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Analyzer checks 3G cellular video

Posted: 03 Dec 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analyzer? performance analyzer? radcom equipment? software? realtime?

Have you been watching video on your cellphone? If not, you probably will be soon! As cellular systems advance from 2.5G to 3Gand designers eye next-generation networksit looks like video will be an everyday feature, available on most handsets.

For vendors and infrastructure providers, video services are coming to be regarded as a major way to increase ARPU (average revenue per unit). As the phenomena of cellphone video gains momentum, and suppliers enjoy boosted ARPU numbers, test equipment makers are already offering ways to analyze and test cellphone video QoS (quality of service).

Realtime video troubleshooting
A new analyzer applications adjunct from UK-based Radcom Equipment is a case in point. Radcom's software will now let you monitor and troubleshoot cellular video servicein realtime.

Rolled out at the recent 3G World Congress and Exhibition in Hong Kong, Radcom's software, when used on the company's existing Cellular Performer Analyzer hardware platform, can monitor end-to-end cellular video service quality over 3G networks.

For its part, the Cellular Performer Analyzer cellular tester is typically used during product development and integration, as well as by cdma2000 operators during network setup, integration and operation.

Priced at about $20,000, the Cellular Performer integrates the company's proprietary GEAR (generic analyzer) processor chip. It provides hardware-based full line-rate analysis capabilities at speeds up to 2.5Gbps.

The Cellular Performer can analyze and troubleshoot cdma2000 network conditions at all seven telecommunication layers, from basic PHY (physical layer) and link layer tests, to tracing of layer voice and IP session signaling and data/voice QoS validation.

The latest executables
The latest 3G Video Analyzer package analyzes video service from the user plane, to the core network and physical connection, indicating the quality of video service delivered by cellular phones operating on various interfaces.

In use, Radcom's software and Cellular Performer box lets device manufacturers and network operators alike monitor and troubleshoot high-quality video sessions. These sessions include video teleconferencing, video streaming, video-on-demand, and interactive video.

Test capability is needed because as wideband realtime services, interoperability problems can arise due to the variety of new cellular handsets in use.

Problems can stem from handling and connecting to many types of video handsets and servers; you have to deal with different types of video services such as teleconferencing, on0demand streaming, and interactive streaming. Other problems can arise from the use of so many diverse signaling protocols and media CODECs, and the wide range of resources used for encoding and decoding video.

Solving the complexity of running wideband realtime video services on cellular networks isn't easy. That's where Radcom's 3G Video Analyzer software comes in, as it helps to isolate problems such as long video setup durations that can cause poor quality video characterized by jerkiness, incorrect audio, blank picture transmission, or poor lip synchronization.

Interoperability woes
These problems and their adverse effects are often the result of interoperability, as well as unstable bandwidth allocation, and the number and diversity of signaling protocols and media CODECs. The analyzer software can cope with these problems however, identifying sources of problems, thus minimizing troubleshooting time. As an add-on to Radcom's existing Cellular Performer product, the 3G Video Analyzer examines video over 3G-324M circuit switch sessions, and functions on RF cellular connections in UMTS and CDMA networks.

The system also analyzes video-over-IP using different IP (Internet Protocol) multimedia signaling protocols. In addition, it can sync multiple video playback of MPEG4 and H.263 sessions of all video participantsin a single view. The unit's perceptual impairment analysis capability also provides objective video quality evaluation, both intrusively and non-intrusively.

Okay, what will this kind of capability set you back? Pricing for the new analyzer executables starts at about $5,000, and a typical well-equipped Cellular Performer system sells for about $35,000. Additional Applications Consultant software packages for the Performer cost about $10,000 each.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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