MCPTT Testing Event to Validate Standard, Vendor Interoperability
Tuesday, May 30, 2017 | Comments
The first tests for mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT) interoperability will take place in a few weeks. From June 19 – 23, a plugtest offers vendors a unique opportunity to validate and test products with real implementations and debug prototypes, while contributing to the standards validation effort, said industry officials.

The main focus for the first MCPTT Plugtest will be MCPTT server to client communications including multicast with evolved multimedia broadcast multicast (eMBMS) services. The technology is included in Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 13.

The event will be held at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) facilities in Sophia Antipolis, France. The first conference calls for the event began last year, and biweekly calls between vendors are under way.

“The event is voluntary to participate in and is for building confidence,” said Adrian Scrase, ETSI chief technology officer (CTO). “There is no way for manufacturers to know if their products are interoperable unless they test.”

The interoperability tests will validate end-to-end functionality between communications systems with a focus on many different test pairings. The same setup will be run with different vendor combinations, about 200 in total. More than 20 vendors are participating, but a vendor is not required to implement all the interfaces.

Harald Ludwig, chairman of the TCCA Technical Forum, said the vendor participants include LTE network infrastructure providers Ericsson and Huawei; eMBMS vendors; MCPTT server and client suppliers including Airbus Defence and Space, Harris and Hytera Communications; device makers such as Bittium Wireless; and IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) providers.

Ten organizations including the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.K. Home Office are registered observers for the plugtest. Many of the observers are governmental entities that plan to roll out public-safety LTE networks.

“The users have the power to ask for standards-based solutions, and they can apply the pressure,” Ludwig said. “The observers will be interested in who participates. There are already questions about why a vendor is not participating.”

ETSI’s test reporting tool will track results, which are only available to the specific vendor. General statistics will be made public after the event but not specifics for each vendor and product. Most information is protected under nondisclosure agreements (NDAs).

ETSI will fund the testing environment with some support from the European Union (EU), while vendors will cover their own travel and other costs. ETSI has a lab and team of experts to test various technologies and products from MCPTT to Europe’s eCall crash notification technology.

The proposed test scope encompasses about 48 test cases. Pre-testing implemented seven test cases using remote connects from vendors. More plugtests are planned every six to 12 months and will include more vendors, features and products.

“At this stage of the game, the most important feedback is to the standard itself,” said Scrase. “If two vendors implemented it in different ways, then they interpreted the standard differently, so the standard is not clear, and we need to rewrite it. We can predict a large number of comments will be fed back [to 3GPP].”

More and different vendors are likely to participate in subsequent plugtests to ensure compliant products. “If what you’re selling isn’t compliant, there is no point in coming to the tests,” Ludwig said.

The current interoperability testing must be complemented with conformance testing. 3GPP RAN5, the working group responsible for user equipment testing, is working on conformance test cases, with information expected by 2018.

“It’s very important that we have a global solution,” said Phil Kidner, TCCA CEO. “Because ETSI is our partner, they are set up to get global cooperation. Critical communications users want to ensure everything is working.”

Would you like to comment on this story? Find our comments system below.

Post a comment
Name: *
Email: *
Title: *
Comment: *


No Comments Submitted Yet

Be the first by using the form above to submit a comment!


March 2023

27 - 30
International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) 2023
Las Vegas

May 2023

23 - 25
Critical Communications World (CCW)
Helsinki, Finland

More Events >
White Papers
More White Papers >

Site Navigation