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Test and Measurement: ETSI’s mission-critical test event sees 92% success rate

ETSI plugtest event was the first to test mission-critical data, video interoperability

More than 2,000 tests of LTE mission critical push-to-talk, MC data and MC video at a Texas plugtest event resulted in a 92% test success rate, according to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. The event was the first formal test event for public safety LTE interoperability outside of Europe, and the first plugtest where MC data and MC video were tested, ETSI said.

Thirty-one vendors and 120 on-site participants took part in the ETSI plugtest, in addition to support from remote labs. It was the first such event in the U.S. for MC LTE features based on 3GPP Release 14. ETSI said that the week-long event resulted in more than 300 combinations of vendors and equipment tested to ensure MC feature interoperability.

The test plan had more than 100 test cases, and observers from nine organizations in France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. witnessed the testing; information from the plugtest will be fed back into 3GPP and might end up leading to adjustments or clarifications of MC communications standards.

The plugtest was held at the Texas A&M Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center, at its “Disaster City” facility in College Station, Texas. ETSI organized the event, which was supported by the The Critical Communications Association (TCCA), which focuses on global MC communications; the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research group; the Public Safety Technology Alliance; and the European Commission.

“FirstNet also took a great interest in the second MCPTT Plugtests,” ETSI noted.

“This event shows how productive the relatively small critical communications industry can be when it collaborates and works together towards a common goal,” said Harald Ludwig, chair of TCCA’s Technical Forum, in a statement. “It is essential that exhaustive tests are conducted to ensure the end user can completely rely on their equipment in a crisis situation.”

ETSI said that it will eventually publish a full report on the event, as well as the test specification, on its website. This is ETSI’s second MC communications plugtest, and planning for the event test event is already underway, the organization said.

MCPTT over LTE has not yet emerged in commercial networks, but Verizon has said that it plans to start rolling out the feature in its network later this year — as an augmentation to LMR rather than as a replacement, to start. AT&T/FirstNet, meanwhile, has already put out a request for proposals to vendors to provide MCPTT, according to Chris Sambar, SVP for AT&T-FirstNet.

Sambar, who said that MCPTT is one of the first capabilities that first responders ask about, expects to have solutions in the lab later this year, with the technology to go live in the network early next year. Since FirstNet wants to select multiple vendors for MCPTT, interoperability of solutions will be a critical component.

TCCA said that during the plugtest, an initial meeting of device manufacturers, application developers, mobile network operators and end-user agency representatives was held as a first step toward forming a formal interest group “to share information and ideas regarding testing and certification of future MC broadband products.”

“The need for global collaboration and information sharing between all interested parties, most especially between non-competing MNOs entering the MC market, was stressed at the meeting as being a basis upon which a robust testing and certification regime could be achieved for MC products,” TCCA said.

In other test news:

Textron has completed the sale of its Tools and Test business to tech and engineering company Emerson for $810 million. The brands included in the sale are Greenlee, Greenlee Communications (which focuses on test equipment for wireline, cellular and Wi-Fi networks), Greenlee Utility, HD Electric, Klauke, Sherman+Reilly, and Endura.

IBwave said that Russian telecom provider MTS used its iBwave Design to plan and deploy wireless networks for soccer games being held at a number of Russian stadiums, which are hosting the 2018 World

Image courtesy iBwave

Cup games through mid-July. IBwave said that its planning and capacity modeling tools were used to “deliver one the largest deployments of Massive MIMO in Europe to date.” iBwave Design was used for new, high-capacity networks at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, which is the country’s national stadium and has a capacity of 80,000 people; Spartak Stadium, in Moscow, which seats 45,000 people; Rostov Arena Rostov-on-Don, with a capacity of 45,000; and Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, which also has the capacity for 45,000 people

IBwave said that MTS was able to leverage design features including “signal and capacity modeling right down to inclined surfaces, complex architecture and body-loss calculations when the stadium is filled to capacity.”

-Both Anritsu and Keysight Technologies will have their test solutions used by chipmaker MediaTek in support of 5G development. Anritsu said that MediaTek will be using its Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A “as a prioritized test platform for the verification of standard-based 5G NR chipsets targeting upcoming global 5G deployment.” Meanwhile, MediaTek will be relying on Keysight’s 5G Protocol R&D Toolset for “Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocol development, pre-silicon deployment, and full stack chipset validation across sub-6GHz and mmWave frequencies using the latest 3GPP Release 15 5G NR standards,” according to Keysight. 

Siglent Technologies has released its new SVA1015X  spectrum and vector analyzer, with a measurement frequency range of 9 kHz to 1.5 GHz. New capabilities include a vector network analysis mode, distance-to-fault mode and EMI pre-compliance testing.

Signal Hound has added Standard Commons for Programmable Instruments, or SCPI, compatibility to its spectrum analyzers via the company’s Spike software, which provides the user interface for controlling Signal Hound’s instruments as well as providing signal analysis measurements.

ABOUT AUTHOR

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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