Terminal testing for network operators: the applications and limitations of a network simulator: Page 7 of 7

July 13, 2015 // By Francois Ortolan, Anritsu (EMEA)
Mobile phone subscribers care nothing about the complex mix of factors underlying the performance of their handset in the real world. By and large, if the user experiences a dropped call, or a low data download rate, or poor voice quality, he or she will blame the network operator. The real cause of the poor performance might be the handset, or the backhaul network - factors outside the direct control of the operator. To subscribers, this is irrelevant: they pay for mobile network service, and if they do not get it, the service provider must be at fault.
Limitations of simulation as a platform for handset testing

It should be noted that a network simulator is designed to test the performance of a single device under test: simulation is not normally appropriate for stressing the multi-user scheduler algorithm of the base station.

Multiple simulators can be used to simulate multiple base stations, and they may be coupled with faders to simulate multi-path interference/MIMO scenarios.

The benefit of testing in a laboratory environment, however, is that the tests are easy to repeat, and allow the operator to create any set of network conditions in order to stress-test a handset. Of course, no set of test scenarios can exactly mimic every possible condition in the live network. But the simulator plays a crucial part in the operator's overall strategy for assessing and validating the operation of terminals in the live network.

The author, Francois Ortolan is a Regional Wireless Specialist at Anritsu (EMEA).


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