Test and Measurement: Nokia implements Keysight AI-based software in 5G base station testing

 

Nokia is implementing a new, artificial intelligence and analytics-based test process into its 5G base station manufacturing, and testing tech company Keysight Technologies collaborated with the network OEM on bringing it to reality.

Keysight said that the new software-based approach to the base station manufacturing test process led to “significantly improving test efficiency.” It was part of an expanded partnership between the two companies to optimize critical test processes in Nokia’s advanced manufacturing.

Because 5G equipment is much more complex than existing cellular equipment, Keysight said, manufacturing test times are on the rise and manufacturers are looking for ways to cut that down as 5G deployments ramp up and they have to compete on their delivery schedule timelines. Keysight said that it used advanced software technology developed by Keysight Laboratories, which is its applied research arm, to analyze “vast amounts of historical manufacturing data” which were provided by Nokia, using AI-based analytics software that Keysight developed based on its  expertise in automated test and cloud-computing, combined with machine learning. The software demonstrated the opportunity to make “significant reductions in test times,” and given that validation against historical data, Nokia implemented Keysight’s software into its 5G manufacturing processes to tweak its test strategy and develop more efficient manufacturing test plans.

The new AI capability is being integrated into PathWave, which is Keysight’s flagship workflow software platform.

“Keysight’s extended 5G collaboration with Nokia, initiated more than three years ago, signals an inflection point in the commercialization of the next generation of mobile communications,” said Giampaolo Tardioli, VP and GM of Keysight’s network access group.

In other test news:

-Smartphone OEM OnePlus says it is investing nearly $30 million in its 5G research and development labs, with company founder and CEO Pete calling 5G the “top priority in our product strategy.”

He said that due in part to the lab R&D investments, OnePlus “should be among the first smartphone manufacturers to have 5G support in a full product line up.”

OnePlus said that its 5G labs’ work encompasses both hardware and software R&D, in areas such as radio frequency circuits, antennas and a device’s multimedia components, such as cameras, displays and audio capabilities. On the software side, research is conducted on communications protocols, throughput optimization, power, stability, performance and user scenario testing, the company said. It added that the labs “mainly focus on achieving better user experiences of 5G technology on OnePlus’ devices” but also support certification and operator pre-testing of devices.

-Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan says that the advent of 5G is driving new test needs in the semiconductor industry, and it predicts that revenues from semiconductor test will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% through 2026, to $6 billion.

Notably, Frost added, semiconductor test saw a sharp revenue decline in 2019, but it expects that “a surge in semiconductor test volumes and stringent test demands from the communication, consumer electronics, automotive and healthcare verticals” to revive the segment.

“There is a need for adjusting the product portfolio to integrate advanced test solutions and augment low-cost testing methodologies,” said Riti Newa, who is a research associate in the industrial group at Frost & Sullivan. “Next-generation testing requires innovation and technological advancements to accommodate the high requirements of segments such as artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and 5G networks.”

Tektronix has announced a new partnership with Coherent Solutions focused on testing for high-bandwidth optical communications, in which Coherent’s IQTransmitter products will be integrated with some of Tek’s oscilloscopes in order to provide what the two companies are calling a “complete optical communications platform” for optical modulation analysis.

“Complex optical modulation is a critical development path for engineers who are looking for test and measurement systems to support product roll-out for 400G/800G and transmission rates of up to 1TB/s,” the two companies said.

Andy Stevens, CEO of Coherent Solutions, said that his company has seen a “surge of interest in [Optical Modulation Analyzer] systems  as engineers look to keep up with developments in high-speed optical technologies and also deploying coherent technology in new areas. It’s the perfect time for our companies to align our expertise, and we’re confident the partnership will bring significant benefits to our customers and the wider optical communication industry over the next few years.”

Anritsu scored another win with existing customer Inseego, which has integrated the test firm’s Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A offering for device verification, along with its 5G New Radio Mobile Device Test Platform ME7834NR for protocol conformance testing and its New Radio RF Conformance Test System ME7873NR at Inseego’s location in San Diego.

SquareTrade, which is an AllState company that provides insurance on devices such as smartphones, said that during its independent breakability tests of new Samsung devices, the Galaxy S20 earned itself a score of medium-high risk of breakage. In a series of tests on the Samsung devices’ response to being dropped, tumbled around or dunked in water (tests which are also common in carrier device labs), the company found that of the Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, the smaller S20 “was especially susceptible to damage when dropped, tumbled, and bent.”

One highlight was that all three S20 models survived 30 minutes in five feet of water just fine, but you probably want a sturdy case for them. For example, SquareTrade reported that a six-foot drop face-down shattered the S20’s screen to the point of going black and being unusable, the S20+ shattered and was “barely usable” due to a malfunction in one corner, and the S20 ULtra G fared best, being usable after the drop even though it had hairline fractures and loose glass.

“The quality of the cameras in Samsung Galaxy phones has always been exceptional and the photo capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G are next-level,” said Jason Siciliano, SquareTrade’s VP of marketing and creative director. “However, our tests revealed the new enormous camera housing ‘bump’ design is susceptible to damage when dropped. Given the cost of the Galaxy S20 phones, and the cost to repair them, it should probably be handled with the care of a high-end camera rather than a phone—and getting a case is a must.”

 

 

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