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LTE drives network protocol analyzers

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE? wireless? protocol analyzers? network? monitoring?

The deployment of long-term evolution (LTE) networks delivering data rates up to 100Mbps will present a challenge for wireless operators as they manage their network and services while delivering customer satisfaction, according to Frost & Sullivan. This, in turn, will create opportunities for world wireless protocol analyzers and network monitoring systems from 2010 to 2016.

The market analyst reports that the market for world wireless protocol analyzers and network monitoring systems earned $575.3 million in 2009, and estimates that it will reach $850.6 million in 2016.

"With the exponential growth of smartphones, mobile data revenues expect to contribute more to total mobile services revenues," says Olga Yashkova, program manager, Frost & Sullivan. "Operators now require more sophisticated information relating to the nature, location and timing of traffic because it drives growth for network and service troubleshooting and management and optimization solutions," according to Yashkova.

While wireless operators are experiencing increases in data traffic, it does not translate into revenue increases. Exponential increases in traffic put tremendous strain on mobile networks and the success of flat-rate wireless Internet access leads to unique requirements for network service troubleshooting tools and protocol analysis-based optimization.

Growing mobile data usage creates more traffic on the network, thus leading to increased demand for QoS and QoE testing. With increased mobile data usage, there comes a technology change related to the transmission pipeline, for instance, conversion from the copper to optical technologies. Such transition creates new opportunities for testing 1-, 10- , 40- and 100Gbit/s pipelines for vendors.

The availability of freeware analyzer tools in the market presents a challenge. Vendors expect this bottleneck to continue influencing end-user purchasing behavior, especially with the addition of LTE technology. In the early stages of the technology, testing proved to be rather simple due to a limited number of network signals and just a few functionalities in those network elements.

"During the initial stages of technology development, a NEM or NO often possessed access to a free tool for basic testing activities, such as verifying if a limited number of messages are being uploaded," says Yashkova. "It becomes absolutely necessary, later in the technology phase, to invest in sophisticated analyzers, as both the technology itself and testing become more complex."

Users of test equipment solutions realize that freeware tools will no longer suffice as testing time minimizes by investing in a proper analyzer. One way that test equipment vendors can address this issue is by developing applications that bring a tremendous amount of usability value in terms of features and efficiency.

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