First RedCap device emulation boosts 5G IoT commercialisation

04-08-2023 | Viavi Solutions | Test & Measurement

Viavi Solutions Inc has launched the industry's first RedCap device emulation for 5G network testing, enabling true performance validation for IoT and private networks based on a new class of simpler, lower-cost devices, including wearables, industrial wireless sensors and video surveillance. This solution is based on the TM500 network test platform that most network equipment manufacturers employ for base station performance testing.

3GPP introduced RedCap devices, also known as Broadband IoT or NR-Light, in 5G NR Release 17. These mid-tier IoT devices have average speed and latency needs in between high-end use cases like URLLC and lower-end LPWA applications. In so doing, it formalised support for devices being deployed at the network edge for IoT and Industry 4.0 applications.

With early validation efforts focused on conformance and network emulation, the company has filled a notable gap with the availability of RedCap device emulation. Based on the widely accepted User Equipment emulation capabilities of the TM500, RedCap device emulation allows equipment manufacturers to create realistic scenarios of thousands of such devices carrying traffic.

With the upgraded TM500, RedCap device testing can seamlessly integrate into the existing test environment. The platform can simulate RedCap-like traffic patterns, generate RedCap-specific signalling, and evaluate the network's performance for RedCap use cases.

One of the key advantages of using existing integrated solutions like TM500 for RedCap testing is the capability to reuse the well-established, embedded, per-device fading channel models. Fading channels emulate real-world wireless propagation conditions, including multipath propagation and signal fading, which are vital for testing the performance and reliability of a live network environment. The device, combined with fading channel models, provides for accurate simulation of different scenarios and helps assess the performance of RedCap devices in challenging propagation conditions.

"5G deployment may be stabilising globally, but industrial and private networks are just getting started," said Ian Langley, senior vice president, Wireless Business Unit, VIAVI. "RedCap specifications provide the missing link for the class of devices used in such applications, so equipment manufacturers and operators can pursue development and deployment with confidence. The TM500 adds essential validation capabilities with device emulation, further accelerating RedCap adoption."

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By Seb Springall