LTE  |  2019-09-30

Mission Critical Implementations Successfully Tested at 4th ETSI MCX Plugtests

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Work continues to ensure seamless access to mission critical services over LTE

The 4th ETSI MCX Plugtests™ have concluded with a success rate of 95% in the validation of 3GPP mission critical services vendor interoperability. These tests are essential to ensure seamless access to mission critical services over 4G networks across different vendors’ products and implementations.

The MCX (collectively for MCPTT, MCVideo and MCData services) ETSI Plugtests series is the first independent testing of public safety and other mission critical LTE. The preparations for the 4th Plugtests started in April 2019, were followed by remote testing over the summer and were finalized with a five-day face-to-face session, held at the end of September in Kuopio, Finland at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

The tests were based on 3GPP Release-14 and more than 1800 tests were executed between the different vendors in more than 210 test sessions. For this Plugtests the observers have created test scenarios, which will be added to the Test Specification ETSI TS 103 564. The updated test specification will be published after ETSI committee TCCE approval.

Besides the MCPTT, MCData and MCVideo Application Servers and Clients, the testing also included devices (UEs), LTE networks with eNBs, EPC (Evolved Packet Core), IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services) components and testing of Floor Control, Affiliation, Mission Critical Bearers handling, Multicast, and Server to Server communication.

The observations from the Plugtests events provide essential feedback to 3GPP Working Groups as work continues on mission critical communication specifications.

This 4th MCX Plugtests was organised by ETSI in partnership with Erillisverkot (State Security Networks Group Finland) with the support of TCCA and the European Commission.

In parallel to the testing Erillisverkot organised an Observer Programme for the observers who came from user organisations, public safety operators, government organisations and associations from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, The Netherlands, and the United States. The observer program consisted of presentations, round table discussions and a visit to the local Emergency Services training centre.

ETSI has started to organize the 5th MCX Plugtests and is discussing venues and dates with potential hosts.