To optimize signal strength at the mobile device, NR uses a combination of analog and digital beamforming. The idea of beamforming is not new to mobile communications, as LTE networks extensively use digital beamforming today. With 5G, however, the challenges of signal propagation and smaller antenna sizes motivate the use of extensive analog beamforming techniques. Above 24 GHz, analog beamforming of narrower beam widths gives 5G base stations the ability to steer downlink signals more efficiently. The process first involves beam scanning, so the base station can identify the most effective beam location for a specific mobile device. Using this approach, the recipient of the downlink transmission benefits from higher signal strength—particularly by using higher order modulation schemes. However, beamforming ultimately introduces significant test challenges. Not only does each beam need to be characterized and tested but over-the-air measurements are also critical to validate radio performance.