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Test & Measurement: Spirent chosen for VoLTE/IMS testing; Agilent results

Spirent Communications said that independent lab Intertek’s wireless device testing business has chosen its 8100 Mobile Device Test System for Voice over LTE/IMS testing as operators prepare for the roll-out of VoLTE. The company’s portfolio includes test solutions for areas including IMS, RCS, audio quality, and E911 for VoLTE, among others.

“With the aggressive roll-out of LTE networks, we understand the challenges in successful deployment of VoLTE/IMS services and the corresponding connection of device compliance to carrier-specific test requirements,” said Ron Bernot, Wireless Engineering manager at Intertek, who added that it is one of the first commercial labs ready to test VoLTE/IMS.

Agilent Technologies reported a steep plunge in profits as it seeks to spin off its wireless test segment into a separate company, but it still did better than analysts had expected.

The company said that it ended the most recent quarter with orders up 4% year-over-year and revenues down 3% year-over-year to $1.72 billion. Net income was $211 million compared to $425 million a year ago, but Agilent noted that it had intangible amortization costs of $48 million for the quarter as well as transformation costs of $12 million and separation costs of $5 million, among other charges.

CEO Bill Sullivan called the period “a solid quarter …  despite challenges in several of our markets” and said that the process of splitting Agilent into two companies is expected to be complete in early November 2014. Agilent will be split into two publicly traded companies: one, which will retain the Agilent name, that focuses on life sciences, diagnostics and applied markets; and a yet-to-be-named electronic measurement company.

–Network deployments are driving strong growth in the test and measurement space, according to recent research from Frost & Sullivan on the global wireless test equipment market.

“The escalating use of smart devices, in particular, is changing the mix of network traffic from mostly voice to integrated voice, video and data, spurring the need for solutions to test performance, capacity, and a network’s handling of integrated voice, video and data,” the firm concluded, while estimating that the market earned revenue of more than $3.38 billion last year and will reach $5.57 billion by 2019.

“Demand for wireless test equipment is on the rise because testing facilitates early-market delivery and aids the entire supply chain of component manufacturers, handset manufacturers, operators, and laboratories in getting through the R&D cycle quickly without compromising on quality,” said Olga Shapiro, program manager for communications test and measurement at Frost & Sullivan. “Furthermore, wireless test equipment enables service providers to not only comply with industry standards, but also roll out high-quality products and services that exceed customer expectations.”

However, Frost & Sullivan noted several factors curbing the market, including carriers’ revenues being strained both by a boom in data use without commensurate rise in revenues, as well as the cost of upgrading their networks to newer technologies, including LTE.

“Wireless test equipment vendors must maintain adequate support for existing technologies, while continuing to explore emerging technologies in order to ensure a positive quality of experience and service,” said Shapiro. “Building long-term relationships with customers and understanding their changing requirements will further enable equipment suppliers to stay on top of technological innovation and provide test solutions that yield notable returns on investment.”

Anite‘s Conformance Toolset for protocol and performance testing supports the highest number of validated protocol conformance tests for TD-LTE, per the Global Certification Forum’s recent meeting in Suwon, Korea.

TD-LTE is the variant favored in China, and test cases and test equipment for TDD is becoming more important as large operators such as China Mobile prepare for LTE network rollouts. Anite said it has submitted more than two-thirds of the initial LTE test case verifications to 3GPP’s RAN5 working group.



Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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