The 5G roll-out is posing major test and verification challenges for electronic system design. A new technical article reviews the differences between the new mobile standard and 4G and suggests appropriate strategies.
Some of the main differences revolve around a more flexible 5G specification to enable a wider range of use cases and more custom configuration. A shift toward cloud-based radio access networks (RANs) as opposed to the baseband units deployed for 4G aims to prevent services being overwhelmed by mushrooming data traffic.
Beyond that, power and size are also now arguably as important as data processing for basestations. 5G will be supported by many smaller, scattered units. This has obvious implications for the SoCs that are consequently becoming the preferred vehicle for hardware implementations.
Finally, this breadth of requirements is further complicated by the fact that many parts of the 5G standard – especially those intended to support the Internet of Things – are still evolving. Designs must be able to adapt as more parts of the overall specification are nailed down.
In ‘5G SoCs demand new verification approaches’, authors Mika Castren and Shakeel Jeeawoody of Mentor, a Siemens business, describe a strategy that combines pre- and post-silicon test and verification to accomodate the plethora of tests that has become necessary (Figure 1).
At the pre-silicon stage, they say that the variation and continuing evolution of the standard make a case for the supplementation of RTL simulation with emulation, such as Mentor’s Veloce offering. Not only is emulation faster, but it can also be used with models to support multiple components and further supports software verification.
For post-silicon test, the paper describes both lab and in-the-field test using the X-Step V as a source for either data generation or capture.