Multi-vendor SON addressed as part of second Small Cell Forum LTE Plugfest

27 companies join together to work towards greater interoperability and economies of scale to bring the small cell mass market closer

London, UK, 15th July 2014. Multi-vendor Self Optimizing Networks (SON) and voice over LTE were two of the topics given attention at the Small Cell Forum’s fifth Plugfest, hosted in partnership with ETSI. This was the second Plugfest to focus exclusively on LTE small cells and saw attendance almost double compared to last year’s event.

The Small Cell Forum’s Plugfests play a key role in cultivating an effective ecosystem of interoperable small cells, helping to debug vendor implementations and drive the resolution of standards ambiguities and gaps. This all helps provide operators and consumers with a wider choice of small cell products while also facilitating economies of scale to bring the small cell mass market closer.

Hosted at the Orange labs in Paris over nine days between the 23rd June and 2 July 2014 the scope of this second LTE Plugfest included all Small Cell LTE variations. Testing concentrated on S1, X2 and management interfaces (HeMS) and covered areas such as Regression Testing, Handover, Mobility (Outbound, Inbound), Voice Support via Circuit Switch Fall Back (CSFB) schemes, Voice over LTE, and Mobile Alerting System (CMAS). As well as testing small cell/macro handover and security gateways another focus was the testing of multi-vendor SON in heterogeneous networks.

27 companies supported the event with 65 engineers on site from 15 different countries, including equipment vendors, test tool vendors and companies providing test network infrastructure. The companies involved were: Airspan Networks, Airvana, Alcatel-Lucent, Broadcom, Casa Systems Inc., Cavium, Cisco Systems, Com4Innov, Contela Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., ip.access, Ixia, JDSU, NEC, Node-H GmbH, One2Many, Orange, Public Wireless Inc., PureWave Networks Inc., Qosmotec, Qucell, Quortus Ltd., Radisys, Sistel Networks, SMEC Co., Ltd. and Stoke. The event is also supported by the European Commission and the NGMN Alliance.

All participants were able to conduct pre-test integration for the month before the event. Through remote connectivity, all participants had a chance to mitigate connectivity problems in the Plugfest lab. Performing these test cases remotely prior to the event helps to concentrate the Plugfest itself and help ensure a good rate of successful test case execution.

“Driving forward LTE small cells as an open and interoperable technology is not just a technical challenge, it is pivotal to creating product choice and achieving economies of scale,” said Sue Monahan, CEO Small Cell Forum. “Plugfests offer a key structural underpinning to the new generations of mobile networks but they rely on vendor involvement. With almost double the number of companies involved this time around compared to 2013 we’re delighted to see the industry coming together with a shared goal of creating interoperable standards and equipment as an essential ingredient in establishing a healthy and competitive technology ecosystem around small cell technologies.”

“The Plugfest successfully demonstrated that LTE small cells are reaching the maturity of 3G small cells and can reliably handle different voice, video and data traffic types at high volumes,” said Kreso Bilan, Chair of the Small Cell Forum Interoperability Working Group. “With Self-Optimizing Networks operators have the flexibility of using LTE to deliver a higher Quality of Service and 3G fall-back for voice services when required.”

The Forum has conducted four previous Plugfests on topics including device interoperability, management and 3GPP standards. Background on Small Cell Forum’s plugests is available from http://scf.io/doc/085.

About the Small Cell Forum (SCF): 

The Small Cell Forum (www.smallcellforum.org) supports the wide-scale adoption of small cells. Small cells are low-power wireless access points that operate in licensed spectrum, are operator-managed and feature edge-based intelligence. They provide improved cellular coverage, capacity and applications for homes and enterprises as well as metropolitan and rural public spaces. They include technologies variously described as femtocells, picocells, microcells and metrocells. The Forum has in excess of 150 members including 68 operators representing more than 3 billion mobile subscribers – 46 per cent of the global total – as well as telecoms hardware and software vendors, content providers and innovative start-ups.

About ETSI
ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies.

ETSI is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization and the high quality of its work and open approach to standardization has helped it evolve into a European roots/global branches operation with a solid reputation for technical excellence.

ETSI is a not-for-profit organization with more than 750 ETSI member organizations drawn from 63 countries across 5 continents worldwide.

About the Release Program
Launched in February 2013 the Small Cell Forum Release program provides a comprehensive set of technical and business documents to help deploy small cells in the home, enterprise, rural and urban areas. Each release includes detailed documents on key areas such as market drivers, business case, and technology information including standards, operator lessons, and a regulatory overview.

The Release Program is driven by the knowledge that more than 98% of operators think small cells are essential to their future. Whilst existing deployments have centred on almost 50 pioneering large operators in developed markets, the Release Program aims to help every type of operator from across the globe to roll out small cells.

In 2015, the Forum will publish Release Five, themed around small cells for Rural & Remote deployments. View the roadmap here http://scf.io/doc/100

Media contacts
Darren Willsher/Chris King
smallcellforum@emlwildfire.com
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