First comprehensive test system to validate and optimise LTE performance

October 31, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
As the first 4G LTE network rolls out in the UK, test vendor Ixia has launched a system that allows engineers to validate LTE base station performance for enhanced network quality.

XAir creates mobile user behaviour to provide operators with performance insight to make informed equipment selection, design resilient mobile networks, accurately plan capacity and quickly troubleshoot problems. It supports three critical dimensions of LTE network validation, realistic subscriber and service modelling, massive scalability, and comprehensive QoE measurements. Support of all three elements is critical to properly evaluate LTE base stations. XAir provides realistic subscriber modelling, supporting web, voice and video applications, all LTE mobility types, and modelling of radio characteristics — cell edge, cell centre and user movements. With support for more than 1,000 emulated user equipment’s per sector and more than 6,000 per chassis, XAir is a highly scalable solution. Using XAir carriers can optimise voice quality, including voice over LTE (VoLTE) and video quality by stressing the infrastructure with real-world traffic and measuring QoE. Other features include complete end-to-end LTE network testing from the LTE base station, through the mobile backhaul and core networks, all the way to the datacenter, QoE analysis and scoring of each traffic stream and mobility over multiple sectors. A built-in high-accuracy 10 MHz clock allows eNB synchronisation and XAir is fully compatible with the Ixia XM and XG chassis and load modules for seamless testing with other Ixia hardware and test applications.
LTE is the fastest-growing mobile technology ever, with the LTE infrastructure market projected to grow to $17.5 billion by 2016, according to leading research firm Infonetics. But before operators spend billions of dollars on LTE equipment and deployments, they must evaluate and validate the network QoE before it is deployed live to subscribers. LTE base stations are at the heart of LTE networks, and as such, their performance, capacity and quality significantly affect the perceived network QoE.
“As consumers continue to adopt LTE-ready devices, it’s important that operators are able to offer these services while adhering to the expected quality of experience and ensuring that base stations are ready for real-world