Protocol tester adds test scenarios for LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation

February 07, 2013 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
As network operators around the world roll out their LTE networks, the next generation – LTE-Advanced – promises even faster mobile Internet connectivity thanks to carrier aggregation. By providing an appropriate test solution, Rohde & Schwarz is helping developers of chipsets and wireless devices that support LTE-Advanced move their products to market faster.

The company's CMW500 wideband radio communication tester adds software options for LTE-Advanced downlink carrier aggregation. Carrier aggregation allows network operators to create flexible combinations of frequency bands of different bandwidths and make even better use of the spectrum. In the downlink, wireless devices in an LTE-Advanced network are connected with two cells simultaneously. As a result, an extremely high data rate of up to 300 Mbps in the downlink has been achieved in the initial rollout phase of LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation with 40 MHz total bandwidth. Current LTE networks have a maximum bandwidth of 20 MHz.

The CMW500 makes it possible for the developers of chipsets used in tomorrow's wireless devices to carry out the tests defined in LTE-Advanced Release 10. These include verification tests on the physical layer and the protocol stack as well as throughput tests. Any potential scenario a network operator might need to test can be configured in the lab. All combinations of defined bands and bandwidths for LTE-Advanced can be tested with two downlink carriers, including MIMO 2x2 and 4x2.

The CMW500 emulates the two cells used in an LTE-Advanced network. By combining two CMW500s, it is also possible to test the handover within LTE-Advanced networks. This way, developers can verify the behavior of wireless devices in an LTE Release 10 network with continuous coverage via downlink carrier aggregation. The solution is aimed not only at chipset makers but also helps developers of wireless devices integrate chipsets supporting LTE-Advanced into their products. This allows network operators to perform acceptance tests for wireless devices.

Developers who are already using the CMW500 multistandard test platform as a protocol tester for LTE and WCDMA Releases 8 and 9 equipment, can easily upgrade their instrument to include LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation. The instrument also supports earlier digital wireless communications standards such as GSM and WCDMA, making it ideal for InterRAT handover simulations.