31 May 2012
Livingston streamlines mobile network testing
Test equipment sourcing business, Livingston, is providing ATS-Group with the hardware and software needed to enable an innovative, more streamlined approach for testing the performance of mobile communications networks (commonly known as drive testing).
ATS-Group has been contracted by a mobile operator to execute drive tests across the whole of London, for analysis of base stations now being deployed to serve the nation’s capital and combat the growing issue of wireless congestion.
Normally this type of testing has to be executed via equipment that is housed in vans. However, ATS-Group has developed a unique solution where the complete system can be carried on a motorbike.
This has three major advantages over the conventional, cumbersome methodology. Firstly, it is more agile, as motorbikes have proved to be considerably better than vans at coping with the urban environment – easily negotiating their way through the traffic that clogs the arterioles of the city.
Secondly, it has a far lower ecological impact, as less fuel is consumed to carry out the tests. Finally, the running costs involved will be markedly less.
The equipment being used consists of a PCTEL SeeGull EX-quad high performance scanning receiver connected to an antenna, plus three Sony Ericsson test handsets. All of this hardware fits in the motorbike’s side and back pannier boxes.
Data from the handsets and scanner is fed into a Samsung tablet PC, which acts as the system hub, held in the fuel tank bag just in front of the rider.
The system runs the Ascom TEMS Investigation data acquisition software platform, with external scanner support included.
Having stopped after carrying out tests in one area, the engineer riding the motorbike can examine the data that has come in and quickly send it off to the operations centre, without having to dismount, then move on to the next area, saving valuable time.
With testing activity already underway, ATS-Group now hopes to apply this simple but effective approach to other cities in the near future.
According to Nick Clarke, Sales Manager at Livingston, “The new drive test technique that ATS-Group has pioneered will have a major effect on the way this activity is undertaken. This is something that will be of particular value in and around London this summer, given the added number of people likely to be using the roads.”
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