In early 5G rollouts, it’s important to understand how all the major smartphones work, not just the one recommended by your infrastructure vendor.
To do this, we’ve learned that it's best to test with all the chipsets used by the most popular smartphones to pinpoint and solve the root cause of problems early.
The three major 5G chipset manufacturers are:
- Qualcomm (Snapdragon 865)
- Samsung (Exynos 990)
- Huawei (Kirin 990)
But this is just part of the problem. What will become apparent as soon as you start testing is that the design of the phone itself (and in particular, antenna positioning) will have an effect on performance. So it’s unlikely that the iPhone 12, due for release in October, will show exactly the same performance characteristics as the OnePlus, Xioami, Sony or Samsung devices, even if they use the same chipset.
In order to tune the performance of your network you will need to understand these issues, issues which are NOT always apparent during lab-testing.
We’ve seen that some critical issues only emerge on certain smartphones in specific circumstances. But if the problem isn’t detected early it can cause huge problems down the line (see our 5G testing challenges blog post). In many cases, using the most advanced smartphone to tune a network will disguise the problem, as these devices often include features that mitigate the issue.
Testing across a broader set of smartphones with different 5G chipsets will accelerate your overall troubleshooting process and ensure that you have the right data available to address issues at the root-cause of the problem – infrastructure, smartphone vendor, or chipset vendor. Relying on a single type of smartphone isn’t the best alternative.
Full chipset logging is critical for troubleshooting with 5G chipset manufacturers
One important recommendation we stress is full chipset logging for each 5G chipset. This sounds unnecessarily complicated, but has proven to be the key factor in identifying the root cause of complex problems for our existing 5G customers.
This has become even more important with the introduction of OpenRAN solutions, where the equipment used in a network is no longer consistent. In the past you only needed to verify that a certain device worked on a certain vendors equipment. Now the situation is much more complex.
At the early stages of any technology rollout, changes are often made on a daily basis… and many players are involved. Hence, both infrastructure vendors, smartphone suppliers and chipset vendors, have been keen to know the full details whenever a problem is detected. Full chipset logging provides that capability, so we highly recommend that this is always done in the early stages of a rollout.
All three chipsets will provide performance improvements over earlier versions, so we expect that an increase in maximum data throughput speeds will be seen, but some offer the possibility of completely new functionality such as support for 5G SA and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing. Others allow equipment vendors to showcase new functionality. Infovista is proud to be involved in helping to verify that the future happens now.
Infovista supports all three major 5G chipset manufacturers
With the release of TEMS Investigation 22.0 we are proud to support all three of the latest major 5G chipset manufacturers in the TEMS Portfolio. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is likely to be the most widely used, but in many countries, the Samsung Exynos 990 and the Huawei Kirin 990 will be used by the most popular smartphones, including the iPhone 12.
All three chipsets are clearly extremely capable, but on paper, will have slightly different capabilities. This means that, especially early in the 5G network rollout, it will be extremely important to understand exactly how each smartphone and chipset really works on the network under test. We are seeing that more and more mobile operators are requesting support for new smartphones, based on one of these different chipsets.
We have already helped verify the performance of some of the most important new smartphones, including:
- iPhone 12 prototype
- Samsung Galaxy S20+
- Samsung Note 20
- LG Velvet 5G
- Sony Xperia 1 II (mark2) 5G
- OnePlus 8 5G
- Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
Take a closer look at the newest 5G devices we support.
Leverage new machine learning methods to solve voice quality challenges on devices
In addition to out and out performance, all of the smartphones will of course be designed for making calls. Many will include proprietary features that filter noise and improve voice quality.
These are fantastic features for your users, but they present significant challenges if you are trying to pinpoint the underlying network issues. In many cases, it can mean that introducing a new phone to measure voice quality will give a better score, and imply an improvement in network quality that hasn’t occurred.
In order to avoid the influence of the smartphone design on the measurement of long-term voice quality, we have introduced a new revolutionary method of determining the underlying network Voice Quality, called sQLEAR. This uses machine learning to determine the voice quality provided by the network. After the move to 5G, all voice calls will be made over the EVS codec, so it is highly recommended to verify that it’s use in VoLTE works perfectly today. sQLEAR is designed for testing this while drive testing.
As we’ve said before, 5G is different from all its “G” predecessors and you need to make sure your rollout plan takes all of these new 5G challenges into account.
Our experts are working on 5G projects with 250+ customers in 65+ countries across the globe. Check out our Global 5G Tracker to see how we’re putting 5G on the map.
Or watch our latest webinar to learn how to use analytics and automation for faster better, faster 5G planning and deployment.