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CDMA interoperability testing

- an overview or tutorial about the basics of cdmaOne / cdma2000 cell phone interoperability testing.

The approach for approvals testing for cdmaOne / CDMA2000 cell phones is that of an interoperability test. Here the emphasis of testing is for interoperability with the network rather than conformance with a specification - the approach that is adopted by the GSM / UMTS fraternity.

For CDMA2000 the standards are written by 3GPP2. This is the equivalent of 3GPP, but for the CDMA standard IS-2000. These standards are then published by the relevant standards body for a particular area. In North America this is TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association), for Japan it is ARIB (Association of Radio Industries and Businesses) etc..

In North America, testing is carried out under the auspices of either CDG (CDMA Development Group) or CTIA.

Documents written by CDG reference the 3GPP2 and TIA standards. Testing is then conducted in three stages, namely Stages 1, 2, and 3. Stage 1 testing verifies the RF performance of a system, checking parameters such as receiver sensitivity, performance under fading conditions and the like. Stage 2 is what is known as the Cabled Interoperability Testing. Here the protocols of the mobile handset are checked against a base station to ensure the mobile performs in the correct manner under a variety of conditions such as call set-up, handoff, and the like. Finally there is the Stage 3 testing. This is undertaken by an operator and consists of running the mobile on a live network to ensure that it works over the air. This may include what is termed a drive test where the mobile is driven around a live network and its performance checked under real conditions.

The testing carried out under CTIA auspices is undertaken by approved laboratories. They use test equipment to simulate the network, and tests similar to those in CDG Stages 1 and 2 are employed. Once mobile phones successfully pass the CTIA tests they are given an approval certificate.

Different test requirements are placed upon handset manufacturers by the various network operators, and therefore phones may undergo a variety of tests under either or both the CDG and CTIA auspices.

By Ian Poole

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