5G is coming!!! The anxiety is growing at a fever pitch. And when it comes, it will come with the promise of giving us a high data rate, saving energy and costs, coupled with higher system capacity and massive-massive device connectivity.
All this is evidently the possible frontstage view of 5G, but what is actually happening at the backstage and how are companies like VIAVI Solutions helping the launch possible for worldwide network operators?
Emerging 5G services pose new and challenging requirements for transport networks. Addressing them necessitates a new split of functions and today Stephen Hire, Vice President of Marketing, Wireless Business, VIAVI Solutions, Kashif Hussain, Wireless Solutions Director, VIAVI Solutions and Paul Gowans, Wireless Strategy Director of VIAVI Solutions are going to answer some questions that are prerequisites to the working of 5G.
Today, 5G moves from concept to commercial field-deployable solution. How do you see carriers and equipment manufacturers ensure that 5G delivers on its promise of gigabit throughput?
Stephen Hire: Much of the success of cellular technology lies in the solid foundations of the standards and robust development of the core functionality. As the leading supplier of test mobiles used on the critical path of 5G deployment, we’ve witnessed first-hand just how much work has gone into the standards development, as well as efforts by the major vendors to prepare for commercial launches. Compared to 4G, the pace of development in 5G is moving much more rapidly, and the work and testing being done now will help vendors deliver the high-quality network infrastructure that the operators need to deliver on their promises.
As service providers deploy and activate their 5G commercial networks worldwide, what kind of 5G test solutions they are relying on to ensure optimal customer experience and quality?
Stephen Hire: With the greater complexity of 5G, operators need to consider how testing should evolve throughout both the supply chain and the lifecycle of their infrastructure. The delivery of a high-quality set of services to end users is the result of operators bringing together hardware and software from multiple vendors to create a seamless experience. VIAVI, for example, specializes in network equipment testing from lab validation, through field deployment and then into network assurance. We’ve developed the concepts of Lab to Field and Field in Lab to capture the close interactions and feedback loops inherent in 5G. For an operator, they will want to be confident that their vendors have adequately tested their products during development, and then build on that for their own verification and deployment testing; from there they can then move towards the ongoing service assurance. VIAVI’s portfolio allows vendors to test in-depth during R&D and then enables the operators to manage deployment and on-going operations.
There is a growing threat posed by the IoT and 5G. How do VIAVI solutions help service providers prepare their network from the impact of IoT and mobile related threats?
Stephen Hire: Security threats continue to grow, and although it is almost impossible to prevent 100 percent of attacks, preparation, and adequate testing prior to service launch can go a long way towards mitigating the risks. As a test vendor, we advise operators to prepare for service launches by running large-scale, real-world test scenarios in their labs before they launch – and these test scenarios can be augmented by including common security threat scenarios such as DDOS attacks. This not only helps the operator to understand potential vulnerabilities but also to understand whether the network continues to operate under attack.
Latency issues are causing problems with dropped calls and poor user experience. How does VIAVI help telecom operators manage backhaul performance and future-proof their networks?
Kashif Hussain: Timing and synchronization play a vital role in the performance of a wireless network. In 5G, those requirements are further enhanced due to phase and timing demands on networks based on time division duplex (TDD) and coordinated radio techniques. Previous mobile networks primarily required frequency synchronization to align signals, but this is not the case with 5G.
To help network operators meet synchronization requirements, including those specified by the 3GPP technical specifications, VIAVI offers the latest testing technology such as the field-optimized Timing Extension Module (TEM) for the VIAVI T-BERD/MTS-5800 solution. This field-optimized TEM module is the preferred tool for installing and maintaining networks with stringent timing and synchronization requirements, and together with the T-BERD/MTS-5800, the TEM delivers industry-leading accuracy to field portable timing and synchronization measurements.
The network and security teams are constantly pressed with monitoring and troubleshooting challenges. How does VIAVI help in network performance monitoring?
Paul Gowans: In order to improve network performance and security, operators need to increase automation. This is particularly critical as they evolve to more complex 5G networks. You cannot be constantly monitoring and managing today’s networks manually, as the environment is too dynamic and fluid. Moreover, there needs to be a clear linkage and closed loop with any assurance and management system to allow the performance monitoring solution to adapt to the latest changes in the network. To help address monitoring and troubleshooting challenges, VIAVI developed the first real-time intelligence platform that connects testing and service activation data from instruments with software-based planning, provisioning, assurance, and optimization probes and applications. The VIAVI Network Integrated Test, Real-time analytics and Optimization (NITRO) solution works seamlessly across mobile, fiber, cable, cloud and enterprise networks, enabling today’s networks to be managed with less manual intervention and reduced skill sets by increasing the automation of workflows and lifecycles.