Next-generation LTE mobile communications are expected to become the new global standard. However, because the LTE service range will be limited at the start, LTE smartphones must also support other existing 2G and 3G communications technologies such as W-CDMA, GSM, CDMA2000, etc. InterRAT Handover and Interworking between LTE and 2G/3G mobile systems are key technologies in the development of LTE smartphones and tests of connection reliability and stability when moving between cells are an important part of smartphone rollout.
Issues in Multimode LTE Smartphone Evaluation
R&D evaluation of multimode LTE smartphones requires testing using an actual live network with actual base stations but this raises a number of issues listed below:
- Testing and reproducing bugs is difficult in a stable environment
- Network parameters cannot be set and changed freely
- When there are many bugs, it increases the regression feedback process
- Testing is impossible in areas without service
- Difficult to configure a network with any number of cells
- Difficult to set network parameters flexibly
- Difficult to troubleshoot problems in detail
- Limited sites where tests can be run
- High cost to create test environment
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High-end base station simulators require elaborate equipment setup and creation of complex test scripts, which is both time consuming and expensive.
Easy Configuration of Simulation Environment for Evaluating Multimode LTE Smartphones
The MD8475A multisystem base-station simulator supports LTE FDD, W-CDMA/HSPA, GSM/(E)GPRS, CDMA2000 1x/1XEV-DO Rev. A. The all-in-one unit offers an easily configured simulation environment for developing multimode LTE smartphones using a state-machine based simple GUI for stable and high-reproducibility testing. Every evaluation starting from LTE throughput performance to 2G/3G InterRAT Handover* and CS Fallback* mobility and connectivity verifications is supported, solving the difficult test environment configuration issues with one cost-effective solution (CDMA2000 is not supported at present).
Configure a 2-cell Test Environment with Simple GUI Operations. The state-machine based GUI supports a 2-cell test environment with one MD8475A unit. Simple GUI operations for 2-cell tests including Cell Selection/Reselection, InterRAT Redirection, CS Fallback, etc., between LTE and W-CDMA/HSPA and GSM/(E)GPRS eliminates the need to create complex test scripts, simplifying system-related work and costs (CDMA2000 is not supported at present).
Flexible Network Parameter Setting
Network parameter settings, such as MCC (Mobile Country Code)/MNC(Mobile Network Code), frequency (Band), communications technology, packet rate, base station Tx power, access control, out-of-service status, etc., that cannot be changed on a live network can all be set freely. In addition, prior setting parameters for up to 32 cells and using the function for switching neighbor cell during simulation makes it easy to test various 2-cell environments with different network parameters. In addition to reproducing the hard-to-grasp status of domestic and overseas networks, the call connection reliability and stability of multimode LTE smartphones at handover under any environment and timing can be evaluated easily.
Troubleshooting by Monitoring Each
Starting with throughput evaluation at the IP layer by using throughput performance monitor, the MD8475A has a full range of tools for analyzing each communications conditions, such as a Measure monitor for counting ACK/NACK, MCS, TRx PDU, and measuring PHY Tx throughput performance, as well as a RF Monitor for displaying the TRx power of each channel. The performance at the IP and PHY layers during data communications can be evaluated in real time, making it easy to detect data transfer problems, locate bottlenecks, measure throughput when switching between cells supporting different transfer rates, and evaluate smartphone user interfaces (CDMA2000 is not supported at present).
World’s Networks on Benchtop
Commercial LTE services are already being rolled out, but there are still some limitations on the range of first services. On the other hand, an LTE communications environment is required for unrestricted development of LTE smartphones. Using the MD8475A makes it easy to configure a benchtop test LTE network supporting frequency bands of many countries. Pre-evaluation of smartphones and services in the lab that are destined for global markets is made easy. This helps cut global field trial and troubleshooting time and costs. Running handover mobility tests in the early development stages helps cut field-testing and debugging workloads too.
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