Fifth MCX Plugtests Event Sees 95% Success Rate
Thursday, November 05, 2020 | Comments

The Fifth European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) MCX Plugtests saw a 95% success rate in its testing. While three of the previous four plugtests events were held in person and the fifth was originally planned to be in-person, the fifth event was held virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The plugtests event ran from September 21 to October 2 and tested mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT), mission-critical data (MCData) and mission-critical video (MCVideo) application servers and clients, as well railway-oriented features for the first time. Testing was also done on IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) and evolved multimedia broadcast multicast services (eMBMS) components, as well as floor control, affiliation, mission-critical bearers handling, multicast and server-to-server communications.

The tests were based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 15 and 173 participants completed more than 1,300 test over 170 test sessions. Observations that were collected during the event will be forwarded to 3GPP working groups for clarifications, said Harald Ludwig, chairman of the TCCA Technical Forum, during the virtual Critical Communications Week (CCWeek) event.

Test cases included ones used in past plugtests events as well as new ones developed by ETSI. ETSI has now developed more than 200 test cases and plans to release an updated version of ETSI TS 103 564, which contains all the test specifications. Before it can be released, the ETSI Technical Committee (TC) TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution (TCCE) must approve it.

The tests were performed remotely using the Hub for Integration and Validation at ETSI (HIVE). The HIVE allowed vendor labs to securely interconnect into ETSI’s system and connect with other vendor labs for the interoperability testing.

The plugtests also included a two-day online observer program that brought together user organizations, public-safety operators, government associations and associations from Europe and the U.S. These organizations provided progress on mission-critical services deployment in various countries.

Find the full report on the tests here.

The next plugtests event will be held sometime in 2021. During the CCWeek session, an attendee asked if the next plugtests would include testing of interworking with LMR systems such as TETRA and Project 25 (P25). Ludwig and ETSI Project Manager Saurav Arora said that would depend on progress in 3GPP standards for interworking.

“Interworking with TETRA and P25 will be done once the standards are ready,” said Ludwig. “This is expected for 2021. We will see if the standards come in time for the next plugtests.”

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