Viavi Solutions has launched the industry’s first reduced capability (RedCap) device emulation for 5G network testing, enabling true performance validation for the internet of things (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, used by the majority of network equipment manufacturers 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 requirements, in between high-end use cases like ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) and lower-end low-power wide-area (LPWA) applications. In so doing, 3GPP 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, VIAVI has filled a significant gap with the availability of RedCap device emulation. Based on the widely accepted user equipment (UE) emulation capabilities of the TM500, RedCap device emulation enables equipment manufacturers to create realistic scenarios of thousands of such devices carrying traffic.
With the upgraded TM500, RedCap device testing can be seamlessly integrated into the existing test environment. The platform provides the capability to 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 ability 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 crucial for testing the performance and reliability of a live network environment. The TM500, combined with fading channel models, allows for accurate simulation of different scenarios and helps assess the performance of RedCap devices in challenging propagation conditions.
Commenting on the launch, Ian Langley, senior vice president, wireless business unit, VIAVI, said, “5G deployment may be stabilizing globally, but industrial and private networks are just getting started. 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.”