January 16, 2024

Performance assessments and benchmarking of 5G networks: A new solution to overcome current challenges

Network Optimisation and Benchmarking

5G networks promise a revolution in connectivity, bringing users unparalleled speed, reliability, and ultra-low latency. 5G promises to enable new applications, such as connected devices (IoT), smart factories, augmented reality, edge computing, and remote surgery. New benchmarking approaches to assess the QoS and QoE of live mobile networks and in the lab will be required.

Unfortunately, traditional methods for benchmarking simply don’t cut it when it comes to benchmarking 5G networks. The reason? 5G is different from 4G as a form of technology and from a use-case perspective. Here are just some considerations:

  • Higher performance levels: Benchmarks for 5G include evaluating much higher data speeds, enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), and ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC).
  • Denser network infrastructure: 5G uses a denser network of small cells, along with traditional macro cells. This, coupled with beamforming and mmWave frequencies, leads to new testing challenges and scenarios.
  • Network slicing: New benchmarking assessments must take into account network slicing in 5G networks: a single physical network can be divided into many virtual networks to be optimized for a specific type of application or service.
  • Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS): 5G introduces the concept of DSS on a massive scale, enabling 4G and 5G to coexist in the same frequency band. Next-generation benchmarking tools will have to identify how efficiently the spectrum is shared and the impact on the user experience (UE).
  • Application-specific benchmarking: 5G is paving the gateway to innovative use cases, as mentioned before. Specialized benchmarking will be needed to evaluate a network’s performance based on the unique requirements of each application.

Keysight Technologies’ Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution: A game-changer for next-generation network benchmarking and optimization

Designed to be innovative, modular, and scalable, Nemo is a robust and reliable distributed measurement solution tailored for both field and lab settings. 

It can: 

  • Collect 100% air interface data without comp
  • Accurately measure end-user QoE and QoS in real time during field tests to proactively and effectively identify issues
  • Automatically test over-the-top (OTT) and social media applications with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation)
  • Capture comprehensive measurements and get support for up to 60 test devices and two network scanners
  • Automatically generate reports based on key performance indicators (KPIs) and network performance scores (NPSs)

The Nemo solution offers tangible benefits, from saving valuable drive test time in multi-band, multi-technology radio access networks to testing real OTT services instead of just basic data throughput tests. Furthermore, the solution’s compatibility with Nemo Cloud enhances efficiency and manpower usage. This leads to cost savings and reduced project production times.

The difference between the Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution and other products

What makes the Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution different from other products on the market? While there are other benchmarking tools, what sets Nemo apart is its automation capabilities. Traditional systems often utilize a chassis-based structure, making it cumbersome to support multiple devices. Nemo overcomes this by leveraging automation, setting a new standard in network benchmarking.

Another key differentiator is that Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution incorporates commercial devices. It doesn’t require customized firmware that can add multiple layers of compatibility, interoperability, maintenance, and troubleshooting issues.

The advantages of using Nemo’s solution are clear:

  • Enhanced data flow, offering a superior understanding of networks, facilitating diagnostics and repair
  • A notable reduction in the need for customized hardware and software, leading to decreased acquisition and maintenance costs
  • The flexibility to introduce or change devices as needed
  • Quick adaptation to new technologies and bands
  • The ability to test multiple bands and operators through NUC and NDM devices and without customized firmware

Novapex’s expertise with the Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution

Novapex was the first in North America to implement the Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution for a customer that placed the UE as its top service priority. The company faced a considerable challenge of scattered spectrums and a variety of commercial devices that could not be flashed with test firmware. Thanks to the Nemo system, Novapex successfully fulfilled the customer’s needs for data/voice performance assurance and completed the 5G base station acceptance mandate in a short timeframe. Moreover, Novapex has the knowledge for auto-testing with Nemo Eggplant and Nemo Analyze, which can create the right synergy for the best output.

The future of network benchmarking

Novapex envisions a future where automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence will play integral parts in data measurement, thanks to Nemo Cloud and Nemo Analyze. The network benchmarking process will inevitably evolve. The growing number of bands will necessitate even more devices for drive tests, emphasizing the need for an even higher level of system stability. 

In conclusion, as the 5G revolution unfolds, having a reliable partner like Novapex, armed with cutting-edge tools like the Nemo Network Benchmarking Solution, will be the key to success. Interested in learning more about how Novapex can help your 5G rollout and performance assessments? Contact us today.