Keysight Technologies continues to be among the leaders in electronic test & measurement (T&M) business. They have been at the forefront of design and development of next generation electronic test solutions, enabling customers with first mover advantage in extremely competitive markets. Soumyarendra Barik, Sub Editor, ELE Times sat down with Sudhir Tangri, Country General Manager and Vice President of Keysight Technologies and Mr. Sandeep Kapoor, Country Head Marketing- India, Regional Head Aerospace Defence Marketing- EMEAI during Keysight Measurement Insights Seminar 2018 to discuss 5G and the Keysight advantage. Excerpts:
ELE Times: Please give us a background of the seminar. What are you showcasing here, and what type of people are you planning to target through this seminar?
Sudhir Tangri: This particular seminar is focused on wireless and high speed digital side of our technologies. From a customer standpoint, anyone working with the aforementioned technologies is a potential customer for Keysight. People working in 5G, wireless, or high speed digital and designing these products need to test them. So, all scientists and engineers working in this particular domain happen to be Keysight customers.
ELE Times: For some of your potential customers who couldn’t make it to the seminar, what would you want them to know? How would you encapsulate the crux of your products and technologies?
Sandeep Kapoor: Typically, we don’t start by talking about our products. We prefer to talk about our technologies and the challenges associated with those technologies and the test requirements for that technology. And it is after that we tell our customers as to how we can help them in solve those problems. That may require one product, or two products. In this seminar, we are doing a lot of discussion regarding the litigations of 5G testing. Right now, the 5G industry in India is at a very niche stage. A lot of chipset design is happening, so we are talking about those challenges. We are also talking about some of the challenges in manufacturing which will come for base station testing. Apart from that we are also talking about the solutions for various high speed digital testing.
ELE Times: You mentioned that your major emphasis is on technology. Give us a brief on some of the technologies that you are working on along with the solutions that you’ve come up with.
Sudhir Tangri: From a product standpoint, there are three to four different types of testing that needs to be done. At the basic level, it is the physical layer and Keysight has products for that. So, 5G has two flavours. One is sub-6 GHz and then there is millimetre wave. And when you’re designing products, or solutions, there are certain people that are working on sub-6 GHz and some that are working on millimetre wave or both. Like I was saying, the first and the basic thing is the physical layer and Keysight provides you products like spectrum analyser, signal generator, and network analyser- which enables you to do testing in the physical layer. Whether it is the sub-6 GHz or the millimetre wave flavour. So, that’s the first part.
The second is, the protocol level testing. And if you’re doing a protocol level testing of RRM or other similar things, then Keysight provides you protocol test tools. We have a product called UXM. That we have for protocol level testing.
The third part is on the manufacturing side. So, though we are a little away from handset manufacturing for 5G, Keysight is working on those solutions as well. We recently also acquired a company called Anite which has a product for a slightly different category called channel fading. So, what you’re doing is actually emulating the network and various other real life conditions. When an operator is rolling out a network, it is not homogenous. You have buildings, you have losses happening due to rain or atmosphere. And you need to test your product in a real world scenario. So, now we also have a channel fading solution which is extremely crucial for that kind of testing. In a nutshell, these are some of the products that we have in the 5G space.
ELE Times: I’m sure many other test and measurement firms out there would be working on similar technologies that Keysight is working on. How would you like to differentiate yourself from some of your competitors?
Sudhir Tangri: I would rather not comment on our competitors. However, what I would say is that from our experience of working with the customers in this space, both in India and worldwide, we are at the leading edge of the curve when it comes to the 5G space. The kind of solutions that we have available today, I think we are much ahead of the competition.
Sandeep Kapoor: I’ll further add to this. Ofcourse there are competitors but as Sudhir mentioned that we have the major market share. We are providing solutions from layer 1 to layer 7. As you know, we have Anite and Ixia that can provide solutions throughout the stack. Keysight has been part of this whole 5G revolution from the very beginning. We have been part of the Standards Body, of the testing Bodies. So, we understand all the standards which are being written and we have been able to develop the test cases for those reference designs.
ELE Times: You seem to be an optimist in terms of anticipating the whole 5G revolution and its entry into the mainstream. How much time do you think there is before we witness this next revolution?
Sandeep Kapoor: 5G became a buzzword in 2014 when the development and standardisation started. We would say that the full-blown commercial rollout of 5G would be by 2022-23. So, it’s almost a decade long journey. Right now, it is at its peak. Because, a lot of the designs and standards that were formulated are now getting crystallised into products.
ELE Times: One interesting topic of your seminar was “challenges and opportunities in high speed digital testing.” Can you please walk us through that for a bit?
Sudhir Tangri: When we talk about high speed digital testing, we are really talking about technologies like PCI Express and PAM4. If you look at your cellphone, every time you touch the screen, you’re actually generating data. And that data has to go through the network and then it has to be processed in a server or a computer. So, the amount of data has exponentially grown over the last many years. That’s how the entire infrastructure around cell phones is growing to cater to all that data. In reality, this data has to be synthesised to make sense of it. Not only the computers that are processing this data have to synthesise it, they have to receive and transmit it also. So ultimately, the buses within the servers have to be designed to cater to this huge amount of data.
So, all these technologies- whether it is PCI Express or PAM4- are being developed to ensure that the buses are able to transmit and receive this huge amount of data at a very fast rate. As you keep increasing the speed at which the data is transmitted and received, it creates a lot of challenges electronically. There will be cross talk, there will be attenuation and other things. There is a lot of research happening on how to keep increasing this data throughput on these serial buses. The margin of error has shrunk so much that we are talking about picocell and femtocell of rise times in the high speed space and that is the real challenge. That’s where Keysight comes to the rescue of these designers. We, today, have the fastest speed oscilloscope which is a fundamental tool to test any digital signals. So, Keysight is the only company which provides a 4 channel 110 GHz oscilloscope.