Is this different than that of previous developments from 3G to 4G, etc.?
It is more. If we come back to the three network slices, bandwidth, latency times and coverage: upgrading from 3G to 4G essentially gave customers a higher data volume. They were able to watch videos more smoothly, with better resolutions, etc. Thanks to the lower latency times, 5G opens up completely new possibilities, for example, for applications such as autonomous driving or virtual or augmented reality. This creates a whole range of new services that service providers and operators can offer and with which they can earn money. This in turn justifies the high investments made by network operators. These investments run through the entire ecosystem: The end customer pays more money for new services, the operators can invest this money in the network structures and thus, in turn, new technologies can be developed. Test and measurement is an indispensable success factor in all of this.
In which segment do you expect the greatest sales growth?
Implementing 5G requires a complete ecosystem. This ranges from chipset and component manufacturers and manufacturers of mobile devices, base stations and wireless network equipment to service providers and operators. They all go through the same stages: 2010 to 2015 was the research stage, meaning basic research of the technologies. 2016 to 2019 are dominated by standardization, prototyping and various test runs. 2020 to 2025 and beyond follows the commercialization and massive expansion. During all these stages, the customers need test and measurement equipment.
As a test and measurement equipment manufacturer, how can you support customers in the development and implementation of 5G?
It is important that the technologies are tested end-to-end by the customer over the entire workflow or lifecycle – this means, from simulation and design through prototyping and validation to production and final testing. This is elementary, because especially in the millimeter wave range, it is practically impossible to implement designs without prior modeling. However, that’s not all: When the individual technologies are installed in the networks and these are practically in operation, customers must also be able to test the networks themselves end-to-end, perform stress tests and ensure the service level of the networks. We also support our customers here. We offer solutions for the entire lifecycle.
What, in your opinion, is the most important aspect for your customers when it comes to the implementation of 5G?
Customers look for a partner with whom they can complete a project from start to finish – wherever they are. We operate in over 100 countries, we have research and development centers in 14 countries and local experts worldwide. This ensures that we can cover customer-specific requirements globally. In addition, we are well networked and maintain collaborations – with commercial companies, with consortiums and with universities. But once again, the most important thing, from my point of view, is that we can truly serve customers end-to-end.
Finally, what is necessary to give 5G the expected boost?
5G is primarily a wireless technology, but to really use 5G as an industry, the entire industry must improve wireless networks on the one hand, and also the entire fiber optic infrastructure and data centers on the other hand. This is because the requirements that 5G places on high bandwidths, short latency times and high coverage run through the entire ecosystem – wireless and wireline. (nw)
The interview was conducted in German by Nicole Wörner, Translation: Markt&Technik