Microlease, now part of Electro Rent Corporation, continues to make significant investments in test equipment for the emerging 5G mobile communications standard. The company has increased its entire 5G testing inventory by investing $30 million ($10 million in the past 12 months), to serve growing demand from equipment manufacturers and mobile network operators.
Interest in 5G is being ignited by three key advantages of the new standard over its predecessor: its ability to deliver much greater bandwidths to mobile terminals, the reduced latency of its data transfers, and support for many more terminals per unit area. Each of these features is broadening the applicability of 5G and so opening up new market opportunities for manufacturers. For example, auto makers anticipate that 5G could enable vehicle to vehicle communications with low enough latency to enable autonomous vehicles to manage traffic collaboratively.
In the near term, handset and base station manufacturers are focusing on producing the equipment necessary to serve the rollout of commercial 5G networks. Market analysts Gartner says: “5G networks are moving beyond trials to commercial deployments; operational networks are now available in the US and South Korea, providing greater visibility on how operators will build and bill for 5G services.” Commercial 5G networks were also launched in the UK earlier this year. The good news for those producing this equipment is that it should be profitable. Gartner predicts “with the launch of 5G handsets and increasing shipments of 5G base stations, it’s become clear that 5G will carry a significant price premium.”
For mobile network operators investing in 5G, quality of service and quality of experience are paramount. Effective testing is essential to optimise signal quality, network throughput and capacity to grow their customer base and achieve return on their investment. Testing is also important to ensure interoperability between user equipment and network infrastructure. To keep up with changing technology and evolving standards network operators and equipment manufacturers need fast, flexible access to the latest test and measurement equipment.
Microlease stocks industry leading equipment to address these issues. These include Keysight Technologies’ N9040B UXA Signal Analyzer, with a frequency range of 2Hz to 50GHz, which is available in various configurations to suit different aspects of 5G validation work. The company is also stocking the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyser, for characterising wideband components and communications systems.
The opportunities that 5G brings come with the risks associated with stiff market competition, an evolving standard, and technical complexity. Microlease can help test equipment users mitigate these risks by ensuring they can have flexible access to the test equipment they need to both validate their designs now and make decisions about what kind of equipment they will need for the longer term.
Microlease has highly trained experts that can help customers access the equipment that matches their precise needs, as well as advising on whether to rent, lease or buy. Customers who choose to rent have fast flexible access to the latest testing technology and benefit from ongoing technical support, with free servicing and calibration. Customers who choose to buy can take advantage of Microlease’s experience in sourcing new or certified pre-owned equipment, as well as a range of financial solutions.