Real life 5G network measurements in Rome2023-02-27
As part of the DRIVE project, real life measurements of 5G networks are now taking place in Rome, Italy, where two large mobile operators are up to proof in terms of coverage, connectivity, latency and throughput performance.
In Dec. 2020 - Jan. 2021, a large-scale measurement campaign took place in major parts of Rome, Italy, to analyze the ongoing evolution of the mobile cellular ecosystem and the initial rollout of 5G Non-Standalone operational networks.
The 5G networks of two major Italian network operators were the focus of several measurements, including connectivity, latency, coverage and throughput performance of the different networks. Tests were performed under different environmental scenarios, including outdoor measurements while walking and driving the streets of Rome and indoor stationary tests in different buildings. Studying these initial rollouts of 5G networks, we observed that 5G downlink throughput was significantly improved compared to 4G, while the improvement of uplink throughput and latency performance was to a lower extent, highlighting that further upgrade of the 5G network deployment is needed, e.g. towards Standalone setups.
However, since both the measurements tools and the networks have evolved since 2021, it was time for a replication of the experiments. New measurements are now under way since January 2023, going on into April.
The test equipment used is borrowed from Mobile Network Testing division at Rohde & Schwarz, a company that produces test instruments and systems for mobile and wireless communications. The equipment consists of a network scanner, which collects, detects and decodes data, a GPS antenna, a radio frequency antenna, a tablet used as a remote screen to show the data from the scanner, and two smart phones to be able to simultaneously measure two different operators at once.
The data sets from the previous round of measurements are now available to others to use, and a set of papers as a result of this work have already been published.
- Once we have collected the new data, activities in this research environment could also involve students. They could participate and use data and help out in analysis. And as the performance of 5G networks evolve over time, we are discussing new measurement campaigns as well, says Giuseppe Caso, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Karlstad University.
From Karlstad university, the researchers involved are Giuseppe Caso, Anna Brunström and Mohammad Rajiullah, in collaboration with Sapienza University of Rome and University of Oslo.