LTE's Promise Depends on Network Testing
Currently, more than 10,000 new Android applications are downloaded each month. Add to that the 230,000 iPhone applications and 550,000 Facebook applications downloaded each month, and it is easy to see that users want applications and services on their mobile phones, laptops and other wireless devices, and they want them always on and always available. This is why many operators are looking to Long Term Evolution (LTE) to meet those demands.
The attraction of LTE is, in large part, that the network provides more-than-adequate speed and bandwidth to access and deliver multi-play services. And while some operators continue to weigh the pros and cons of LTE vs. WiMax, others already are putting their money behind LTE, claiming it is the only wireless access method that can handle the expected tenfold increase in network performance demands.
But operators must face up to the challenges of deploying LTE. Providers must consider the amount of traffic LTE networks will carry, and they must determine – before launching the network – how to handle such traffic and troubleshoot it so that service quality does not suffer and customers do not churn.
The need to test LTE networks before, during and after deployment is the focus of the latest Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, "LTE Providers Look to Testing to Verify Planned Networks." Companies analyzed in this report include: Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A); Anritsu Corp. ; AT4 Wireless Inc. ; Azimuth Systems Inc. ; EXFO (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF); Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA); JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU); Mu Dynamics ; Signalion GmbH ; Spirent Communications plc ; and Tektronix Inc. .
One of the biggest issues for LTE operators is quality of service (QoS). LTE networks must support multi-play applications for voice, video and data on a single IP-based infrastructure. These converged services have unique traffic handling and QoS requirements.
Such issues cannot be economically solved through over-provisioning; a positive user experience must be obtained through efficient partitioning of the available wireless network resources. If an LTE network is not implemented properly, service quality will suffer, customers will churn and operators will lose their early-to-market advantage.
By the end of 2010, more than 135 networks had trials or plans to launch LTE commercially, a significant increase from 2009. Furthermore, carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) were already planning LTE handsets for 2011. And by 2015, wireless carriers will deliver multi-play services to more than 2 billion subscribers.
But all of these predictions for success and growth will not matter if LTE fails to live up to the quality expectations of consumers. For operators to continue building on the success of wireless applications and services, they must implement testing strategies that ensure LTE lives up to its promise.
— Denise Culver, Research Analyst, 4G/LTE Insider
This report,"LTE Providers Look to Testing to Verify Planned Networks," is available as part of an annual subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/4glte.