Test and Measurement: Last year saw a 350% increase in cities with 5G, Viavi says

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More than 1,330 cities around the world now have 5G networks, according to a new report from Viavi Solutions — a 350% increase over the past year, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 30% of countries now have 5G availability, the test company concluded in its fifth annual report on the state of 5G.

Among the findings:

-61 countries have 5G networks, with 27 countries adding commercial 5G deployments during 2020.

-The countries which have the most cities with 5G are China (341 cities), the United States (279 cities) and South Korea (85 cities). Viavi said that in China, the number of 5G cities grew 6x in one year while the number of 5G cities in the U.S. increased by 5x during the same period.

-Regionally, Asia Pacific has 528 cities with 5G, and Europe is in second place with 459 cities. The Americas region is third, with 349 cities.

An additional 27 countries added commercial 5G deployments last year, including three countries that have already reached the top ten in terms of cities covered — Canada with 49 cities, as well as France and Thailand tied at 24. From a regional perspective, Asia has taken the lead with 528 cities; EMEA is now in second place with 459 cities; and the Americas region remains in third place with 5G available across 349 cities.

In other test news:

Anritsu has joined the Open RAN Alliance and says that it “expects to play a key role in the organization, centered on wireless evaluation and interoperability testing for O-RAN Radio Unit and Distributed Unit based on the defined fronthaul specifications.”

The test company also said this week that, working with Qualcomm, it has verified Evolved Packet System Fallback for 5G New Radio using its  ME7834NR 5G NR mobile device test platform.

Additionally, it announced a new, joint PCI Express 5.0 automated test solution with Tektronix that combines Anritsu’s Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A Bit Error Rate Tester (BERT) series with Tektronix’s DPO70000SX series 70 GHz Real-time Oscilloscope and automation software. Anritsu said that the system supports tests of PCIe 5.0 electrical characteristics, physical-layer protocol analysis and transmitter/receiver and Link Equalization Training (LEQ) tests to enable development of high-speed integrated circuits, devices and networks used in emerging environments — including 5G.

PCTel reported its quarterly and full-year 2020 earnings, to the tune of $21.2 million in revenues for the fourth quarter and $77.5 million for the year. Quarterly revenues were down 7.5% year-over-year and full-year revenues were down 14.5% from 2019.

In terms of segments, PCTel’s test and measurement product revenues were up 9.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, while antenna revenues were down 15.2% year-over-year. Test revenues were off 2% compared to the full year of 2019, while antenna product revenues were down more than 19% for the year.

Net income for the fourth quarter improved year-over-year from $1.8 million to $1.85 million; for the full year, profits were down slightly from $3.75 million to $3.4 million.

“We’re pleased with the strong performance for both our antenna and scanning receiver product lines in the fourth quarter. We saw improvements in revenue and earnings in the second half of the year and incoming orders were at the highest level since the second quarter of 2019,” said David Neumann, PCTEL’s CEO, in a statement. “We expect demand to increase for our antennas, IoT devices and 5G solutions through the year as market conditions improve.”

Aurora Insights this week launched a new service called TowerLogix that uses various signal measurements as part of the underlying data that supports its recommendations for identifying high-priority zones for cellular tower builds. Aurora incorporates data from a network of specialized RF sensors (both terrestrial and as of recently, in space) to detect signal quality, signal power and calculate interference (including signal-to-noise ratio) as well as other factors such as fiber proximity and real estate costs, in its calculations for the high-priority zones. It says that the first site it has identified as such a location is ten miles north of Philadelphia’s city center, but that it has identified thousands of priority tower sites.  

Keysight Technologies has laid claim to being the first to have conformance test cases for Voice over New Radio approved by the Global Certification Forum.

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