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Making Testing Virtual in the 5G environment

As networks continue to innovate, the core network is moving from 4G to 5G. This change will continue to improve the speed an access to the internet of various devices. In addition, the introduction of 5G includes more virtualization, and less hardware. As a result, testing should become more virtual.

Scott Raynovich wrote in his article on SDxCentral, “Why 5G will Drive Virtualization”, “Imagine 5G as opening up a potential firehose of connectivity and applications to the mobile world. This, combined with the continued mobile-driven nature of our technology landscape (iPhones, WiFi, pad computing, etc.), will accelerate the shift of the center of gravity for the networking industry at large.”

In the 4G network and it’s predecessors, the hardware components of the network were distinctly defined. As the network transitions, this will no longer be the case. Much of the components that were previously distinct, will now exist in the cloud.

Nokia’s head of 5G marketing, Volker Held, recently pointed out to SDxCentral that, “Having SDN and NFV functionality is key for wireless operators as they prepare to migrate from 4G to 5G.” Even though the 5G standard has not yet been defined by standards bodies, Held says it’s clear that operators will need to be able to scale their networks quickly and carve virtual “sub-networks” or slices that can be then used for bigger bandwidth applications. That includes video, which might need throughput speeds of 10 Gb/s as well as lower bandwidth applications to connect devices that are less demanding on the network, such as smartwatches.”

Held notes that even though operators are switching the SDN at different rates, “Most believe that 5G will incorporate a new network architecture, a new radio access network, and new business models.”

With the shift to virtual networks, conformance and load testing will need to adapt. In the past, a network provider would purchase a lab tool and use it for the testing of the various network components. The 5G network changes requires a different approach. Providers will now need testing tools that have the flexibility to be deployed both as a lab tool as well as cloud-capable.

Conformance and load testing tools, such as those offered by Valid8.com, offer software-based mobile network testing. This type of tool can test fixed components of the mobile network, much like a classic lab tool. In addition, the software to test the cloud components of the mobile network.

As mobile networks shift to the cloud, having a flexible conformance and load testing toolkit will allow network providers to perform comprehensive testing to assure high reliability and quality in their network. To learn more about the Valid8's 5G testing products or value of virtual testing to your 5G network, visit Valid8.com.

Justin Shariat

Read more posts by this author.

Woburn, MA

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