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Protocol analyzer helps deploy triple-play UMTS services

Posted: 13 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Tektronix? umts? universal mobile telecommunications system? utran? umts terrestrial radio access network?

Test-and-measurement house Tektronix is rolling out a new generation UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network) protocol analyzer. Tek's new platform delivers UMTS data capture and realtime analysis hardware, facilitating the deployment of so-called triple play services over 3G (third generation) UMTS networks. UMTS is now considered the world's choice for 3G wireless service delivery, as defined by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union).

A word about triple play voice, data, and video services: This is the new imperative for service providers. However, it requires a sophisticated infrastructure.

Field challenges

With an increasingly more complex radio system than in any previous wireless system, UMTS raises challenges in the design, deployment, and operation of 3G mobile networks. Engineers and technicians operating in the field require portability, extensive flexibility, and performance to solve problems that have been identified. They need fast and flexible tools in order to capture relevant data for offline analysis.

That's where Tek's new PC-based platform comes in. Dubbed the NSA18, it consists of portable network probes. It also leverages Tektronix's NDSA (Network and Service Analyzer) for UTRAN software that was announced earlier this year for the company's K15 protocol test and monitoring platform.

The new 3G protocol analysis platform facilitates deployment of triple-play services over UMTS radio access networks by providing automated topology discovery, and detailed analysis of interactions between UMTS network components. It also assists deployment by enabling portability of test equipment between test sites, field use, and a number of configuration options.

Multiple probesBR>

Beginning with configurations containing only a single STM-1/OC-3 bi-directional link probe, the NSA18 also provides scalability to meet budget requirements and performance. With automated analysis algorithms and integrated auto-configuration, the NSA18 reduces the time required to perform troubleshooting and root-cause analysis on complex, multi-port and multi-protocol problems.

With a low entry price and its modular scalable architecture, the NSA18 monitoring platform gives you the flexibility to plan investments. The NSA18 monitoring platform is designed to accommodate 3G with reduced acquisition and upgrade costs.

The NSA18's scalable platform starts with a single link (stand-alone probe), scaling to a high number of links (multi-probe). This addresses the varied needs of network operators and equipment manufacturers.

First introduced last February, the NSA for UTRAN software can now run on an external PC and can be seamlessly used to analyze data collected with both the K15 and the new NSA18 UTRAN monitoring hardware platforms. This flexibility of configuration lets mobile network operators and equipment manufacturers obtain value and protect their investment in test equipment.

Troubleshooting efficiency

The NSA for UTRAN software provides fully automated instrument configuration for Iub, Iur, Iu-CS, and Iu-PS interfaces, as well as the ability to perform Multi Interface Call Trace with user plane tracking capability. The NSA for UTRAN also provides automated network topology discovery, enabling troubleshooting of live 3G networks that otherwise wouldn't be possible.

Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators provide the ability to relate breakdowns per service (i.e. voice, video, packet), per network element (cell, NodeB, RNC, SGSN, MSC), per call, and per subscriber (IMSI, MSISDN) to communication protocol events in the network infrastructure. This built-in intelligence lets you navigate through data results to narrow the scope of a problem to isolate the ultimate root cause. Without such applications, it might take a technician hours to identify proper network parameters (VPI, VCI, CID) for configuration before starting to perform troubleshooting.

Cell overlapping matrix

UMTS cell coverage areas also overlap one another. That means network operators have the challenge to prepare reliable cell planning to guarantee high QoS (quality of service). When a UMTS handset reaches the boundary of the coverage area of one cell, it has to be guaranteed that interference from adjacent cells will not interfere with the radio link quality and user-perceived QoS. If the interference is too strong, service deteriorates, reliable handover operations to an adjacent cell can be impeded, and the user connection can possibly be terminated.

With NSA for UTRAN, operators are able to display the interference levels between any two cells. Using this system's Cell Overlapping Matrix application, network operators can see the influence of adjacent cells on the cell under analysis. The Cell Overlapping Matrix also reduces time for network reconfiguration tasks, such as populating the RNC cell neighboring list and creating a cell scrambling code plan.

- Alex Mendelsohn


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