By Stu Kron, SunAR RF Motion
5G systems operating in mmWave bands — between 30 GHz and 300 GHz — can achieve higher speeds, lower latency, and more capacity than current systems operating at lower frequencies. This performance comes at the cost of shorter free space range and higher attenuation from walls and obstructions.
This combination of advantages and disadvantages impacts not only the design of 5G components and infrastructure, it also impacts testing and positioner design. Because the frequencies are higher and the wavelengths are smaller, positioning systems need to be much more precise. Test equipment must be equally precise to capture accurate data when measuring 5G equipment.
Test equipment is characterized mainly by three metrics: resolution, precision, and repeatability. Resolution is the information gathered by the positioner and returned to the user. Precision defines how close to the intended target a positioner can move. Repeatability is the ability to start at one position, move to another, and then return to the original position — all with spot-on accuracy — again and again.
SunAR strives to utilize hyper-accurate components in all 5G test equipment, including computer-driven “smart” servo motors, which use an embedded optical encoder to provide position feedback. This technology enables SunAR positioners to change resolution by as little as 1/1000th of a degree while minimizing backlash that can negatively impact both precision and repeatability.