Network Engineering

Network engineering

Verify new technologies and services in the lab

The capabilities of new technologies, such as 5G NR, NB-IoT or LTE-M, new features and services must be first verified in a lab environment under special network conditions. The testing is done in an isolated network environment using user equipment (UE) simulators or precommercial devices connected to the complete radio access and the core network. Although such lab setups do not accurately reflect real network environments, they do allow the verification of fundamental functions and objectives, including:

  • Radio connection setup and release procedures
  • User authentication and subscriber profile management
  • Provision of end-to-end user services
  • Radio link allocation and utilization
  • Data bearer performance

The results are essential factors for network planning decision-making. It is crucial to have a test tool that can connect and control existing and, even more importantly, precommercial mobile devices since the technologies or services under test might not yet be available commercially.

Tools for network engineering should be able to trace the RF interface and run application layer service tests to collect essential key performance indicators (KPI). It is required that the tool support both classic modem and network adapter connection methods as well as smartphone tethering.

Early field trials

After the successful implementation in the lab, a geographically limited field trial is conducted to test performance in a real network environment. There, it is possible to verify the essential link budget parameters that are related to the transmitting and receiving side of the equipment and include sensitivity, transmit power and path loss. Early field trials enable mobile operators to collect accurate RF coverage information that can be used to trim the propagation models applied in the planning tools.

The smart platform

The modular Smart platform offers particular testing components for network engineering in the lab and early field trials. These components can be easily configured for specific use cases and effectively tailored to meet customer needs. For more information, please refer to the product pages below or contact our sales experts via the contact form.

Products for network engineering

R&S®ROMES4

Universal network engineering software platform

Product information

R&S®TSMx

Network scanner family for drive and walk tests

Product information

Expertise in network engineering

NB-IoT network testing

You might think that the narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is just another standard add-on to LTE. When looking at NB-IoT from an optimization point of view, however, it is clear that networks for IoT applications pose a completely new coverage challenge.

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NB-IoT network insights through MIB/SIB demodulation

Since the launch of the scanner-based solution from Rohde & Schwarz for NB-IoT coverage measurements in 2017, thousands of kilometers have been driven and walked to collect and analyze data from all available operators and cells in an NB-IoT network. Many field engineers shared their experiences and provided valuable feedback. This post summarizes the latest key requirements and how Rohde & Schwarz answered these.

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