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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva

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Testing What’s Next In LTE: Azimuth to Showcase Solutions at Mobile World Congress

Azimuth Systems, Inc., a leader in mobile performance test solutions, invites visitors to Mobile World Congress to explore the future of LTE, and the test methodologies and instruments required to assure quality of experience and network optimization. Operators worldwide have announced plans to deploy LTE, LTE-Advanced and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in 2014. The increasingly complex interactions between networks, devices and applications call for an expanded scope of testing at lower incremental cost. Azimuth will be exhibiting solutions designed in collaboration with the industry’s leading operators and manufacturers to specifically improve testing of new network and device features such as Carrier Aggregation and VoLTE, using new methods such as Multi-Link Scenario Application, Device-Network Analytics and Intelligent-Over-The-Air.

LTE-Advanced
Effective testing of Carrier Aggregation (CA) and Heterogeneous Networks (HetNet) in the lab requires large testbeds to model many disparate, simultaneous radio frequency links representing the full scope of real-world propagation environments. Creating the corresponding test cases in turn requires more time and more engineering resources than ever before. Azimuth is introducing the Multi-Link Scenario Application (MSA) to allow test engineers to quickly advance from test case definition to automated test setup and execution on Azimuth ACE channel emulators.

MSA’s benefits include:

  • Aligned to ecosystem requirements—preselected test scenarios were chosen in collaboration with leading operators, infrastructure and device vendors
  • Dramatically reduces test development—select a Coverage Map and Mobility Path to define the CA test case; MSA then executes algorithms to compute frequency-adjusted link characteristics which are available for immediate playback
  • Dynamic Uplink—true bi-directional capabilities to ensure that the device’s uplink closely emulates real-world power control and signaling behaviors
  • Scalable and extensible—initial scenarios focus on CA, and the framework will easily support plug-ins for HetNet and other emerging multi-link applications.

VoLTE
With operators set to launch VoLTE service commercially later this year, industry attention turns to assuring the quality of experience, given users’ low tolerance for poor performance when it comes to the most essential aspect of mobile communications. Azimuth’s focus is on testing at the device level, with user experience automation and device-network analytics software intended to benchmark performance of multiple devices, and facilitate identification and resolution of root causes of performance issues.

Azimuth’s VoLTE solution:

  • Automates the essential user experience applications on smartphones, including voice, messaging, data and video
  • Enables synchronized testing and diagnostic logging of multiple devices
  • Analyzes, visualizes and correlates metrics from user experience to device performance and network conditions, including access, connectivity, mobility and PHY/MAC
  • Addresses critical aspects of VoLTE including call registration and setup, call presence and quality, further broken down into mobile originating, mobile terminating, audio LTE and video LTE calls
  • Parses and reports key VoLTE parameters and KPIs related to TTI bundling, DRX and dedicated bearers for voice and video calls
  • Provides rich yet easy-to-understand reports for comparison of multiple devices, identification of issues and root causes, and rapid decision-making.

Intelligent Over-The-Air
Azimuth has literally cut the cord in mobile performance lab testing. Traditionally, the device under test (DUT) is opened up and the RF port is connected to test equipment using a cable. This widely accepted method has delivered useful results but has always ignored the performance impact of a critical component of the device: the antenna. Over-the-air (OTA) testing places the DUT in a shielded chamber for a precisely controlled environment, and radiates the network information through the antenna, exercising the device in its native state.

Azimuth’s Intelligent Over-The-Air (iOTA) further augments OTA testing, by going beyond antenna measurements to benchmark multiple devices and predict performance in market; replaying field RF conditions captured during drive testing for more relevant scenarios; automating essential user applications such as messaging, browsing and video streaming; and facilitating root cause analysis rather than just a pass/fail measurement.

iOTA’s advantages include:

  • Only supplier to offer both the reverberation chamber and channel emulator directly, with attendant benefits of seamless integration
  • Switching between antenna characterization (TIS/TRP) and performance (throughput testing) without days of effort to reconfigure the system
  • The first MIMO OTA performance test platform mandated by a U.S. Tier-1 operator to its device ecosystem.

As mobile networks become more complex—with the deployment of carrier aggregation, HetNet and VoLTE—so are the devices connecting to them. Both the network environment and device utilization need to be represented as precisely as possible to deliver meaningful, repeatable test results. By enhancing prediction of performance in subscriber scenarios under real-world conditions, Azimuth’s test solutions enable more efficient development, qualification, marketing and troubleshooting of mobile devices. Device manufacturers and component suppliers can validate or revise designs further upstream in the development process. Operators can ensure that devices perform as expected on their networks prior to launch, troubleshoot issues found once devices are in market, or identify root causes for returns.

About Azimuth Systems

Azimuth Systems Inc. is a leader in mobile performance test solutions for network operators, device OEMs, chipset vendors and infrastructure providers. The industry is in an unprecedented period of transition, with the introduction of major new network, device and service technologies, and aggressive competition for an increasingly saturated market. Azimuth delivers systems and software to enable measurement and correlation of user experience, device performance and network events, facilitating rapid identification and resolution of issues, maximizing quality and customer satisfaction, and minimizing time-to-market and network impact. The company is based in Acton, Massachusetts, USA with sales offices around the world. Contact Azimuth at +1 (978) 263-6610 or at www.azimuthsystems.com. Follow Azimuth on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/azimuthsystems.

Azimuth® is a registered trademark of Azimuth Systems. ACE, Intelligent Over-The-Air (iOTA) and Multi-Link Scenario Application (MSA) are trademarks of Azimuth Systems.

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