4G Testing on the Rise

As the delivery of next-generation services becomes highly dependent on end-user Quality of Experience (QoE), it also helps the service providers to manage their customer retention and thus the focus has shifted to T&M solutions. T&M solutions are expected to give a competitive edge to the service providers.

LTE seems to be gathering a lot of steam by increasing need of wireless data and network deployments. The future of wireless will be riding on 3G and WiMax or LTE deployment and value added services. All services like internet banking, stock trading, web surfing, videoconferencing, m-banking, m-health, cloud computing are moving towards the mobile networks.

“Although T&M market is growing at a steady pace, it does have its share of challenges, especially in wake of the rapidly evolving communication technologies,” says Parmeet S Ahuja, country general manager, Agilent Technologies India.> Different categories of test and measurement instruments are required for the wireless communication industry ranging from early design and development, through volume manufacturing, to network deployment and service assurance. The launch of LTE and BWA represents the constant evolution of networks which would result in business opportunity for test to achieve operational efficiency.

Drivers

Large and small enterprises, as well as consumers, are now demanding anytime, anywhere, always-on internet access with increased levels of QoE from the numerous applications they use everyday. New mobile devices are driving the need for faster wireless networks such as 3G/LTE, while downloadable applications are increasing both revenue and customer loyalty. Examples include the extraordinary growth in smartphone usage, the introduction of affordable netbook and tablet devices, and the download of billions of applications from online stores.

The customers are more demanding than ever before, they crave for more data intensive applications-m-banking, video calling, mobile TV, etc, and it is moving towards mobile networks. These can only be accepted by the user, if proven for reliability and QoS. This requirement highlights the need to have measurement solutions in place to baseline these technologies for user requirements. The increased demand for mobile services and low tolerance for poor quality has spurned investment in new technologies as well as the backhaul and core portions of the network. Only a strong T&M program can determine whether or not these investments have any impact on customer QoE.

For dense urban deployments in India, the primary challenge will be to scale the network against the capacity demand. CEWIT India anticipates a 50% increase in cell sites by 2014 where the primary increase will be in dense urban areas. Since even in urban areas copper based access is quite sparse, it is likely that broadband will be delivered by LTE, HSPA+ and carrier grade Wi-Fi deployments. Such a deployment will likely rely on using wireless relay options of LTE as well as using LTE as a backhaul link for Wi-Fi.

“Since both rural broadband and urban LTE densification are at starting point, majority of the equipment is expected to be Release 10 compliant,” says Amit Arora, country manager, India & Saarc, EXFO, a Canada based T&M firm. He also says that this will open up a number of opportunities including the use of coordinated multi-point transmission/reception (CoMP) and relay based backhaul to compensate cell edge performance problems.

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