Test and Measurement: RootMetrics data supports remote learning in Texas

When school officials in Harris County, Texas sought to purchase wireless air cards to enable thousands of students to do remote learning, they made their purchase decisions in part based on network performance data from benchmarking and analysis company RootMetrics.

Harris County covers 1,700 square miles and includes the city of Houston, and it has a population of about 4.7 million people. As county officials considered how to address the connectivity needs of thousands of students across more than 30 school districts and more than 1,100 individual schools, they wanted to make air card purchases in each district based on which of the three national carriers had the best coverage in that local area. Even more importantly, RootMetrics says, school officials “needed to understand which carriers offered good signal conditions indoors so that students could experience uninterrupted remote learning.”

The county “had already gathered some coverage data using an application installed on county vehicles and were working with an outside consultant to help drive this project,” RootMetrics noted, and county officials relied on additional data from RootMetrics to fill the data gaps and create a “bigger picture with greater precision.”

“Harris County did not want to rely solely on carrier-issued coverage (marketing) maps to make decisions on the best cellular coverage in each school district,” said Jim McMillan, Assistant CTO for Harris County, in a case study from the company. “With more research, we determined our best course of action was to gather independent, third-party data to ensure we are making the most informed decisions.”

RootMetrics found that T-Mobile US had the best indoor signal strength in 66 zip codes across Harris County, compared to 59 where Verizon’s was the best and 37 where AT&T’s was. “Multiple carriers did offer good indoor signal conditions in some of the same zip codes,” the company noted. Ultimately, RootMetrics said, its data “allowed Harris County officials to quickly determine which carrier’s air card was best suited for each zip code and bring reliable, high-speed internet connectivity to thousands of students in the area.”

Read the case study here.

In other test news:

-5G and IoT are expected to drive growth in the electronic test equipment market, analyst firm Frost & Sullivan says in a new report. Frost anticipates that the market will grow to $18.94 billion by 2025.

Prabhu Karunakaran, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said that semiconductor automatic test equipment “is likely to be the top revenue generator due to the sheer size of the market, ever-increasing end-user demand and the evolution of consumer electronics technologies. Radio frequency test equipment is expected to represent the second-largest revenue opportunity, driven by continuing R&D investments in communications and other verticals—both current and future programs in 5G and 6G—and the commercialization of 5G.” He added that the automotive market is also expected to be a “significant contributor” to the market due to autonomous vehicle projects.

Keysight Technologies said that Auden Techno Corp. of Taiwan has chosen Keysight’s 5G network emulation offerings in order to test devices for various regulatory certification requirements in different countries, including the U.S., Europe and Taiwan.

-Testing and certification lab company Bureau Veritas announced this week that Lou DeLoreto has joined the company in the role of vice president of safety and sustainability for its North American operations, which include 7,000 employees across 130 locations.

EXFO reported this week that it is providing testing and monitoring for Openreach’s extensive fiber roll-out in the U.K. Read the full story here.

-As industry events continue to be held online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Rohde & Schwarz is highlighting its virtual trade show booth for next week’s European Microwave Week 2020, focusing on its offerings for test systems for RF frontend designs, radar and satellite systems and for wireless technologies from 5G to the sub-terahertz range.

An image of Rohde & Schwarz’s virtual trade show booth at next week’s European Microwave Week 2020. Image: Rohde & Schwarz

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