Viavi Solutions, a prominent name in the technology industry, has announced a breakthrough in the realm of wireless communications with the introduction of base station and end-to-end testing capabilities tailored for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) and High Altitude Platforms (HAPs).
As wireless technologies increasingly collaborate with traditional terrestrial communication networks, satellite communications play a crucial role in offering comprehensive coverage. Viavi’s TM500 and TeraVM test platforms emerge as pioneers in validating the performance, reliability, and conformance of gNodeBs and complete networks, operating within the unique service link conditions characteristic of NTN and HAPs networks.
Enhancing Standards and Performance: With the formal inclusion of Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs) in 3GPP Release 17 specifications, the groundwork has been laid to bolster their performance and convergence with terrestrial telecom networks. These specifications aim to enhance the compatibility of NTNs with existing 5G mobile handsets and chipsets, ultimately leading to improved performance. A Viavi analysis predicts the proliferation of approximately 30,000 new satellites orbiting Earth, substantially amplifying the potential of NTNs to provide universal coverage.
The Complexity of Satellite Communication Testing: Satellite communication integration into the 5G ecosystem introduces a heightened level of complexity to testing procedures. The reliability of NTNs must withstand the challenges posed by satellite, High Altitude Platforms (HAPs), and User Equipment (UE) mobility and distances, while still delivering optimal performance. The unique test requirements encompass emulation of diverse UE mobility patterns, signal propagation delays, and accounting for the significant doppler shifts originating from swiftly moving satellites and airborne platforms.
Robust Testing Solutions: Viavi’s TM500 facilitates the emulation of a high volume of devices, novel mobility patterns, signal propagation delays, and other NTN-specific conditions to validate base stations before non-terrestrial deployment. On the other hand, TeraVM comes into play by emulating the core network. This comprehensive testing scenario proves invaluable for early functional tests such as 3GPP protocol testing. These tests are adaptable to both regenerative and transparent architectures. Further testing scenarios focus on end-to-end network optimization and validation of performance and reliability using a real core network.
Pioneering Reliability and Performance: Ian Langley, Senior Vice President of the Wireless Business Unit at Viavi, emphasized the significance of reliability and performance in the realm of NTN: “NTNs offer new opportunities and partnerships for mobile and satellite operators, and the exciting potential to offer connectivity to both underserved and over-populated areas as well as support mission-critical applications. However, amidst the growing interest and race to deploy these networks, it’s vital that reliability, stability, and performance testing are done to ensure success.”
Viavi Solutions’ commitment to advancing the performance and reliability of NTN and HAPs networks stands as a milestone in the evolution of wireless communication technologies, promising a more connected and capable future.