Radcom Looks to Ease the Pain

Last month’s blunt revelation from Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes that GPRS networks may not be quite up to scratch (see Wireless Nets Suck, Says Expert) highlighted the potential problems carriers could face when rolling out new data networks.

Hot on its heals, network testing company Radcom Inc. (Nasdaq: RDCM) has announced the GPRS Consultant Suite, which is designed to ease the pain (see Radcom Tests GPRS).

Available next month, the suite is an addition to its Cellular Performer that already provides carriers with the ability to test their UMTS networks. The GPRS kit delivers real-time session analysis and monitoring of GPRS radio access and core networks, Radcom says.

All very interesting, but what Unstrung really wants to know is just how close to the truth Agilent’s Rice Williams was when he commented that none of the GPRS networks in existence today are capable of attaining decent quality-of-service levels. “They are uniformly terrible. They think their networks are working perfectly and are shocked to see such results,” he remarked at the time.

According to Radcom’s U.K. marketing manager, Kevin Redmond, Williams was spot on. “GPRS networks definitely aren’t reaching their potential,” he concurs. “People within the networks don’t know how well their system is working, and most of them don’t have anything to help optimize them. They need a way of checking whether the quality of service perceived by the customer is up to standard.”

It’s an issue also worrying the analyst community. IDC’s senior research analyst Paolo Pescatore is concerned about the way GPRS networks have been designed, believing that shortfalls in the design process have led to network capacity problems. “In the last year operators have been pushing MMS and other new services. All these services have to be transported over GPRS networks, but the networks just aren’t robust enough to handle such traffic loads,” he warns. — Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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