Test and Measurement: Nearly half of North American and European operators plan to deploy 5G SA next year, survey finds

The majority of North American and European mobile network operators—88%—plan to move to 5G Standalone networks within the next two years, according to new joint research by test company EXFO and Heavy Reading. But they are still seeking the supporting tools that will help them generate new, 5G revenues from enterprise and consumer customers.

The joint survey focused on North American and European operators’ plans for 5G SA and related revenue opportunities. Nearly half of those operators plan to deploy 5G SA next year and another 39% plan to deploy it within one to two years, the research found. The main reported drivers for deploying 5G SA were to support enhanced consumer offerings such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mobile gaming; accelerate time to market for new services; and offer network slice-based services.

But 76% of those MNOs said that service assurance will be necessary in order to sell 5G services and meet the accompanying service-level agreements for the new technology. And 65% of MNOs said that a lack of actionable insight on how network degradations or outages affect customers (both human and machine) is “preventing them from automating networks and fault resolution, which are essential to meeting demanding performance expectations in enterprise applications,” according to an EXFO release.

More than 80% of MNOs said that they need real-time network, service and quality of experience intelligence; need to be able to monitor performance on a per-service and per-device basis; need end-to-end monitoring of network slices; and need artificial-intelligence driven anomaly and fault detection and root cause analysis.

“The opportunity to generate revenues from 5G SA lies in automated networks, which means service providers must deliver on enterprise service level agreements. This survey with Heavy Reading reinforces what we hear regularly from our customers: mobile network operators want greater service assurance and analytics to deliver actionable insights into network performance and user experience,” said Philippe Morin, CEO of EXFO, in a statement.

In other test news:

Keysight Technologies says that it is the first to gain PTCRB validation of test cases for 5G millimeter-wave Radio Resource Management, using Keysight’s S8705A RF/RRM DVT and Conformance Toolset and a 5G mmWave modem. The test cases focus on verifying a chipset’s ability to accurately manage the reception of two concurrent signals.

Also this week, Keysight unveiled new software to help IoT chip and device makers, and companies which deploy IoT devices, conduct comprehensive and automated cybersecurity assessments.

Viavi Solutions has gained approval from the PCI-SIG for use of Viavi’s Xgig Exerciser in PCI Express (PCIe) 4.0 protocol compliance. The Xgig Exerciser is part of Viavi’s Xgig 5P16 protocol analysis platform, and it can now be used for PCIe link and transaction protocol compliance testing in compliance workshops. As Viavi explained, products that pass PCIe technology compliance through testing performed at such workshops may be added to an Integrators List maintained by the PCI-SIG, which enables manufacturers of finished goods to identify tested and compliant components.

“This is a significant milestone for Viavi as we continue to build our PCIe protocol analysis platform,” said Tom Fawcett, VP and GM of lab and production at Viavi. “Manufacturers can now use the Xgig platform to test products in their labs and prepare for PCI-SIG compliance workshops.”

-The Federal Communications Commission this week released a public notice that kicks off the process of authorizing Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) systems in the 6 GHz band. The Wireless Innovation Forum has been heading up industry work on standards, guidelines and recommendations for the development and testing of AFC; check out their work here.

“The AFC is the key to unlocking 850 MHz of spectrum for standard-power unlicensed devices. We welcome the opportunity to continue working with the Commission to help commercialize AFC Systems and look forward to continuing our support of the entire 6 GHz community,” said Mark Gibson of CommScope, who is chair of WInnForum’s 6 GHz Committee. A WInnForum video blog from Gibson, discussing the ins and outs of WInnForum’s work in this area, is available here.

-The Avnu Alliance has launched a new certification program for Time-Sensitive Networking, with a number of registered test facilities around the world and an online portal for certification management that includes real-time visibility into the testing process and the ability to track device progress and timelines, as well certification document management. The Avnu Alliance’s Registered Test Facilities (RTF) include Allion in Taipei City, Taiwan; Excelfore in Tokyo, Japan; and Granite River Labs in both Santa Clara, California and Karlsruhe, Germany.

“As a part of standard networking technology, TSN is built and deployed around the world,” said Greg Schlechter, president of the Avnu Alliance.  “Avnu recognized that, for device certification to keep pace with innovation, we needed to expand our testing capabilities and global footprint to increase accessibility, enable the growth of both test programs and manufacturers, and in general support the diversity of the growing TSN ecosystem.”

-Not many companies talk about testing capabilities as a business and service differentiator. But Dish Network told RCR Wireless News how a new partnership with Spirent Communications for virtualized, automated 5G SA testing is a key part of its strategy. Read that full story here.

TUV Rheinland said this week that its four product testing laboratories in Bangalore, Gurgaon, Visakhapatnam and Pune have been designated as Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) by the Indian Ministry of Communication’s Telecommunication Engineering Centre to conduct testing under the newly published third and fourth phases of  Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecom Equipment (MTCTE) regulations.

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