Spirent Communications, a global enabler in mobile network, service and device testing, has demonstrated an over-the-air test chamber setup at the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology (CAICT) that allows for realistic evaluation of new 5G base station array antenna systems.
5G base stations (known as gNodeBs) utilize arrays containing dozens or hundreds of antenna elements to transmit and receive as much as 10 times the amount of data per second as 4G technology. CAICT has developed sophisticated mathematical “channel models” that capture how 5G radio signals propagate through the air and are affected by reflections, absorption, motion and other effects, and they worked with Spirent Communications to design a test bed to replicate those effects in a repeatable lab environment.
The system that CAICT created has been used by Huawei to test 5G gNodeB antenna array designs. It allows Huawei to simulate several types of real-world environments, such as urban and rural, in a measurable and repeatable fashion.
The system uses Spirent’s probe group technique and Spirent Vertex 64 port channel emulator configuration to create 100MHz and higher radio channel bandwidths inside of an anechoic test chamber. This design allows Huawei to capture the radio beam patterns that the gNodeB creates and replicate the effects that a 5G user handset will see.
“It is a privilege to work with Spirent and Huawei to pioneer the test systems that the industry needs to make 5G a reality,” said Dr. Zhang Xiang, product manager for 5G at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. “As 5G work moves from trials to commercial deployments, Spirent and CAICT will continue to evolve the test methodology to support additional real-world scenarios and evolving 5G capabilities” he added.