As 5G networks are deployed around the world, the 5G NR standard established by 3GPP continues to evolve. Release 17 of this standard will extend the exploitable frequency band to unlicensed spectrum (up to 71 GHz) that is in the millimeter wave (mmWave) domain. This frequency band is currently used by non-cellular communication technologies framed by standards such as IEEE 802.11ad and IEEE 802.11ay. Rohde & Schwarz and Sivers Semiconductors have teamed up to overcome the new testing challenges posed by this frequency extension and to evaluate the performance of the latest generation of radio frequency transmit-receive circuits. Their collaboration validated a test solution for RF transceivers powered by 5G NR technology up to 71 GHz frequencies.
By mid-2022, release 17 of the 5G New Radio (5G NR) standard established by 3GPP will extend the supported frequency spectrum to 71 GHz. This frequency extension requires an adaptation of the physical layer, including the addition of two new spacings between the subcaries (480 kHz and 960 kHz). It also requires support for larger signal bandwidths (up to 2 GHz). Despite the challenges this new frequency band poses for manufacturers of RF transceivers for cellular communication applications, there are also new opportunities for those who specialized in the design and manufacture of IEEE-compliant transmit-receive circuits that operate in these millimeter frequency (mmWave) bands.
Rohde & Schwarz is a leading provider of test and measurement solutions for the wireless communications industry and RF component characterization. Sivers Semiconductors is a leading and internationally renowned technology company that provides integrated chips and modules. The two companies jointly tested the performance of the latest generation of transmit-receive RF circuits that until now supported IEEE 802.11ad and 802.11ay standards by implementing 5G NR signals at frequencies up to 71 GHz.
As part of these joint trials, an evaluation kit from Sivers Semiconductors was used as a test device (DUT). It includes a radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) of the TRXBF01 series and the RF antenna module of the BFM06010 series. The RFIC circuit supports modulations specified by IEEE 802.11ad/ay standards up to 64QAM over the entire frequency range from 57 to 71 GHz. The test solution consisted of the R&S SMW200A vector signal generator, which, thanks to new frequency extensions, now covers frequencies up to 67 GHz (72 GHz overscale), and the R&S FSW85 signal and spectrum analyzer. This analyzer, which is the only one on the market to offer a signal analysis band of up to 8.3 GHz, supports RF frequencies up to 90 GHz. The OTA (over-the-air) tests were carried out with the R&S ATS1800C speaker incorporating a CATR (compact antenna test range) reflector. This test chamber is suitable for testing devices using 5G NR mmWave technology.
To validate the transmission performance of the device under test, the SMW200A R&S generator provides an IQ baseband differential analog signal to the device under test, which performs IQ modulation of the signal and up conversion to the desired RF frequency. The generated signal, which complies with release 17 of the 3GPP 5G NR standard, has a spacing of 960 kHz between the subcarriers and a modulation bandwidth of 2 GHz. The device under test concentrates its emission beam, which is created by 16 individually controllable antenna elements, in the direction of the line of sight towards the CATR reflector of the R&S ATS1800C test chamber. It focuses the signal on the power antenna and transmits it to the R&S FSW85 analyzer which then performs a signal analysis in accordance with all the specifications of the 3GPP standards.
To test the receiving performance of the device under test, the R&S SMW200A generator delivers the RF 5G NR signal at 64 GHz (FR2-2), while connected to the power antenna of the R&S ATS1800C test chamber. The power antenna directs the signal to the CATR reflector, which creates far-field conditions within a high-quality silence zone (QZ) 30 cm in diameter. The integrated positioner allows repeatable RF measurements of the device under test to be made inside the silence zone. Sivers Semiconductors' RF circuit converts the received signal into a baseband. This signal is captured by an oscilloscope of the R&S RTP range to be analyzed separately using the R&S VSE(vector signal explorer)software or with the signal and spectrum analyzer of the R&S FSW range.
Erik Öjefors, Chief Technology Officer of the Wireless Communications business at Sivers Semiconductors, said: "This was a great opportunity for Sivers Semiconductors to once again prove the global leadership of our mmWave technology. Together with Rohde & Schwarz, we have demonstrated that the high performance of our RF signal transmit-receive circuits operating in the millimeter wave domain paves the way for future NR-U deployments in the 60 GHz band specified by the future Release 17 of the 3GPP standard. It is essential for us to be able to quickly have test and measurement solutions capable of meeting the requirements of new and future standards, such as 5G NR in the 60 GHz band. This responds to our ambition to always remain at the forefront of technological developments. »
"With Sivers Semiconductors, we have reached an important milestone for the wireless communications industry. Thanks to our innovative test and measurement solutions, we can verify new features of the 5G New Radio standard. This demonstrates our constant commitment to our partners and customers. In this way, we enable them to develop cutting-edge technologies that will enable the concrete deployment of advanced 5G use cases for consumers and businesses,"said Andreas Pauly, Executive Vice President of Test and Measurement at Rohde & Schwarz.
Visit the website: