Gabriel Chiriacescu
Director, Product Management

5G-The Wireless Revolution

March 10, 2017 by Gabriel Chiriacescu

The upcoming fifth generation of wireless networks, also known as “5G”, promises to be a game changer. But, as opposed to the current generation (4G or Long Term Evolution - LTE), 5G is not only targeted to drastically improve the end-user experience. 5G is as much about the connected devices forming the well-talked-about Internet of Things (IoT) as it is about the individual consumer.

By far, the biggest challenge the industry has is coping with the billions of Internet-connected devices of the future. These devices range from your toaster or fridge in your smart-home, to the parking meters and water sensors in the smart-city, to the connected, self-driving cars on the roads. The huge variety and different needs each type of device has are imposing significant changes to the way wireless networks work - this creates the 5G revolution. There are many more drivers for 5G, extreme-high-definition video, augmented and virtual reality, public safety applications, and the sunset of traditional PSTN services.

Based on these drivers, here are a few key expectations placed on the next-generation of wireless networks:

1. Drastic decreases in latency (1ms on radio, <5ms end to end) and massive improvements in throughput (gigabit speeds per subscriber)

2. Drastic increases in density - one million devices per square kilometer

3. Support for higher speed mobility - up to 500Km/h

4. Drastic decreases of energy consumption for terminals (for IoT devices, surviving up to 10 years on a couple of AA batteries)

5. Improvements to geolocation accuracy - less than 1 meter

6. Increases in network flexibility with more automation and programmability

7. And last, but not least, reducing OPEX costs to one fifth of today's numbers

Today, service providers and network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) are working hard to enable the 5G revolution. The specifications for new radio technologies to be used (like millimeter wave and others) are still under development, but the industry as a whole is committed to 5G, globally.

Ixia is enabling the industry for a smooth transition, arming our customers with best-in-class wireless test solutions that validate the quality of experience of wireless services at massive scale. For this, we have recently launched XAir2, a new hardware platform for massive scale cellular subscriber emulation and radio access network testing.

Combined with our PerfectStorm high-scale, modular application and security test platform and a new, more scalable XAir2 radio head, we offer the world’s most scalable Uu test solution.


XAir2 Key Features

  • Support for advanced carrier aggregation, with up to four carriers
  • Multiple 10GE traffic generation ports to help model per-subscriber throughput growth
  • Support for unlicensed spectrum usage with technologies like LTE-U and LAA
  • 400 - 5900MHz frequency range
  • Powerful and extensible with technologies like Cellular IoT (NB-IoT, Cat1M)

Powered by IxLoad-Wireless, Ixia’s wireless test solution is the only converged scale test solution in the market. It allows service providers and NEMs to test the cellular networks of today and the future, from end-to-end or in isolation, to measure subscriber quality of experience.