Keysight Technologies said this week that Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten will be using Keysight’s test equipment in support of its Rakuten Mobile network launch.

Rakuten Mobile, which just began offering its low-cost data service to consumers last week, will be using Keysight’s 5G network and channel emulation offerings to test, validate and optimize both infrastructure and devices as it introduces 5G services, according to the test company. That includes Keysight’s 5G device benchmarking toolset for end-to-end, over-the-air testing of 5G devices and infrastructure, and its set of Global Certification Forum-validated test cases related to 5G, including protocol and radio frequency testing.

Rakuten Mobile is initially launching a single unlimited plan with free service over the first 12 months for 3 million customers and has said that it plans to cover all of Japan by next spring. The company is building a 5G-ready network that is fully virtualized. Keysight said that its 5G solutions were selected “to improve the efficiency in their test and validation processes, [which is]critical to the delivery of high-performance end-user-experiences that align with market timelines.”

“Collaborations that support breakthrough technology are at the core of enabling ecosystems to accelerate innovation,” said Satish Dhanasekaran, senior vice president and president for Keysight’s communications solutions group.

In other test news:

-Test equipment and sensor company MTS announced a series of measures it is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including suspending financial guidance and dividends and cost-cutting measures that include job cuts as well as 15-20% pay cuts for its board of directors, CEO and other senior executives.

MTS said that it will be cutting jobs in its global workforce as part of a “global restructuring effort in our Test & Simulation business unit,” which will include a reorganization of its European operations. The company said that there will be an across-the-board reduction in all discretionary spending and capital expenditures. It estimates the restructuring costs will be between $7 million-$11 million in 2020 and 2021, of which about $6 million was incurred in the second quarter. MTS will release its second quarter results the first week of May.

Still, the company said that it is seeing strong second-quarter orders resulting in a “near-record backlog” and says that the post-pandemic outlook for the company is positive.

“The effects of COVID-19 on our Company have been similar to those experienced by many other diversified global industrial companies,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO of MTS, in a statement. “Increasingly as the quarter progressed, we saw our customers being required to temporarily shut down, our logistics being delayed as many governments limit cross-border access, and of course our own employees around the world having their lives dramatically altered through either the direct effects of COVID-19 on their health or that of loved ones, or in other disruptions to their day-to-day lives. These effects increased throughout the quarter and remain with us today.”

He went on to add that “through extreme diligence, we have stayed ahead of this evolving crisis, maintaining a safe work environment and, as the necessity has arisen in each of our global locations, enabled our employees to work remotely to help ensure their safety during peak crisis periods, while maintaining business continuity and meeting our customer commitments. … Considering the scale of the pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis it has created, we were very encouraged by the resiliency of both our Test & Simulation and Sensor markets. Throughout this difficult period, our customers have demonstrated both their financial strength and their long-term commitment to new product development by placing record orders in both of our business units. This is a testament to our increasingly diverse customer base, our geographic footprint and scale for both of our business units.”

Rohde & Schwarz said that it cooperated with equipment manufacturer TE Connectivity on testing automotive Ethernet cables and connectors, leading to a successful test of a communication link that used Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) cables and the MATEnet data connector systems from TE. The test company noted that in order to address electromagnetic interference issues at higher speeds, the One-Pair Ethernet (OPEN) Alliance’s Technical Committee group 9, which defines the requirements of cables and connectors for in-vehicle networks using automotive Ethernet, is now “focusing on shielded cabling in order to minimize emissions as the industry moves towards much faster speeds.” The test conducted with TE Connectivity validated the company’s STP cables for compliance with the OPEN Alliance TC9 specifications for data speeds up to 1 Gbps (1000BASE-T1).

Anritsu and Emite put together a combined solution for testing 802.11ax, integrating Anritsu’s Wireless

A photo of the integrated Anritsu/Emite reverberation chamber test 802.11ax solution. Image: Anritsu

Connectivity Test Set MT8862A with Emite’s E600 reverberation chamber for testing over-the-air device performance. The two companies said that the integrated products “has been able to successfully measure

total radiated power (TRP) and total isotropic sensitivity (TIS) OTA performance indicators in IEEE 802.11ax devices.” Lorenzo J. Martínez-Moya Scharpf, CFO of EMITE, said that the company is “already in contact with some of the most important companies worldwide who have shown interest on this solution for their TI efficiency, saving costs in advance of any investment.”

National Instruments recently announced an upgrade to its 5G NR Test UE offering that supports Standalone 5G, which the company noted is the first major software upgrade for the solution since its launch last spring. NI said the 5G NR Test UE offering enables users to evaluate performance, conformance to the standard, and interoperability for both SA and NonStandalone 5G systems.

NI has been collaborating with fellow test company Spirent Communications on end-to-end 5G testing capabilities.

“Last year brought worldwide 5G NSA deployments, but meaningful revenues were elusive,” said Clarke Ryan, senior director of product development at Spirent. “Where 5G development is well underway, there’s a rush globally to move past NSA to SA 5G rollouts to capture revenues in industries like manufacturing, automotive, mobile gaming, and beyond.”

“The early 5G sub-6 GHz rollouts are a significant step toward realizing the benefits of 5G, but the faster data rates, higher reliability, and lower latency of SA 5G will deliver the promised transformational impact for enterprises and consumers. As we see the strain our current situation has put on our existing networks, implementing SA 5G is more important now than ever before,” said James Kimery, director of marketing, wireless research at NI. “This exciting and important work presents significant design and test challenges that require powerful tools. At NI, we’re committed to connecting designers and test engineers to the most advanced test solutions to ensure reliability and accelerate innovation even in times of tremendous challenge.”





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