Small Cell Forum and ITRI wrap up LTE Plugfest for private EPC

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Small Cell Forum (SCF) said it has successfully completed its fifth LTE Plugfest, hosted by Taiwanese technology institute ITRI, with a focus on interoperability for private EPC (evolved packet core).

SCF said this Plugfest was one of the first events in the world to test interoperability for private EPCs, which are key enablers for enterprise private networks and are expected to present a significant growth opportunity for small cells – but only if they can work with the mobile operator’s network seamlessly and reliably.

“When the small cell can be combined with a compact EPC, a host of new service opportunities can be opened up,” said Small Cell Forum chair David Orloff.

SCF said the success of the Plugfest is a major step towards achieving a compact platform (comprising a small cell and localized EPC) that enterprises can trust to support their specific mobile needs, while also being able to communicate with the main mobile core.

The tests also focused on another key enabler – shared or deregulated spectrum, highlighting the potential for new wide-spread services at affordable deployment cost.

The EPC Plugfest was proposed by SCF board member SoftBank. As part of the event, ITRI invited companies to connect small cells to its network and to test them for interoperability and interference.

Participants had the opportunity for remote testing as well as collaborative work in the specialized ITRI labs.  Participating companies included Private EPC vendors Alpha Networks, Athonet, Druid Software, Quortus, and small cell vendors Arcadyan, Alpha Networks, ITRI and Node-H (who provided reference small cells for the event). Technical support was provided by SoftBank, ITRI and Magnum, a.i.

Private EPC and small cell vendors conducted a series of GSMA and SCF specified tests on the S1, S6a and S8 interfaces, with emphasis on S6a and the S8 interface between private and carrier network EPCs, including VoLTE roaming.

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