Article | January 25, 2023

5G Mobile Network Testing Using A Passive Network Scanner (Part 4)

The last blog post (Part 3) examined the first challenge of how you can measure and analyze 5G networks passively by analyzing synchronization and broadcast signals. In this short blog post we address the challenge of timing alignment between 5G base stations as this has a large effect on inter-cell interference and consequently user experience using the detection of the synchronization signals as described in (Part 3) of the blog.

Network synchronization requirements

Ensuring the base station synchronization is a critical component for successful network deployment. If a base station is out-of-sync, the handover of active connections will fail, leading to dropped calls for the user and a poor user experience. For TDD the synchronization requirement is particularly crucial as a time offset can lead to an overlap of uplink and downlink time slots, impacting the base station performance and interfering with neighboring correctly synchronized base stations (Figure 1).

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