Beyond Conformance Testing in 3GPP LTE
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard was formally frozen in March 2009. The freezing of the standard speeds up LTE product development and testing. This White Paper introduces the 3GPP LTE technology and discusses the conformance and beyond conformance test aspects. The paper describes how LTE products, systems and applications are tested in a realistic wireless environment – not in the field but in a laboratory.
The benefits of beyond conformance testing compared to standard conformance testing are explained. LTE terminal and base station manufacturers as well as operators are recommended to go beyond basic testing and carry out performance measurements already in the early phases of LTE product development. The White Paper also discusses the different testing methods and introduces key radio channel models which can be used in the testing process.
In the past few years mobile data usage has experienced a remarkable growth. Mobile subscribers are increasingly using the cellular networks to access the I nternet and other data services. This trend is showing no signs of slowing. Figure 1 illustrates an estimation of the total data growth in mobile networks for the near future. Many telecom operators have been reporting a 6- to 14-fold increase in mobile data consumption from 2007. [Source: Rysavy Research, EDGE, HSPA and LTE - Broadband I nnovation, N ovember 2008].
Mobile Data Business Drivers
The key business driver for the significant growth in mobile data consumption is the recent breakthrough of broadband wireless access (broadband wireless access) technologies such as WLAN, U MTS/HSPA, LTE and WiMAX. The increase in the data traffic from cellular subscribers is driven by easy and ubiquitous access from laptop computers with cellular USB dongles, as well as new laptop models featuring built-in cellular interfaces. This access method is made feasible by the flat rate billing model that is becoming increasingly popular with operators. The increased data rates also make it possible to introduce many new, innovative services.