Five major testing challenges for broadband 5G equipment

Infineon / Mitsubishi / Fuji / Semikron / Eupec / IXYS

Five major testing challenges for broadband 5G equipment

Posted Date: 2024-01-12

Design engineers and test engineers of broadband 5G equipment need fast, accurate, and cost-effective test solutions to ensure Reliability of new chip designs. Learn about the top test challenges and solutions for broadband 5G IC testing.

1. Waveforms become wider and more complex.

The 5G new air interface contains two different waveforms:

Downstream cyclic prefix OFDM (CP-OFDM) and upstream CP-OFDM

Uplink Discrete Fourier Transform Spread Spectrum Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (DFT-S-OFDM); this waveform is consistent with LTE’s single Similar to Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access System (SC-FDMA)

Researchers and engineers face new challenges in creating, distributing, and generating 5G waveforms when testing 5G devices. Engineers need to handle highly complex, standards-compliant uplink and downlink signals that are The bandwidth is much greater than previous signals. They need to allocate various resources; modulate and encode signals; demodulate and detect information and perform phase tracking; conduct single-carrier and continuous and non-contiguous carrier aggregation configurations.

Choose 5G standards-compliant tools to generate and analyze the required waveforms, and share them between different test benches to fully Analyze the characteristics of the DUT.

2. The instrument must be broadband and linear, and must cover a wide frequency range cost-effectively.

RF engineers have been researching millimeter-wave test systems specifically for use in industries such as aerospace and military, but these systems are extremely expensive. There is currently no suitable millimeter wave test system for the mass-market semiconductor industry. Engineers need cost-effective test equipment to configure more test benches to reduce time to market. These new test benches must be able to support high linearity; provide high amplitude and phase accuracy over high bandwidth; have low phase noise; support for a wide frequency range to support multi-band devices; and the ability to test devices for coexistence with other wireless standards. In addition to powerful hardware, modular software-based test and measurement benches must be able to quickly adapt to new test needs .

Invest in a broadband test platform that can evaluate performance in existing and new frequency bands. Choose instruments that can coexist with current standards and adapt to future changes.

3. Component characterization analysis and verification require more testing.

Processing wide signals below 6 GHz as well as signals at millimeter wave frequencies requires analyzing and validating the performance of RF communications components. Engineers go beyond testing innovative multi-band power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers, duplexers, mixers, and filter designs , and ensure that the new and improved RF signal chain can support simultaneous operation of 4G and 5G technologies. In addition, in order to avoid large losses during propagation, millimeter wave 5G test systems also require beamforming subsystems and antenna arrays, which A fast and reliable multi-port test solution is needed.

Ensure your test system can handle multi-band and multi-channel 5G devices for beamformers, FEMs, and transceivers needs.

4. Wireless testing of massive MIMO and beamforming systems makes traditional measurements highly dependent on space.

When engineers test 5G beamforming equipment, they are faced with analyzing transmit and receive paths and optimizing receive and transmit antenna reciprocity Sexual challenges. For example, when the transmit power amplifier enters the compression region, it will produce amplitude and phase distortion and other thermal effects, and the LNA in the receive path These phenomena will not occur. In addition, tolerances in phase shifters, variable attenuators, gain control amplifiers, and other components can cause phase shifts between channels are not the same, thus affecting the expected directivity pattern. Measuring these effects requires over-the-air (OTA) test technology, which makes traditional measurements such as TxP, EVM, ACLR, and sensitivity The spatial dependence is very high.

OTA test technology enables RF measurements while controlling motion quickly and accurately, so you can accurately Analyze the characteristics of 5G beamforming systems.

5. Mass production testing requires test systems that can be expanded quickly and efficiently.

The growing demand for new 5G applications and vertical industries requires manufacturers to produce exponentially more 5G components and equipment each year ​Increase. The challenge for manufacturers is to provide a quick and easy way to calibrate multiple RF paths and antenna configurations for new devices and improve The test speed of OTA solutions to ensure reliability and repeatability of manufacturing test results. However, for the mass production of RFIC, the traditional RF chamber will occupy most of the production plant space, making it impossible to accommodate other processes in the plant. The equipment required causes disruption to the material handling process, which can significantly increase capital expenditures. To solve these problems, OTA-enabled IC sockets (small RF enclosures with integrated antennas) have been introduced on the market, and these products have significantly Reduces the floor space required for semiconductor OTA testing.

Choose an ATE platform that extends experimental 5G instrumentation to the production floor, simplifying data transfer between characterization and production test association.

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