Network test system set up for 4G, many-device, IoT support

March 03, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Cobham Wireless’ TM500 network test system has the capability to emulate tens of thousands of Machine Type Communications (MTC) devices, otherwise known as M2M devices. This enables network operators and infrastructure vendors to validate 4G cellular network performance in preparation for deploying Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

The TM500 can evaluate the effect on the network of connecting large numbers of low-power, low-complexity UEs (user equipment) for MTC applications. Using cellular networks to connect MTC devices offers the benefit of wide area coverage on an existing stable network. Non-speech devices that will use MTC will include smart meters, security cameras, environmental sensors, and a whole range of industrial and commercial sensors and controllers. Unlike mobile phones, MTC devices need to have an extended battery life of up to ten years, low unit cost, and a low cost of deployment.


“The main driver for MTC is the widely-publicised forecast that LTE networks will be used to support the development of the Internet of Things,” said Phil Medd, Senior Technical Product Manager at Cobham Wireless. “With billions of non-speech devices expected to be connected over the next 10 years, it is crucial that network operators can optimise the current 4G networks to connect them, rather than needing to wait for the promised 5G capacity increase.”


TM500 is an established network test platform, that validates networks under realistic usage and loading scenarios; this updates adds new 3GPP features enabling the TM500 – Cobham says – to stay ahead of market need, empowering network operators to prove network performance under real-life usage conditions before the availability of actual device hardware.


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Next page; Cobham provides a quick guide to 3GPP advances relevant to M2M/IoT traffic...