ETSI mission-critical LTE interoperability tests score 85% success

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The first ETSI Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT) interoperability test sessions for mission-critical LTE equipment wrapped up last week with an 85% success rate, according to ETSI.

The Plugtests event was held at ETSI headquarters in Sophia Antipolis, France, in partnership with the TCCA, the representative body for the global critical communications community. The event featured 140 participants from 19 vendors, and was observed by seven government and public safety network operator organizations from Belgium, Finland, France, Norway and the UK.

The tests are based on 3GPP, ETSI and IETF standards. For this first session, a test specification has been developed for the 3GPP Release 13 MCPTT, comprising 47 test cases. The final tests of the MCPTT Plugtests event included pre-arranged and chat mode Group Calls, which involved several MCPTT clients, a control room, a LTE cab radio and a TETRA radio.

More than 1000 tests were conducted, with a success rate of 85%.

As commercial products are developed, the TCCA will implement the vendor certification process for mission-critical products and applications, including MCPTT.

“Our key goal is to have one global standard for MCPTT,” said Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA.

“This first event demonstrates the commitment of the industry to ensuring that mission-critical LTE equipment adheres to open standards and will be thoroughly tested to ensure complete user confidence once commercial products are available,” said Harald Ludwig, chair of the TCCA’s Technical Forum.

Adrian Scrase, ETSI CTO, said during the event that “the value of the Plugtests is not only for the vendors in testing their implementations, but also in finding issues in the 3GPP specifications, which will be fed back to the 3GPP working groups.”

3GPP has been catalyzed by the work of the TCCA to ensure that LTE supports mission-critical communications, with MCPTT now specified in 3GPP Release 13.

Although the PMR market shows no signs of slowing, mission-critical broadband LTE will offer complementary capabilities, and its market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20%, from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $2.6 billion in 2020, according to IHS Markit. Planned nationwide rollouts in the United States, South Korea, the UK, the Middle East and Asian countries are expected to trigger significant large-scale investments in mission-critical LTE.

The next MCPTT Plugtests sessions are planned for Q2 2018.

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