NI recorded its best-ever first quarter revenues: $35 million, up 8% compared to the same period in 2020. Geographically, NI saw revenues up 1% in the Americas, down 1% in Europe and up 26% in the Asia-Pacific region.

Orders followed a somewhat similar pattern: Up 19% year-over-year overall, with particular strength in Asia-Pacific, where orders in the region were 51% higher than the first quarter of 2020. In the America, orders were up 8% and in EMEA, up just 2%.

Profits for the quarter were $4 million, compared to $132 million in the year-ago period. NI recorded slightly higher operating costs in 2021’s first quarter compared to 2020, but the first quarter of 2020 was larger than usual because NI had recorded the $160 million sale of its AWR subsidiary.

“Momentum continued with an all-time record for first quarter orders. Demand was above typical seasonality with orders up year-over-year across all regions and business units,” said Eric Starkloff, CEO of NI, adding that he is “inspired by our long-term growth opportunities and confident in the solid global execution of our growth strategy.”

However, CFO Karen Rapp noted that despite the record revenues, supply chain constraints meant that not all orders were shipped within the quarter, increasing the company’s backlog. “We remain confident in our ability to ultimately ship our backlog and optimistic in the continued strength in our business as we continue to align resources to higher growth opportunities in pursuit of our long-term financial model,” Rapp added.

In addition to the impacts on shipping times, NI included in its guidance that it expects revenue in the second quarter to be constrained by component availability, although orders are still expected to be up 20-25% year-over-year.

In other company news this week, NI joined New York Universiy’s Tandon School of Engineering’s wireless research center, NYU Wireless, as an industrial affiliate member.

In other test news:

Keysight Technologies has extended the use of its Pathwave design system to include design and testing for next-generation memory, including Double Data Rate 5 (DDR5), Low-Power Double Data Rate 5 (LPDDR5) and Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory systems. Keysight also recently launched a gallium nitride (GaN) test board for the company’s dynamic power device analyzer / double-pulse tester, and finally, the test company reported that its SA8700A cellular vehicle-to-everything test solution has been approved by the OmniAir Consortium for physical layer and protocol conformance validation. OmniAir Consortium focuses on interoperability and certification for intelligent transportation systems.

Rohde & Schwarz said that China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are all using its R&S TSME6 drive test scanner for 5G network optimization. Rohde & Schwarz China and local test and measurement partner Zhuhai DingLi Corp. have won three recent contracts for 5G network testing using that solution.

Rohde also said this week that it has expanded its collaboration with the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) for testing high-speed Ethernet and InfiniBand with vector network analysis test equipment from R&S, and that the Global Certification Forum has approved the first two radio resource management (RRM) conformance test cases for 5G millimeter-wave frequencies, as implemented on Rohde’s TS-RRM-NR 5G RRM conformance test system. Those test cases have been validated in seven Frequency Range 2 and LTE band combinations, R&S added.

-Half of all 5G revenues will be subject to SLAs, according to EXFO, compared to practically zero for 4G-LTE deployments today. A perfect storm is brewing, says EXFO Product Line Manager Guillaume Briand, buffeted on one side by the supply of new network infrastructure and automation tools, and rising analytics capabilities, and on the other by demand from industrial markets. “It is evolving quite rapidly, with the global rollout of 5G, and with the availability of AI and automation in the networks. And Covid-19 has changed the demand for these technologies, as well, just because all the home-working is putting strain on cellular infrastructure, especially,” he says. “But frankly, with 5G, it is not about subscribers anymore – it is about machines and robots in enterprises. These companies need to be able to rely completely on this new infrastructure. Network providers have to be able to commit themselves to customers with SLAs. The only way they can do this is by monitoring their 5G networks, and only companies like EXFO have the tools for them to measure exactly how these networks are working – to confirm for enterprises they are getting what they paid for.” Read the full story on Enterprise IoT Insights and download the related special report.

-The National Institute of Standards and Technology has signed a new 5G research and development agreement with ComSovereign’s Virtual NetCom (VNC) unit, focused on 5G-enabled deployables for public safety. engineers at NIST will work with COMSovereign to evaluate and demonstrate the applicability of 5G distributed systems (“DS”) in a use case for 5G in public safety and other programs. The parties will utilize the 5G core and gNodeB radio technology from VNC to test specific 3GPP standard features and their impact on public safety operations. Research will focus on all aspects of deploying a 5G network for public safety’s use including deployment feasibility, 5G features employed, local and distributed compute resources leveraged, and broadband service availability and quality expected from a DS.

This is the second cooperative R&D agreement (CRADA) between NIST and VNC; the first focused on “highly mobile deployed networks” and airborne LTE solutions. NIST said that a test report related to the first CRADA is expected to be published shortly.

OpenSignal has released data from its most recent analysis of 5G network performance in the U.S., concluding that T-Mobile US has the most frequently available and fastest 5G network. Read the full story here.


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