5G System Level Testing: Requirements and Challenges
The promise of 5G addresses the ever-increasing number of devices that will be connected to the network with ultra-low-latency, ultra-high data rates and reliability. In order to meet these requirements, there is an exponential increase in technical complexities and challenges with 5G new radio, massive MIMO, millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies and over-the-air (OTA) test methods. Collectively, these changes in 5G have major implications in the way these antenna arrays are designed and properly tested.
In 5G Sub-6 GHz, the introduction of new frequencies and RF channels to test makes the probing of antennas for accurate pad placement in a constrained form factor design difficult.
In the case of 5G mmWave, beamforming use antenna arrays with shorter element sizes at high frequencies that form a large number of radiating elements. Such antenna array design choices along with antenna modules impose new hurdles for mass production testing where OTA is required and with significant data path loss at mmWave frequencies. Further, the specific requirement for mmWave OTA test methods are not fully defined but the solution needs to address RF measurements, modulation and functional test items in a budgeted test time and cost consideration.