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Forming alliances with industry is a predominant theme in US military circles, particularly around IT, and Spirent can help leverage our leading-edge commercial RF solutions to assist with network modernization.

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Read about how 5G networks being built on new innovative architectures allows CSPs to adopt Amazon-style web-scale principles and agility from the start. To fully maximize this agility, however, they’ll need to ensure that a DevOps culture permeates their organizations, apply automation across the service lifecycle and embrace open APIs and cloud native architectures.

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To support new markets and customers, 5G will demand new operational solutions – not merely tweaks to existing approaches. A new breed of agile and automated service assurance solutions will rise to assure multi-domain 5G services and new value-add capabilities like domain self-management and differentiated services.

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Service providers can’t afford to allow the complexity and envisaged costs brought by 5G delay progress. Learn how Test and Assurance can accelerate innovation and reduce the complexity and costs of delivering 5G.

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5G promises to transform our world and power a new industrial and social revolution. Assuring this promise is possible, but requires navigating unprecedented challenges. Getting there will be an intense journey but the rewards will be well worth it.

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There is a great deal of science and engineering involved in testing and validation of all the pieces which make up state-of-the-art wireless communication offerings. Conceived, created, developed, deployed, and operated by engineering professionals, it is no surprise that numbers and metrics are at the root of all testing approaches. For all the aspects of performance which measure objective artifacts in the physical world like time, frequency, power, and distance, the world of hard science provides a rich, no-discussion method to compare and validate performance.

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If you’ve ever been in a hurry and sat in your car waiting for your navigation system to finish “searching for satellites” for what seems like an eternity, you’ll appreciate current mandates from CTIA, which include Over-the-Air (OTA) testing methodologies for wireless devices that use Assisted Global Navigation Satellite System (A-GNSS) positioning technology.

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Based on our experience working with leading providers deploying carrier-Wi-Fi, we have developed the following best practice recommendations: 1) Go beyond the Access Point, 2) Be proactive, not passive, 3) Measure what matters, 4) Go 24/7, 5) Get to the root of the issue.

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Rollouts of high-bandwidth 4G LTE networks are accelerating globally, providing consumers with access to evolving data-based applications such as augmented reality and multi-player gaming. In addition to these advanced data services, consumers expect access to traditional voice services. Voice and video over-LTE (VoLTE/ViLTE) is the tool to provide this integration.

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In the US, mobile phones long ago surpassed landline phones and are now the most common way to contact emergency services. What emergency callers using their mobile device indoors may not realize however; is that a huge gap exists between their expectation of being located and the accuracy of current positioning technologies when used indoors.

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In the US, mobile phones long ago surpassed landline phones and are now the most common way to contact emergency services. What emergency callers using their mobile device indoors may not realize however; is that a huge gap exists between their expectation of being located and the accuracy of current positioning technologies when used indoors.

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Why Battery Life is Becoming Critical in the Smartphone Market

For many of us, our smartphones are indispensable. They’re our phones, our navigation systems, our link to social media, our gaming systems—we depend on them every day. So when the low battery symbol appears and I’m without a changer, I must admit a slight panic sinks in.

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As LTE networks start to mature across the world, more and more carriers are looking introduce voice services on LTE networks using a technology called Voice over LTE (VoLTE). What is not always understood is that voice services on LTE are very different from those on 2G and 3G networks. An appreciation of the differences leads us to the conclusion that we must think and act differently for 4G. This article addresses the uniqueness of VoLTE and briefly explains the technical features required to make VoLTE work. Most importantly, we discuss the implications this has on making sure VoLTE and next-generation wireless voice services work as expected.

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An article co-authored by Richard Catmur, my colleague at Spirent, was published last week in GPS World. It is a great introduction to the test methodologies currently prescribed for enabling location services on mobile devices. The article provides a well-rounded view of the lab based testing standards and also highlights the need for real world or real-world recording-based verification. The article also discusses the need for test standards addressing the growing adoption of hybrid location technology in smartphones.

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Signals Research Group (SRG) recently completed its eighth collaborative effort with Spirent Communications and its sixteenth “Chips and Salsa” report on cellular chipsets. In the most recent collaboration, we brought together LTE baseband chipsets from eight different suppliers (Altair Semiconductor, GCT, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Renesas Mobile, Samsung, and Sequans) to determine who has the best performing chipset, based on a series of 32 test scenarios that we derived from industry accepted 3GPP test specifications. SRG facilitated the benchmark study and was responsible for reviewing and analyzing the results. Spirent provided engineering support, and most importantly, the use of its 8100 test system to conduct the automated and highly repeatable tests on each chipset.

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Right now, more than 50,000 people (including myself) are about to descend on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2013, where we will immerse ourselves in the latest of everything related to mobile devices and wireless services. Barcelona is an awesome city, but we are not going there to look at architectural masterpieces by Gaudí, eat lots of jamón ibérico, or watch FC Barcelona dominate European football (those are just nice side-effects of the trip if one has the time!). We are there to experience--first-hand--what is new and great in the world of mobile. And for many of us, we are there to talk about how our little part of the mobile universe is relevant and exciting. This typically results in at least 30 hours of time spent on the show floor talking, meeting, exploring, and drinking lots of coffee. Exhausting for sure (especially considering the 2+ hour dinners that start at 9:30pm), but you just have to be there to fully absorb all the grand possibilities that the latest mobile technologies can offer.

So what do we take away from all this?

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There’s no point in having a decent car, if you spend most of your time stuck in traffic.

The thought flashes through my mind as I drive through the streets of NYC, occasionally glimpsing snarling traffic blocking avenues and cross streets. The navigation app on my smartphone helps avoid all the major blocked points - using real time, crowd-sourced traffic data and location information from thousands of users, including the frustrated ones stuck in traffic. 


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The incredible growth in Location-Based Services (LBS) and stricter requirements for emergency services (e.g. E911) are driving the need for Accurate Everywhere location (5-10m). In many scenarios, one source of positioning information is not sufficient. Rather, a combination of multiple sources (such as A-GNSS, WiFi, Cellular and Sensors) is required to provide an accurate position.

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最近,我们一位比较年轻的工程师向我们炫耀如何利用一种新型平板电脑应用来看电视,我却向他指出,我们小时候看的电视都采用无线接入方式。这让他大为震惊。当然,我所说的是兔耳天线和UHF/VHF波段的NTSC信号。可以说,宽带电视的革命以一种奇怪的方式转了一圈,又回到了原点。 电话的情况也是如此。在电话的历史上,绝大多数时候语音都是惟一的应用。接下来出现了能够访问分组数据的配备WAP的蜂窝电话。接下来又是速度更快、质量更高的分组数据能力,使智能电话能够使用各种基于Internet的应用。最终,随着LTE的部署,推动IMS部署的“杀手应用”却仍然是……语音呼叫。 对于工程师们来说,很明显的是,虽然电视和电话似乎都走过了完整的轮回,但其技术在这么多年来却变得复杂得难以置信。同样明显的是,终端用户并不关注对工程师的要求有多苛刻,他们关注的只是,服务必须至少和以往一样好,否则多先进的技术也会被公众认定为是一种失败。 所有这一切使得LTE上的语音,或VoLTE成一种必然。由于LTE是一种纯数据技术,多数当前的LTE网络运营商都通过“倒...

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Signals Research Group (SRG) has collaborated with Spirent several times in the past on chipset and device performance benchmarking and the results are always eagerly anticipated by my subscribers – a cross-section of leaders in the wireless industry. This time, we benchmarked the performance of various A-GNSS chipset platforms and their implementation in a number of the most popular smartphones on the market today. Spirent provided its 8100 Location Technology platform and SRG was responsible for analyzing the data and publishing the results of the study.

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"Are we there yet?"  is a question you can all relate to when on a road trip (or a fully booked and most likely delayed flight) with your kids – you find yourself wishing you could push some secret turbo boost button that would accelerate the journey and bring you to your destination a lot faster –  If you search the internet for terms like Location-Based Services (LBS), Indoor Positioning or Assisted GPS, you will undoubtedly come across numerous articles, papers and blog ...

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By Mike McKernan On May 15, 2012
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One of the big problems when you’re charged with a significant development effort is that you’re often required to jump right into the dirty details. It’s not just in communications, either. Case in point: my first job out of school was with an avionics company. I was assigned to a project that had been in development for a year and a half, but had experienced multiple setbacks. The schedule was in trouble. If you know avionics in the ‘80’s, you know that missing a ...

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“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a general announcement: the mall will be closing in 20 minutes” One of the worst times to hear this message, as I found out, is when scrambling to buy a gift. In my case, I was desperately hunting for a Toys’R’Us to grab a gift for a 1-year-old’s birthday party. My trusty smartphone had gotten me safely to the mall, but the Toys’R’us store was just a marker in the featureless blob that represented the mall in my maps appli...

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By Mike McKernan On March 22, 2012
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“Flexibility” sounds like a good thing when you’re talking about a new wireless technology, and for the most part it is. A flexible technology gives a mobile device developer a wide variety of options when implementing a design. Unfortunately for anyone designing for a flexible technology, whatever is being developed will someday have to interoperate with some entity whose designers were offered the same flexibility. Such was the case when Wideband-CDMA was first rolled out. W...

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I was recently talking to a new acquaintance and found that we had followed similar career paths up to a point. We had both spent some time developing mass-market consumer premises equipment, he in the cable-modem industry and myself in the DSL market. While I eventually moved to the dark side (Marketing), he now manages an R&D group for a cellular device manufacturer. Somehow or other we started talking about the stresses of “launch day”. When you develop mass-market products, ...

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By Spirent On November 4, 2011
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By all indications, the rising demand for ever-richer broadband services is unstoppable. And inevitable. As consumers increasingly rely on smart phones, tablets and mobile-enabled laptops as their portals of choice, operators are compelled to evolve their systems to keep pace. Service providers must rethink and reconfigure network technologies to meet the demand for spectrum. Goodbye TDM/ATM based systems, hello converged packet infrastructures. Only transformed networks will ride the big wave...

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Automobiles play a prominent role in our daily lives.  For example, when you consider the fact that Americans spend over 100 hours a year just driving to/from work, we can safely say that driving is a very time consuming activity. Luckily, researchers have been working to decrease the inconveniences caused by automobiles. Vehicle automation is one solution. Car-to-car communication, a hot topic in the telecommunications industry right now, will allow us to enable automation and control ...

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We all know the story: over 5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, new powerful mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, a shift from voice to multi-media rich applications like video. Suffice to say that the existing legacy networks won’t cut it. Equipment vendors and service providers are responding with the complex task of adding enhancements while maintain legacy networks. The collection of infrastructure changes run from the radio access network (RAN) to mobile backha...

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By Michael Keeley On January 14, 2011
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There’s a lot of misinformation regarding voice service delivery on LTE networks. Voice seems trivial, but when some 3G technologies first rolled out, voice was problematic. Subscribers weren’t happy when new phones with upgraded service plans couldn’t make a phone call. In reality, the way North American operators are deploying voice is a little surprising, so please read on. For a long time any discussion of LTE was data-centric; we hardly ever mentioned voice. In fact, we as an indu...

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By Michael Keeley On January 11, 2011
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MIMO, LTE

The current large-scale rollout of commercial non-proprietary LTE is our industry’s most ambitious initiative since the first cellular networks were launched years ago. Designing mobile devices for LTE is very different from previous mobile design efforts, mainly due to three key factors: Complexity – LTE brings major changes to every link in the network from the core to the mobile device. Multi-technology support – Subscribers expect voice and data applications to run ...

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By Manikantan Parameswaran On January 4, 2011
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In our last post, we looked at the background to SUPL and the drivers for its most recent release, SUPL 2.0. Now we’re going to look in more detail at the new capabilities of SUPL 2.0: Triggered Services: This means that location measurement can be triggered by the network or the SET based on user location. A geographic region can be divided into small parts and each of these regions, or a group of them, can be assigned specific Area IDs. As soon as a user enters or leaves the ...

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By Manikantan Parameswaran On December 27, 2010
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LBS (Location based services) applications are amongst the most popular with today’s wireless subscribers. And they’re forecast to become much more popular still: IEMR (IE Market Research Corporation) recently released a report projecting that the global market for GPS navigation and LBS will rise by 51.3 percent through 2014, to $13.4 billion! With this huge prospective market on offer, there is a continuous need to come up with new innovative services. Obviously, using LBS on a smart...

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By Eng-Hua Yap On June 1, 2010
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“OK! We’ve got you checked in @ Restaurant XYZ. Your phone thinks you’re a little far from Restaurant XYZ, so no points or badges for this checkin. Sorry!”  But, I’m ALREADY in the restaurant, eating my edamame and drinking my mojito! If you are familiar with the situation above, you’re probably like me—one of those people with a smartphone who’ve jumped onto the bandwagon of using foursquare, the latest buzz in mobile social applications. If ...

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In the first installment of this blog I said I’d adjust the topic based on reader feedback. As we prepare for 4G, certain RF testing topics keep coming up, so I’m going to derail our topic thread. By the way, while I do appreciate your emails (most of them, anyway… as to the others, you know who you are...), some good questions and comments might have stimulated useful conversations had they been shared publicly. We ask for contact info when you comment, but we won’t release that to any...

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我们上一篇博文 (权衡各种选择:测试真实世界中A-GPS性能的三种方法) 中讨论了测试真实世界中A-GPS性能的方法,最终的建议是采用基于实验室的模拟方法。实验室模拟具有环境可重复、设置简便、测试时间短、自动采集结果和增强手机性能基准能力等特点,因此似乎是最理想的方法。但事实上,在我们讨论的三种方法中,实验室模拟并不是使用最广泛的方法。原因是什么呢? 对于测试新手而言,要想正确地实现真实的实验室模拟是非常困难的。精确模拟多个运动状态下的卫星,而且这些卫星还要以无线方式向运动中的接收机发送信号,同时还要存在信号扭曲、反射和受移动物体阻挡,再加上大气条件的变化,整个模拟过程将变得极为复杂。事实上,思博伦在过去的20年中一直致力于此项业务,因此思博伦对此了如指掌,这一切都是通过思博伦的巨大努力才得以实现! 然而,如果您同意,我们认为实验室模拟不需要在呈现真实世界时达到完美的程度,而只需要“足够好”即可,并将达到这一标准的实验室模拟作为A-GNSS设计和验证的一个基本组成部分。在本文的讨论中,我们将“足够好”的意义定义为: ...

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By Ash Mahjoubi-Amine, Spirent On September 1, 2009
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It’s time to answer a question from a couple of weeks back: “if fading is so random, how can we control and quantify what it’s doing?” In other words, how do we express it, record it and eventually repeat it? One key concept is the idea of Level Crossing Rates (LCR). At a high level, all this means is that a) we choose a level below which we say a fade is a “deep fade”, and b) count the rate at which fades dip below this level.      For a Rayleigh-faded sign...

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By Manikantan Parameswaran On August 18, 2009
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我们的上一篇文章]介绍的是,移动设备的A-GPS功能在真实世界具体表现典型预测方法方面的相关问题。本文将更详细地探讨一些潜在的解决方案。 为了理解真实环境下移动设备A-GPS性能测试中面临的各种困难,我们首先需要简要回顾目前最常用的一些测试技术。这些技术包括路测、记录和重放,以及模拟和建模(本系列文章中所讨论的方法)。 (1)路测 最简单的路测首先需要找到具备所需地理特性的地点;例如可以选择城市环境或郊区公路的具体线路,因为在这样的线路上会遇到一些已知的困难。这样做的目的是为设备提供一个典型最终用户环境中所具备的常见特性。除绘出设备线路外,通常还需要选择具体的时间和日期,将卫星轨道模式也考虑在内,即所谓的星历表。在测试计划完成后,便可评价一些关键的标准,例如成功定位的百分比、定位的精度、定位所需的时间等。 此类方法的主要优势非常明显:这些结果提供了网络和设备性能的最全面情况。要想对性能做出全面的定性,路测和由此衍生出来的其它方法都是必不可少的,而且具有不可替代的价值。然而,单纯的路测仍然有一些不足之处。 首先,当路线绘制出来后,路测时的实际环境特性并不受测试者的控制...

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By Ash Mahjoubi-Amine, Spirent On August 10, 2009
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My last posting (weeks ago…sorry) pointed out that wireless channels are unpredictable and rarely repeatable. Yet we have channel models that purport to let us test how our receivers under real-world RF conditions. How? As in all of communications engineering, channel modeling is based on statistics. What we need is a large amount of empirical fading data from which we can extract the statistical properties of the data set and replicate them in an RF “pipe”. I should point out tha...

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By Brock Butler On August 4, 2009
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The online Dictionary.com defines the idiom “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” as being “between undesirable alternatives”. What does this have to do with Assisted GPS (A-GPS) testing? There are two prevailing approaches for testing A-GPS capability in mobile devices: (1) Conformance testing to the industry-defined certification standards and/or (2) Testing on live networks in the field – most commonly referred to as drive testing. While both approaches are useful and necessary, neither one p...

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By Ash Mahjoubi-Amine, Spirent On July 17, 2009
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If you’ve ever spent time discussing electromagnetic (EM) fields as an undergrad, you may not have thought of EM as a simple topic… the math looked impressive and the concepts were new. But unless you specialized in wireless, the discussion of fields most of us saw was pretty cursory. It was tough enough getting our heads around Maxwell’s equations without involving any seriously realistic field scenarios. Most of us learned enough about fields to move on to transmission line theory, which i...

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For some, dealing with all those new RF technologies like antenna diversity, MIMO and beamforming (in all its incarnations) is part of the job description. But many of us who deal less directly with the radio access network can benefit with a bit of knowledge about some of the arcane but interesting aspects of modern radio technology. Since I have the pleasure of working with some of the world’s leading experts in this field, this blog is an attempt to translate their very detailed knowledge...

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Let’s face it – wireless can’t match wireline for voice reliability. How many times have you experienced dropped call while in a moving car or train? How many times have you been unable to make a call while the person next to you continues with his or her conversation? And who did you blame? Your device, or your network operator? Consumers are definitely in charge with many choices for mobile devices and network operators. They have shown a willingness to pay for the latest features and...

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