"Methodical Automation Process for 5G Site Verification"
5G Site Acceptance Automation
Mobile network test and measurement automation have been around since the heyday of the 2G network. It was often pitched as the recommended solution for wide-scale and long-term network performance monitoring using remote measurement probes to significantly improve operational efficiency and capture critical trending data, especially within high network traffic areas.
Test automation involves carefully designed test plans to match the various use case scenarios and operate with the most efficient processes. Apart from standardizing efficient workflows, it also minimizes human errors in managing any laborious test and measurement projects.
The evolution of mobile network technology also introduces new challenges to test and measurement automation. As mobile network operators (MNO) around the globe are racing to roll out their first 5G network, they are also faced with new tasks of ensuring the commissioned 5G sites conformed to the new quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) expected by their subscribers.
5G Use Cases
Whether it is a Standalone (SA) or Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G network, there are several key 5G use cases that MNOs would certainly need to verify, such as Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (uRLLC), Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC), and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).
The acceptance test criteria however very much depend on the system architecture deployment selected by the MNO e.g., SA or NSA. This means the accessibility, retainability, mobility, integrity, and availability key performance indicators (KPIs) for NSA network depends on both the 5G and 4G performance, whilst SA network would depend on the 5G performance.
Some of the Market
Requirements and Challenges
• Comprehensive automation on terminal side configuration and test procedures to minimize human errors while ensuring operational efficiency and integrity.
• Instant access to the verification result on both test terminal and automation platform for task completion or re-test decision.
• Test status indicator (e.g., before, during, after, completion/failure reasons) on the cell level from the automation platform.
• Multi-tasks individual verification (instead of a single task) per cell to ensure external elements that may hinder verification progression of one task will not affect the other.
• Report generation facility on the test terminal to instantly determine the necessity for test repetition or proceed with data upload to automation platform.
• A device management platform to view and manage the usage of all test terminals.
• Ability to define and assign test routes from the automation platform to the test terminals with exception alarms e.g., GPS route diversion.
Site Acceptance Tests
Upon the completion of 5G site installation and commissioning, it is time to proceed with the site acceptance tests. This is important to verify key network features and radio functionality. The test is either performed as a drive test or stationary test depending on the KPIs, with commercial test phones and 5G network.
With DingLi’s Pilot Walktour and Pilot Fleet Edge solution, a 5G site acceptance test process involves verification of the following KPIs and services:
Pilot Walktour Android for automated 5G site acceptance test
• Powerful handheld test and measurement tool developed based on the latest commercial smartphone devices in the market.
• Extremely portable and easy to use solution that captures measurement data from the subscriber’s perspective.
• Designed to operate in both, indoor and outdoor mobile network environment.
• Interactive operation interface and dynamic data measurement views.
• Provides easy access to the required page for quick configuration and measurement verification.
• Multi-technology and provides the latest network and services test requirement.
Pilot Fleet Edge system for remote test management and monitoring
Pilot Fleet Edge is a multi-technology and fully autonomous system for remote mobile network testing, benchmarking, and monitoring. Pilot Fleet Edge is designed with advanced features such as a web-based application platform, cloud-based storage, multi-technology with SA/NSA 5G support, and Linux operating system.
Users may deploy and manage Pilot Fleet Edge on their own servers, host it on the cloud, or subscribe as SaaS
Automated 5G Site Acceptance Process
Pilot Fleet Edge and Pilot Walktour Automation Process
Each evolution of radio access technology (RAT) comes with a new set of challenges from network design, site integration, initial tuning, acceptance, and optimization. With 5G, a conventional site acceptance test may not be the most optimal method, as MNOs are now faced with new 5G network features and radio functionality. DingLi’s modern automated solution for 5G site acceptance tests is designed to significantly improve operational efficiency and flexibility of the process, therefore allowing MNOs to offer the best QoS and QoE to their subscribers and reduce time-to-market.