With the successful validation of the industry’s first protocol conformance test cases for 3GPP Rel. 17 NTN NB-IoT, Rohde & Schwarz and MediaTek accelerate adoption of non-terrestrial network-based IoT use cases spanning multiple sectors such as smartphone, consumer, automotive, agriculture, maritime, logistics, and mining. The release and development of these test cases is a major stepping stone for future device certification mandated by industry committees such as GCF and PTCRB.

This first release of NTN NB-IoT protocol test cases is based on 3GPP RAN#5 specifications delivered by ETSI task force MCC160. In detail, the test cases verify the changes of MAC, RLC, and NAS layers, focusing on the device’s ability to transmit GNSS data efficiently, manage multiple TACs, utilize Rel. 17 extended treordering, deliver accurate NAS reject causes and responses, handle HARQ within the NTN context under varying DRX configurations, and accurately interpret timing advance from SIB31 contents.

Rohde & Schwarz has extended its market-leading NB-IoT solution with 3GPP Release 17 NTN features to provide the ecosystem with R&D, production, and conformance testing functions. The protocol conformance test cases were developed using the R&S CMW500 radio communication tester, which allows engineers to assess their NTN NB-IoT devices under realistic conditions, establishing a real-time, comprehensive connection with the simulated satellite network and testing the relevant signaling and RF scenarios in line with the 3GPP Release 17 specification. The test solution emulates geosynchronous orbite and geostationary orbit as well as low earth orbit constellations. It helps engineers to verify NTN device challenges like time and frequency synchronization due to prolonged delay and Doppler effect, low signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio, power saving mechanisms, satellite ephemerides, and GNSS acquisition, to name just a few of the core features.