“LTE is fast becoming a global phenomenon with network operators in all the current CDMA-dominated markets (USA and Asia) in addition to the traditional GSM markets increasingly opting for LTE for their next generation mobile broadband networks,” said Bill Burrows, Business Development Manager at Aeroflex Test Solutions. “The decision to accelerate our new feature roadmap for the Aeroflex 7100 is designed to support their similarly aggressive roll-out plans and the demanding test requirements this places on developers designing new chip-sets, protocol stacks and devices supporting the LTE standard.”
The accelerated roll-out of new features for the Aeroflex 7100 during 2009 relates to LTE/CDMA2000 inter-working, LTE/UTRAN & GERAN handover, TD-LTE mode and LTE mobile device conformance test.
LTE/ CDMA2000 inter-working: Several major CDMA network operators have announced aggressive plans to adopt LTE as their next generation network technology which will operate in parallel with their existing networks. Both the 3GPP and 3GPP2 standards bodies have actively cooperated to finalise the necessary standards to enable this inter-working to be deployed. The Aeroflex 7100 will introduce the ability to test LTE/CDMA2000 network selection and Idle Mode handoff in Q2 CY2009, followed by Active Mode handover in Q3 CY2009.
LTE/UTRAN & GERAN handover: To provide seamless, global coverage, LTE devices will also need to support 2G/3G access. From Q4 CY2009, the Aeroflex 7100 will provide the ability to test backward compatibility with existing 2G/3G networks by simulating LTE, WCDMA and GSM.
TD-LTE mode: The LTE standard supports both paired and non-paired operation with the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD-LTE) and Time Division Duplex (TD-LTE) modes. The demand for TD-LTE mode is primarily driven by China's decision to adopt it. However, network operators in other countries are also now evaluating TD-LTE. The Aeroflex 7100 will include a TD-LTE test capability in Q4 CY2009.
Conformance testing: The focus of the Aeroflex 7100 is currently on the R&D market. However, it will also provide the signalling unit for future protocol and RF conformance test systems for LTE. The conformance test specifications - 36.521 for RF and 36.523 for protocol - are being proactively developed to ensure that the introduction of certification happens in good time for the commercial launch of LTE networks. Support for TTCN3 will be introduced on the Aeroflex 7100, enabling it to use the standard test cases being generated by ETSI on behalf the 3GPP RAN5 Working Group.
Based on tried and tested Aeroflex RF and baseband technology, the Aeroflex 7100 uniquely supports both RF parametric and protocol testing for LTE terminal devices by simulating the network from the physical layer to the core network IP infrastructure. With its focus primarily on the R&D market from the component to the handset level, the Aeroflex 7100 delivers the most comprehensive testing capability for LTE mobile devices available in a single bench-top instrument.
“Our accelerated product roadmap for the Aeroflex 7100 will ensure that, throughout 2009, it will progressively incorporate all the additional features and functionality needed to meet the aggressive roll-out plans announced by the major network operators, device developers and standards organisations pushing the introduction of LTE as the next generation mobile broadband networks,” concluded Phil Medd, Product Manager for the Aeroflex 7100 LTE handset tester.