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5G Testing Challenges: EXFO solutions for top 5 in 5G networks

The transition to 5G networks is already under way in some geographies, with worldwide adoption anticipated in 2020 and beyond. The promise of 5G is not only to enable faster, more efficient communications – as with previous generations of mobile technology – but perhaps even more importantly, to connect massive numbers of machines to machines and in due course to support ultra-reliable, low-latency applications.

With everything from autonomous vehicles and industrial machinery to home appliances potentially connecting to the network, the need for top network performance and service reliability is critical for service providers globally. Delivering on the 5G promise requires addressing key transport and fiber-optic infrastructure challenges, and EXFO has anticipated those requirements. EXFO has developed future-proof, automated test solutions to help service providers accelerate large-scale deployment of critical 5G infrastructure.

Challenge #1: How to take testing from development to deployment

EXFO’s unified test portfolio enables seamless transition from lab-to-live applications to support 5G installation. Service providers benefit from technology flow-through, so the same GUI and test methodologies are applicable and portable from the lab to the field, eliminating the need for technician training and ensuring smooth First Office Applications (FOAs) and widespread 5G network deployments. By streamlining the lab to deployment process, service providers experience faster 5G network installation and accelerate their time-to-revenue.

Challenge #2: How to ensure accuracy in 5G testing

Preparing for 5G means having a solid fiber foundation in place to deliver on expected performance gains. As a result, service providers are investing heavily in building out and improving their fiber infrastructure – from the core to the edge. And when critical measurements are needed to validate the fiber network such as total link loss and ORL, service providers turn to EXFO. As the #1 provider of fiber optic test solutions globally, EXFO offers the most accurate, automated test and analysis backed with reliable support. EXFO's comprehensive portfolio of 5G test and measurement solutions detect and locate otherwise invisible impairments that can impact stringent 5G performance standards.

Challenge #3: How to future-proof investment

Service providers are faced with supporting existing network requirements while transitioning to evolving technologies that enable faster rates and more demanding services. Without proper planning, capital expenditures can quickly erode bottom line profitability. EXFO has the optimum solution to overcome 5G testing challenges now and in the future.

EXFO’s 5G test solution – the FTB 5GPro – is designed to streamline field operations when installing, activating and troubleshooting 4G/LTE and 5G fiber-based infrastructure, empowering technicians to efficiently validate fronthaul and backhaul networks.

Along with advanced capabilities including Fiber link characterization, Fiber connector inspection, CPRI/eCPRI protocol validation and much more, the test solution offers the unique Open Transceiver System (OTS) that supports multiple transceiver types simultaneously and is designed to handle both current and upcoming high-speed transceiver technologies as they are developed and launched. Modules can be swapped out in the field, the lab, or on the production floor and can accommodate varied speeds and feeds from 100M to 100G. Major savings are achieved by using the evolutionary OTS design to extend the life of test equipment.

Challenge #4: How to achieve operational efficiency with automation

Operational efficiency relies on ensuring the job is done well the first time. EXFO’s easy-to-use solutions automate testing, instantly interpreting results and accelerating outcomes so that every technician can be an expert. This becomes even more critical in 5G networks that will support 10 times the number of cell sites and with fiber deployed more densely and deeper into the network.

From a management perspective, EXFO’s solutions automate job management, providing visibility to field force and contractors’ assignments, progress, results, and success factors to give operations teams a competitive advantage.

Service providers can also take advantage of EXFO’s support services, eliminating the need to expand their internal resources to maintain evolving 5G networks.

Challenge #5: How to choose a trusted partner

With over 30 years of experience collaborating with service providers around the world, EXFO understands the 5G testing challenges facing operators today. EXFO’s unique blend of intelligent hardware, software and fit-for-purpose solutions enables our customers’ network transformations related to fiber, 5G, virtualization and big data analytics.