The evolution of fifth-generation technology is driving innovations in every sector. Different technologies in 5G mobile systems are being used when compared to legacy networks such as 3G and 4G LTE. It includes both wireless and wired technologies giving rise to several new use cases aimed at significantly improving efficiency of businesses; upgrade standards of living and working. The 5G mobile technology is finally on the road to deployment with operators constantly working towards it to turn into reality and expand its reach to users across the globe. Before commercialising, operators need to perform network testing with 5G speed tests & 5G network testing equipment and tools to assess 5G performance. There are multiple kinds of tests such as throughput tests, call tests, signal coverage, other KPIs to check how is the network performing and how strong is the signal for making calls, sending and receiving information, stream videos and many more.
5G test assessments for better network coverage
- Pre-rollout trial phase: 5G New Radio (NR) network measurements should be taken while doing trials to get the insights of network performance of the newly built technology. In this way, operators can know about the uncertainties and overcome them before it is launched commercially.
- Commercialisation phase: During the rollout of the network, measurements for 5G NR verify network planning and installation of the site. For instance, determination of the planned cluster and coverage of the network will be successful or not.
- Network optimisation phase: These measurements done with the help of RF drive test tools enable verification of handover areas between sites, cell towers and beams. With this, they can also reduce the interference between cells at the same time and increase the network capacity.
- Troubleshooting network issues: 5G NR measurements give deeper insights into the potential problems in networks, for example, passive module interference (PIM) in base stations leading to low capacity, holes in the network, loss of signals, and many more.
- Comparison of 5G data: 5G NR network performance data will also support campaigns for benchmarking where various operators’ measurement data can be compared to get significant insights and take actions to improve networks.
How can 5G network be accessed?
Still scarcely available, 5G-enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops are being commercialised to a wider range of people looking to avail 5G services. For example, Verizon users having a 5G smartphone or a 5G moto mod compatible with Motorola can access the 5G Ultra-Wideband network via selecting unlimited plans. Further, Verizon Wireless is supported on most of the 5G devices manufactured by a wide variety of leading manufacturers comprising Pixel, iPhone, Galaxy – to name a few. Users can also be enabled with 5G Internet services on their laptops, tablets with a 5G Jetpack on Verizon’s Unlimited Plus Plan.
Compared average 5G vs 4G download speed
It is to be noted that 5G’s performance is continuously changing as MNOs are still building their 5G networks and improving services. But, to give a clear picture of the 5G improvement over the years, looking at some of the mobile carriers delivering 5G speeds could be worthwhile.
There are several apps available in the market that can present the different 5G types – Standard 5G (also referred to as sub-6GHz 5G), 5G Plus (or 5G+), Industrial 5G (speeds mostly expected in industrial sectors/factories). According to research, in 2019, Sprint’s 5G network which utilises a spectrum of mid-band range was slower than Verizon’s 5G network but was considered more reliable and spread across a larger geographical area. Currently, Sprint has become a part of T-Mobile and the latter is using Sprint’s spectrum to support the speed and enhance the nationwide coverage. AT&T, a leading telecom MNC is also facilitating 5G services by leveraging mmWave and calls it as 5G+ or 5G Plus serviced to around 38 cities and 20 venues. In July 2021, AT&T made its 5G network available for more than 200 million people six months ahead of the targeted deadline.
With 5G being deployed in most of the parts of the world, it is important to test 5G whether the new generation of network is giving expected network connectivity or not. Operators are devising different strategies to deploy and test 5G before making it available to users and providing 24/7 seamless network connection without interruption. Network testing tools such as RF drive test tools are being used to get accurate network measurements and make significant changes if required to deliver better Quality of Experience (QoE) to enterprise customers and common users.