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5G testing

Helping you build and deploy a rock-solid, scalable fiber-based 5G network able to support new and emerging services


More complex networks: coexistence of 4G and 5G means a mix of RAN architectures that must be served by a scalable, converged mobile transport network able to support new and existing fronthaul technologies, such as CPRI, OBSAI, eCPRI, NGFI.
Transitioning to 5G infrastructure: assuring all links meet stringent 5G performance standards including: ultra-low latency, ultra-high capacity and reliability, timing and synchronization.
Network densification for more capacity and coverage: massive small cell deployments necessary to support 5G networks requires more fiber in more places leading to the potential for more issues.
Fiber convergence: existing fiber infrastructures are leveraged as a critical path to 5G. These aging fiber networks must now support a various mix of optical technologies (P2P, PON, DWDM).
New technologies and equipment: introducing new technologies adds to the complexity on what and how to test, leading to inefficient and costly processes, unreliable results and delayed delivery of 5G services.
Training technicians and engineers to do more: with an increase in new technologies, field operations teams will need to cover significantly more cell sites.
Lack of visibility into field test results: inefficient, error-prone manual processes will impact the enormous 5G infrastructure investments and take their toll on 5G revenues.


5G testing practices stretch from lab to live

5G networks call for more data, even lower latency and extreme reliability

Whether to deliver truly immersive virtual reality, enable mission-critical communications, or support IoT devices, networks need to become faster, smarter and able to handle more in every way. What the primary 5G deployment use cases identified by 3GPP–eMBB, URLLC and mMTC–have in common are the need for higher data rates, stricter latency requirements and extreme reliability. How they differ is the performance level required for each of those network attributes, as dictated by the services that each of the three 5G use cases enable. Building a scalable, high-performing and efficient network will be necessary in order to bring 5G innovations to life and quickly monetize their resulting services. 

As the journey to deliver the full promise of 5G begins, EXFO has been supporting forward-thinking network operators and equipment vendors worldwide in their 5G trials and deployments through customized insights, methodologies and tools.

5G testing - Girl in lab

5G optical transport equipment validation in the lab

One of the biggest challenges facing NEMs and operators as they prepare for 5G is the need to validate new types of ubiquitous fronthaul transport equipment capable of transporting a mix of technologies, such as Ethernet, eCPRI, CPRI and OBSAI. Assessing fronthaul transport equipment reliability, ensuring selected equipment meets 5G latency requirements and confirming equipment and transceiver compatibility against multiple protocols within a lab environment will make sure networks are robust enough to deal with the complexity of 5G networks.

The path to 5G networks is fortified with fiber

To reap the benefits of 5G, mobile networks will need to become denser. More antennae and massive small cell deployments will be required to support reduced latency, higher speeds, more capacity and better coverage in highly populated areas where there will be a huge increase in connected devices. Ultimately, the quality and reliability of these mobile networks will depend on a robust fiber backbone—from metro to core—carrying traffic to and from 5G small cells. More fiber deeper into the network means the potential for more problems, causing 5G service degradation and disruption, and SLA disputes. The 5G ecosystem goals of dramatically increased throughput and dramatically reduced end-to-end latency will mean an increase in OPEX to test, turn up and maintain all that new fiber—while continuing to improve what is already in place.

5G requires new spectrum bands and advanced technologies

Mobile network operators need to support and maintain new 5G deployments as well as existing 4G/LTE installations. At the same time, cell densification and emerging 5G innovations, including beamforming and massive MIMO together with new mmWave spectrum and CBRS/C-bands, are making the RF environment complex to navigate for operators and field technicians. All this results in significant new operational challenges and the need for different, innovative test processes. In addition, as standards evolve to higher frequencies and wider bandwidths, operators will require test solutions that are able to scale and adapt as their networks change.

Transport network resources tightly linked

Whatever the level of speed, latency or throughput demanded, the transport network is the bedrock upon which 5G is being built as it powers the movement of all that data across fiber optic connections. All the new 5G requirements coming into play will have a direct impact on the transport network. From the core to the radio unit, a 5G network demands a tight link between all transport network resources—even more than in previous generations of network technology. Expectations are high that this unprecedented transformation of the transport network be done right and implementing comprehensive 5G transport testing practices will be paramount to achieving overall 5G deployment success.  

Achieving operational efficiency with field test automation

Operational efficiency relies on ensuring the job is done right the first time. This becomes even more critical in 5G networks that support massive small cell deployments and fiber deployed more densely and deeper into the network. This 5G-fueled evolution will bring unprecedented network complexity with 20x the number of cell sites deployed and require increased deployment speeds. An efficient and automated test workflow process will give operations teams a competitive advantage by driving team efficiency, ensuring compliance for first-time right results and accelerating time-to-revenue.

The smarter way to test.

EXFO’s FTB 5GPro test solution drives operational excellence through testing best practices—from installation and activation to maintenance and troubleshooting of 5G networks.

Key benefits

The automation of easy-to-use, field-optimized test solutions coupled with instantly interpreted results delivers accelerated outcomes by making scarce expertise available to everyone—at any skill level.​ Using EXFO’s intelligent handheld test equipment takes the guesswork out of setup, execution and analysis, leading to high-quality networks, delivered on time and able to address any foreseeable service requirements.


5G fixed wireless access
Converged 5G xhaul transport
Small cells
Macro cell site
Dark fiber


All resources
A case study webinar: how a 5G provider improved KPIs and reduced costs - English (May 16, 2023)
Flyers and pamphlets
Quickly resolve issues, lower operating costs and improve 5G network performance - English (May 30, 2023)
Flyers and pamphlets
Quickly resolve issues, lower operating costs and improve 5G network performance - 中文 (May 30, 2023)
Flyers and pamphlets
Quickly resolve issues, lower operating costs and improve 5G network performance - Español (May 30, 2023)
Flyers and pamphlets
Quickly resolve issues, lower operating costs and improve 5G network performance - Français (May 30, 2023)
Promotional videos
Deploying fiber-to-the antenna: Tips from the top - English (May 18, 2023)
5G fronthaul network rollout – Why lab testing of eCPRI and CPRI is key - English (March 31, 2021)
Spec sheet
Timing and synchronization - English (December 22, 2023)
Spec sheet
Timing and synchronization - Français (December 22, 2023)
Spec sheet
Timing and synchronization - 中文 (December 22, 2023)
Spec sheet
Timing and synchronization - 日本語 (December 22, 2023)
White papers
C-band spectrum: how it's transforming 5G - English (July 04, 2022)
White papers
C-band spectrum: how it's transforming 5G - 中文 (July 04, 2022)
What’s in store for 5G transport networks: A look ahead into emerging technologies and new use cases - Part 1 - English (May 16, 2023)
What’s in store for 5G transport networks: A look ahead into emerging technologies and new use cases - Part 2 - English (May 16, 2023)
5G Testing Challenges: EXFO solutions for top 5 in 5G networks - English (November 04, 2019)
RF and 5G new radio: top 5 questions answered - English (March 16, 2021)