As 5G technology evolves, non-3GPP networks such as public, home and enterprise WLAN hotspots will be more and more interlinked with the 5G core. As a result, tomorrow’s smartphones will rely even more on the next generations of WLAN technology, which will be more powerful and efficient, but also more complex. At Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona, Rohde & Schwarz will be showcasing its latest Wi-Fi 7 test solutions for R&D and production to meet the ever-increasing test challenges posed by the technology and the parallel operation with LTE and 5G cellular standards.
Rohde & Schwarz will display its R&S CMX500 multi-technology multi-channel signaling tester at MWC 2024 with newly added Wi-Fi 7 testing capabilities. With this functionality, the one-box tester allows R&D engineers of wireless devices to comprehensively test their design’s operation in cellular and non-cellular standards of the latest generation in a single instrument setup. In addition to this, the R&S CMP180 radio communication tester will verify a signal waveform of 480 MHz bandwidth in loopback mode, attesting to be a future-proof solution for users in R&D and production, even beyond the requirements of Wi-Fi 7.
Challenges of next-generation WLAN testing
While the market for the sixth generation of Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11ax, is still growing, the development of Wi-Fi 7, or IEEE 802.11be, is in full swing. Wi-Fi 7 is the next generation of Wi-Fi technology, designed for extremely high data throughput. With tens of gigabits of data per second and low latency, it meets the growing demand for ultra-high-definition video streaming, virtual reality and augmented reality applications. Key elements to achieve higher throughput are an increased channel bandwidth of 320 MHz, up to 16 spatial streams and 4096 QAM modulation. In addition, for a yet-to-be-defined Wi-Fi 8 (IEEE 802.11bn) standard, even wider channel bandwidths are in discussion. Rohde & Schwarz meets these challenging characteristics with its solutions for testing Wi-Fi 7 and beyond, showcased at MWC Barcelona.
R&S CMX500 features new Wi-Fi 7 capabilities for R&D
During the development of WLAN devices, measurements of the RF TX and RX characteristics must be tested under real-world conditions in signaling mode. The R&S CMX500 one-box tester is a multi-technology multi-channel signaling tester that is now available with integrated Wi-Fi 7 test functionality. Especially in Wi- Fi 7 where Multi-Link-Operation (MLO) is a key feature, a test environment that provides multiple RF chains is crucial. The tester’s flexibility, support for multiple radio technologies, and embedded IP test capabilities make it a versatile solution for a wide range of Wi-Fi 7-specific tests, such as 2×2 MIMO, 6 GHz band with
out-of-band discovery, coexistence and E2E test capabilities.
Testing WLAN offloading with Voice over WLAN in a single box
WLAN offloading is the process of delivering data originally intended for cellular networks over WLAN. It helps reduce the amount of data carried on the cellular bands, freeing up bandwidth for other users. It is also used to ensure service continuity in scenarios where cellular coverage is insufficient, but a WLAN hotspot is available to take over the connection. For example, the handover between a cellular network and WLAN during a voice call, often referred to as Voice over WLAN, aims to provide subscribers with an uninterrupted voice call experience.
At MWC, Rohde & Schwarz will demonstrate the R&S CMX500 and its ability to test seamless traffic offloading and interworking between cellular 5G and WLAN with a single box solution. The newly integrated Non-3GPP Interworking Function (N3IWF) gateway in the R&S CMX500 makes it an easy-to-use solution for testing WLAN offloading with Voice over WLAN, enabling device manufacturers and operators to efficiently test these applications. In addition, the integrated POLQA voice quality measurement function of the R&S CMX500 offers a comprehensive and cost-effective solution to ensure the quality of experience for voice over WLAN applications at an early stage.
Future-proof R&S CMP180 R&D and production tester
In the production phase of WLAN devices, all RF measurements are performed in non-signaling mode to save time. Rohde & Schwarz has optimized the R&S CMP180 radio communication tester for this purpose. The instrument supports many cellular and non-cellular technologies including Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 and 5G NR FR1 up to 8 GHz in frequency with bandwidths up to 500 MHz. Leveraging the wide bandwidth, the R&S CMP180 will demonstrate at MWC its ability to verify a WLAN waveform with 480 MHz bandwidth in loopback mode, a potential waveform candidate for the yet-to-be-defined Wi-Fi 8 (IEEE 802.11bn) standard. This feature shows that the cost-effective instrument is future-proof for users not only in production, but also in R&D.
Two analyzers, two generators and two sets of eight RF ports are integrated in the R&S CMP180 to support 2×2 MIMO testing in a single box. Two R&S CMP180 instruments can be combined and scaled to support four analyzers and generators for efficient testing of 4×4 MIMO access points.
Rohde & Schwarz will present its comprehensive test solutions for next-generation WLAN at the Mobile World Congress 2024 at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona in hall 5, booth 5A80.