- UE Simulator
- 3 Min Read
Benefits of UE Simulator
Today data seems to be the buzz word. How well the network providers give robust data transfer to its clients sums up the company’s growth.
The massive outburst of mobile subscribers recently is primarily because of the technological advances in the LTE networks. Mobile applications have taken the world by storm. Many companies provide high-tech & web-based solutions – call it gaming, TV, entertainment, surveillance, defence etc. Network service providers must provide seamless connectivity to its end-subscribers. What will you do to ensure that you meet the expectation of the subscribers?
The network needs to be efficiently planned and composed of high performing equipment. Choosing the right equipment is a major step. And once the network is operational, it needs to be continuously monitored for delays, loss of packets, voice drop etc.
Radio Access Network comprises the user equipment and the base station. While subscribers choose the user equipment based on their preference, the base stations are chosen by the service providers based on their performance and capacity. Right tools should be used to evaluate the performance of the base station. It needs to be also validated to ensure that it supports devices (smartphones, wearables) from different vendors. Base station manufacturers must validate the base station in their R&D lab and then it should be evaluated by the network operator before selecting the vendor.
UE simulators are helpful in this regard and help in the verification of the functionality of the base station and also in the benchmarking of its performance and capacity.
A few of the many benefits of the UE simulator are discussed below:
A Versatile UE Simulator
A powerful UE simulator like the Simnovator® must offer the functionality to verify the compliance with the specification, robustness of the base station in terms of handling high capacity of subscribers and its efficiency to process bursty traffic. A UE simulator that allows easy scaling from a less number of simulated UEs to hundreds and thousands will be ideal. One that is software driven and can run on COTS hardware will also allow to have concurrent testbeds and hence shorten the validation cycles. Not having the license tied to a particular hardware will also provide the flexibility to use the same setup for different capabilities.
5G Network (NR – New Radio) and LTE Testing
The 5G subscriptions are predicted to reach out around 3.5 billion globally by the end of the year 2026 according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, accounting for about 40 percent of total mobile subscriptions. The uptake rate of 5G subscriptions is expected to be significantly higher than 4G. Simnovus UE Simulator thoroughly validates both the non-standalone and standalone deployment of 5G. It also allows validating coexistence scenarios where devices of different radio technologies i.e. 4G and 5G can be simulated at the same time. This allows to validate the real life scenario where the network will have a mix of 4G and 5G base stations and the UE performing mobility between the two base stations. A single test equipment enabling such a scenario will be extremely beneficial from a QA perspective.
Detailed Insights for Better Decisions
The base stations process data generated from the user equipment used by the subscribers. The data are of diverse patterns. Unless similar traffic is simulated in the labs and the base stations are verified under such conditions, there are possibilities that the base station will fail while operating in real time. The UE simulator should support different application traffic types like Voice over NR (VoNR), FTP, Ping, HTTP, fixed UDP etc. Whether it’s the throughput numbers, the packet rate or message counters it should be possible to check the performance at different levels i.e. global, cell wise or per UE level. Such detailed information or insights can certainly help in making the right decision by the QA engineers.
Detailed Logging: Essential to drill-down analysis and debugging
Logs provide essential information which become crucial for analysis and debugging. The UE simulator should provide a detailed overview of network-level metrics, link metrics, and device metrics for each UE or a cell. All the events which are processed should be logged to provide visualisation of how the packets flow in the network. This helps in troubleshooting complex issues which could otherwise be difficult to understand.
Automation and CI/CD
It is essential to repeat the tests and compare them to the results taken at previous instances. It helps in the continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD) method which is followed by every company these days. Automation with the help of RESTful APIs or WebSocket APIs allow easy integration with automation frameworks used by the QA teams. JSON based request and response mechanism makes the integration simpler since JSON is the de facto syntax used for communication between two entities.
Key Takeaways About UE Simulator
To meet the challenges that the evolving technology brings to the equipment manufacturers and service providers, it is essential to have a simple to use, software-driven UE simulator that can minimize the complexity and shorten the validation cycles.