Aeroflex Limited has announced that the TM500 LTE Test Mobile is the first test mobile to emulate LTE Category 5 (Cat5) user equipment (UE), allowing operators to verify the operation of their networks and equipment vendors to prove the performance of their eNodeB (LTE base stations) at the higher data rates that are enabled by Cat5 handsets and terminals. The TM500 Test Mobile platform is already being used by all the world’s major infrastructure vendors and most femtocell vendors.
Cat5 is a classification for LTE UEs that provides enhanced data rates for both UL and DL. Using a 20 MHz bandwidth and FDD under good channel conditions, a data rate of 300 Mbps is available in the downlink, due to the addition of support for 4x4 MIMO. In the uplink the data rate is boosted to 75 Mbps by taking advantage of 64QAM modulation in addition to the earlier QPSK and 16QAM. Cat5 also introduces limited buffer rate matching in the DL, which confines the memory requirements allowing for cost effective handsets.
The TM500 Test Mobile now provides demodulation and decoding of downlink signals transmitted in 4x4 MIMO, and transmission of uplink signals modulated using 64QAM, in support of these higher LTE data rates.
“Aeroflex is providing the very latest test capability to allow testing of LTE networks and eNodeB ahead of the availability of real user equipment,” said Nicola Logli, Product Manager at Aeroflex. “The addition of Cat5 support to the TM500 allows engineers to verify the signal processing function when testing systems at the higher data rates provided by LTE, and its Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ) mode permits validation of the Cat5 feature prior to integration into the eNodeB.”
The TM500’s “per antenna” measurement capability allows the engineers to validate eNodeB RF functionality with direct cabling, while its “per RF path” measurements offer a powerful tool for use over the air during field trials, for studying the use cases that maximize the benefits of the four-transmitter (4 Tx) topology of 4x4 MIMO. A constellation plot is also available, which provides the engineer with a rapid scan of the signal quality.
The TM500 Test Mobile can also be used in stress test cases at an early stage in the development of Cat5, where one or two of the TM500 units are used in an attempt to utilize all the eNodeB resources while other handsets or UE also required to be served.