Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

Drive testing of 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G NR mobile networks

29 May 2020 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

Nemo Outdoor is a laptop-based drive test tool for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G NR mobile network testing which supports over 300 devices and scanning receivers, from various vendors, all the latest network technologies and latest smartphones. Nemo Outdoor offers a full drive test solution for wireless network testing/mobile network testing, troubleshooting and optimisation.

In mobile network testing, Nemo Outdoor’s powerful software platform works with all wireless technologies and with different protocol and application testing options. Nemo Active Testing Application (NATA), the optional Keysight proprietary (patent pending) communications interface, enables simple and productive deployment of smartphones, also non-rooted commercial phones, in data benchmarking and voice quality measurements. With a test terminal and/or a scanner you can perform real-time DSS measurements, missing neighbour detection, pilot pollution analysis and GSM interference analysis.

Ensuring wireless network quality for end users

Nemo Outdoor enables you to measure quality-of-experience (QoE) metrics for the services and applications your customers are using, including advanced YouTube video testing, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Viber, BiP and Instagram testing.

With the optional NATA functionality, the smartphone measurement results reflect the real end-user experience. This gives customers the capability to understand wireless network quality from end consumer perspective, troubleshoot and optimise the network based on the results, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and reducing churn.

Nemo Outdoor for real 5G NR field measurements

Nemo Outdoor offers the widest range of 5G NR KPIs on the market. It supports real 5G NR field measurements with Qualcomm X50/X55, Samsung Exynos 5100/5123 and HiSilicon Balong 5000 chipset-based devices and third-party scanning receivers.

The collected metrics include cell measurements, physical channel information, current cell information (for each 5G subcarrier), extensive set of RACH parameters, MAC layer KPIs, RLC/PDCP KPIs and link adaptation (for each 5G subcarrier) KPIs. In addition, it collects 5G QoS measurements including throughput and latency.

With scanning receivers, Nemo Outdoor can be used to perform 5G NR drive test measurements with the demodulation of the 5G NR reference signals and it enables simultaneous 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G NR spectrum scan and frequency scan (CW) measurements. Coverage and quality metrics, namely SS-RSRP, SS-RSRQ, SS-CINR and RSSI, are reported per each SSB reference beam of a cell.

5G NR field measurement solution

5G NR is moving at an accelerated pace. Live network testing is needed to ensure beams are transmitting accurately and that throughput per cell, throughput per device and quality-of-experience metrics can be achieved. Device-based measurements are crucial when assessing the achievable 5G NR quality-of-service, mobility and interoperability with the underlying LTE network.

Nemo Outdoor drive test solution, combined with Nemo Analyze or Nemo WindCatcher, form the 5G NR field measurement solution from Keysight Technologies. It provides a complete measurement system for sub 6 GHz and millimetre-wave frequency spectrum. The solution includes all the necessary software and hardware to collect, post-process, analyse and visualise the data and to generate statistical information that can easily be shared throughout the organisation.

Features of the system include the following:

• Perform real 5G NR field measurements with Qualcomm X50-based devices and scanning receivers.

• Measure and verify sub 6 GHz and mm-wave frequency spectrum, reflection and penetration for indoor and outdoor environments.

• Perform 5G NR measurements with demodulation of the 5G NR reference signals.

• Easily align the transmitter and receiving directional antenna.

• Measure accurate total channel power level over the measured bandwidth.

• Visualise the measurement results with maps.

• Easily generate statistical reports and coverage plots with data analytic tools.

Redefining 5G NR drive testing

Massive MIMO (mMIMO) with beamforming will be used to achieve higher network capacity and higher data throughputs in the new 5G NR frequency bands. Using these technologies, however, changes the radio access from cell coverage to beam coverage, representing a significant change from 4G networks.

5G NR will change the testing methodologies, requiring both scanning receivers and test UEs (user equipment) for field verification. A scanner is a good tool for SSB reference beam coverage measurements and UE-based active field testing (drive testing) is needed for the verification of the rest of the 5G NR functionalities.

Measure and analyse signal power levels from 5G NR base stations

Keysight’s 5G NR field measurement solution provides a complete measurement system for sub 6 GHz and mm-wave propagation and coverage measurements in different radio environments, both indoors and out in the field. The solution combines Keysight’s powerful drive test tool Nemo Outdoor with Qualcomm X50 chipset-based devices, third-party scanning receivers and a FieldFox handheld spectrum analyser.

The collected metrics include RACH information, Tx power, rank (MIMO mode), modulation, MAC throughput and BLER, signal strength and quality metrics of the SSB beams. In addition, it collects QoS measurements including throughput and latency. The 5G NR test system can be used to perform real 5G NR measurements with demodulation of the 5G NR reference signals and it enables simultaneous 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G NR spectrum scan and frequency scan (CW) measurements.

Visualise 5G NR beam coverage and quality

Nemo Analyze supports the analysis of 5G NR scanning receiver measurements collected with Nemo Outdoor. Nemo Analyze can be used to visualise 5G NR beam coverage and quality metrics on a map and to identify coverage gaps and locations with high interference. All metrics recorded with the scanners are available for post-processing, including SS-RSRP, SS-RSRQ, SS-SINR, for each distinct SSB beam. A ready-made playback template with all the key metrics and KPIs is available for quick analysis and an automated routine for plotting the SSB beam footprints of all beams is also included.


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