Key takeaways from ETSI’s most recent mission-critical services testing

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is continuing its ongoing series of Plugtest events to test the interoperability of mission-critical communications services, including mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT), mission-critical data (MCData) and mission-critical video (MCVideo).

The most recent Plugtest, ETSI’s sixth, was conducted in a hybrid process between November 8-19. Vendors could participate remotely through VPN connections, or they could send equipment to the University of Malaga, Spain, where an on-premise LTE test network was available and UMA personnel were available on-site to run the interoperability test sessions.

Here are the key takeaways from the most recent ETSI mission-critical Plugtest event.

Who participated in the Plugtest?

ETSI said that there were about 150 participants from companies around the world who participated in the testing, from nearly three dozen companies and organizations.

MC application servers from 16 companies were tested, including Ericsson, Airbus, Huawei, Hytera, Motorola Solutions and more. MC clients from 19 companies were tested, including Ericsson, Huawei, Hytera, Motorola Solutions, Samsung and Siemens. There were four user equipment vendors involved, including Sonim, Leonardo, TDtech and Teltronic and three LMR providers, as well as vendors who provided eNodeBs, EPCs and test tools.

What services were tested?

MCPTT, MCData and MCVideo (including new MCVideo call types) were all included in the testing, which was based on 3GPP Release 16. In addition, some features were tested for the first time during the November testing event, including railway-specific features and the Interworking Function (IWF-1) for interactions with Land Mobile Radio systems (TETRA and P25).

ETSI said that more than 1,300 test cases were executed between vendors during the course of the event.

“These tests are essential to ensure seamless access to mission critical services over 4G networks across different vendors’ products and implementations,” the organization noted in the results report.

What were the results?

The Plugtest achieved an overall interoperability success rate of 97.6%, which ETSI said “indicates a very high degree of compatibility among the participating implementations … in the areas of the Test Plan where features were widely supported and the test cases could be executed in most of the Test Sessions.” The organization also said that the high rate of success was also indicative of good preparation and participation in remote integration and the pre-testing phase of the Plugtest.

The specific results of success and failure of various tests were only available to participating vendors, but anonymized information was included in the final report.

The testing also resulted in a list of feedback to standards groups, including 3GPP, on missing or ambiguous standards language that should be clarified, and technical constraints that are faced in deployments of MC services.

The Plugtest event also results in 36 new test cases that were developed during the event that will be added to Plugtest scenarios for MC services; that MCX test specification now has a total of 262 test cases.

The full results report is available from ETSI (pdf).

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