ETSI MCX Plugtests event in Finland demonstrates 95% successful interoperability between LTE vendors of MCPTT, MCData, MCVideo services
More than 1,800 interoperability tests of 3GPP-standard LTE mission-critical communications services revealed a 95% success rate during the recent ETSI MCX Plugtests event, which included execution of end-to-end calls using mission-critical-push-to-talk (MCPTT) technology.
Saurav Arora, plugtest manager for the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), said he believes the results from this plugtest were more impressive than previous events, because the interoperability success rate was greater—95% compared to 92% of tested cases—and the scope of the tests was both broader and more detailed while utilizing some “very mature” products.
Previous ETSI Plugtests events have concentrated primarily on portions of MCPTT solutions, but the availability of eNodeBs, evolved packet cores (EPCs) and access to spectrum supported greater testing of end-to-end MCPTT functionality, Arora said.
“We have tested end-to-end in previous plugtests, but in this plugtest, we really focused on end-to-end capabilities,” Arora said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “In the previous plugtests, there was not much interest on end-to-end—it was mostly client and server testing.”
Trying to replicate real-world challenges in future plugtests is a primary goal of ETSI officials, according to Arora.
“This is something we are going to focus on in future plugtests—more complex scenarios,” he said. “This will be our task for future events. We are going to include more complex scenarios that will be closer to reality.”
Observers from various countries—officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) represented the United States at the event—provided some real-world test scenarios, Arora said.
In addition to the MCPTT testing, there was significantly more vendors willing to participate in tests involving 3GPP Release 14 MCVideo and MCData services than at past ETSI events, Arora said. Various aspects of LTE networks were included in the testing scenarios, including devices, eNodeBs, evolved packet cores (EPC), IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) and Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS).
There was some testing of priority and preemption functionality during the event in Finland, but there was no testing of interworking between and LTE system and an LMR network, Arora said.
“As you know, the interworking between P25 and MCPTT and between TETRA and MCPTT is not ready yet,” Arora said. “We are waiting for this to be ready, so we can test it during a plugtest event.”
Conducted during a five-day period at the end of September in Kuopio, Finland, at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences, the ETSI plugtests attracted 31 vendors that test products at the event. One notable newcomer to the in-person plugtests event was Samsung, which had not participated in ETSI’s three previous plugtests, even though the company is a leading vendor in the South Korea public-safety-LTE effort and is expected to play key roles in both FirstNet in the United States and the Emergency Services Network (ESN) in the United Kingdom.
Some of the other participating vendors were Airbus DS, Bittium, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, L3Harris Technologies, Motorola Solutions, Nemergent Solutions, Polaris Networks, Softil and TASSTA GmbH.
Arora said that ETSI plans to conduct its next in-person plugtests event in May, but no site has been announced yet.