominent use cases:ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC), massive machine communications (mMTC), and extreme mobile broadband (eMBB). Each has varying peak bit rates, latency, traffic load, reliability, and mobility requirements. The 5G ecosystem can successfully thrive by significantly transforming the networks and devices infrastructure and the services it delivers. Due to the user/machine-centric design of 5G, drive testing plays an important role.

User-Centricity

5G is highly user-centric. The network design focuses significantly on the quality of experience (QoE) instead of the quality of service (QoS) to optimize the user-centric network. Hence, it requires evaluating its behavior at the device level. For QoE evaluation, device-based testing is needed. It must consider different types of QoE from the ones concerned with the previous ‘G’s. It requires updgraded metrics to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) and the machines' 'experience.' The QoE must shift towards a context-aware understanding. It is based on continuous learning and adapts between network and device. The AI and ML solutions do not follow any standardization. Hence network testing is essential.

Spectrum And Bandwidth Diversity

5G NR has varying frequency spectrums and large continuous bandwidths. It can also aggregate narrower bandwidths through various techniques. The variety that 5G offers can stress a device's hardware and affect its performance.Solutions to cope with these differences are not standardized, and hence it may differ across devices. Device-based testing helps to accurately evaluate how device's behavior on network and service performance as end-users perceive when they work with 5G NR networks.

Complement Minimizing Drive Testing Functionality

With the emergence of 4G LTE, Minimizing Drive Testing (MDT) functionality had come through. It is immediate and logged and works when triggered by a networking event or network location. 5G NR consists of self-contained transmission and enables enhanced MDT (Rel 16+) functionality that requires optimization in real-time. Device-based measurements can help to leverage QoE data sources accurately.

Accommodate Vendor-Specific SON-Embedded Solutions

The core of 5G NR is likely to include enhanced Self Organizing Networks (SON) functionality. It is expected to have centralized and distributed use cases at its core, but it is not standardized. Hence, the performance and behavior will be vendor-specific. Each vendor can decide to cover a specific distributed SON use case or include a centralized SON solution. Therefore, it requires drive-based testing to evaluate performance and identify the benefits of centralized and distributed SON algorithms and perceive user experience.

Drive testing will need to change by keeping the 5G NR requirements in mind considerably. Testing probes help to cut down the post-processing time for detecting problems faster proactively. It helps to diagnose problems in real-time to leverage predictive testing solutions. As 5G NR has more significant network densification, it requires enhanced features like remote control, real-time data collection, automated location, time-scheduled test scripts, and cloud-based solutions. It requires sophisticated reporting logs to evaluate performance better and avoid glitches.

To Conclude:

5G networks are emerging explosively, and it attracts various devices, apps, traffic, and data. Drive testing is essential to maintain 5G QoE, and ensure that it delivers flawless experience and reliability. It will help to build commercially ready 5G networks and related offerings.


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