Teams are working to make sure certification for business-critical broadband gadgets
Groups are working to ensure certification for business-critical broadband devices
The functions tested in the first phase are mainly tied to business-critical push-to-talk calls (MCPTT) in the network, with some functions for business-critical data (MCData) also being tested. In the first phase, field tests are carried out in a live network and / or a network test bench environment. In later stages, when commercial test equipment becomes available, laboratory-based compliance testing is expected to be introduced over an IP and / or LTE simulated network.
So far, ETSI has carried out a series of plug tests for the business-critical industry. This helps manufacturers to assess the interoperability of their product with selected products from other manufacturers. Manufacturers then use the information received to further improve the interoperability of their products. While this approach is invaluable in developing and rolling out a new off-the-shelf suite like MCX, it doesn’t scale. To remedy this, TCCA and GCF, the global certification body for mobile wireless devices, are working together on a certification process for broadband devices in the area of critical communications. The certification is based on GCF’s existing scalable certification processes that have served the wireless industry for more than 20 years.
The new Mission-Critical Agreement Group (MCAG) of the GCF will take over the work of the Joint Task Force GCF-TCCA formed in January, which held eight meetings with around 40 delegates per meeting and 85 representatives from 39 organizations. The aim of the task force was to develop a tiered approach to developing business-critical certification based on the prioritization of industry requirements. The task force worked to determine the scope and processes of certification and to define the future management and governance model.
The task force developed an MCX gap analysis that prioritized the scope of certification. The living document tracks deployments and tapes, and the evolution of the MCX core and test specification standards and MCX capabilities. The document will continue to be used to prioritize future phases of MCX certification.
“Initial certification tests focus on the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 15 standards, but MCAG plans to prioritize a certification process for future 3GPP releases and MCX features,” said Chris Hogg, program manager at GCF. “In the first phase, only device certification and a limited MCX functionality will be offered, which will focus on the main functions used today.”
To certify a mission-critical LTE device, the LTE portion of the device is checked for compliance using a mix of compliance, interoperability and live network field tests according to normal GCF practices.
The integrated MCX app is being tested in field trials. GCF and TCCA are working with the GSM Association (GSMA) Field Trial Development Group to define field trial test cases for MCF Phase 1 GCF certification.
Future phases of MCX certification will be tailored to industry demand. However, it is likely that MCX client compliance testing, standalone MCX client certification, and MCX server certification will be added, including assessing how it works with legacy systems such as TETRA and Project 25 (P25).
“The certification of business-critical devices is important because life depends on it,” said Harald Ludwig, chairman of the TCCA Technical Forum. “Devices, applications and servers must work together and be multivendor, multi-operator and multi-service provider. Certifying compliance to standards is key to achieving interoperability by reducing deployment costs and time to market. “
You can find more information about the planned certification process in a webinar on the subject here.
Would you like to comment on this story? You can find our comment system here.