LTE  |  2021-11-08

ETSI Kicks Off with 6th MCX Hybrid PLUGTESTS

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

This Plugtests will take place from 8th to 19th November 2021 as a hybrid event, including remote and assisted on-site testing.

ETSI is organizing, with the support of the European Commission (EC), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Critical Communications Association (TCCA) and the Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC), the sixth MCX PLUGTESTS.

During the week from 8th to 19th November 2021, testing will be done remotely like in previous MCX Plugtests, using the existing permanent ETSI MCX remote lab testing facilities to conduct online testing. In addition, from 8th to 12th November 2021, vendors will have the possibility to send their radio equipment (UEs, eNBs) to University of Malaga, Spain, where it can interoperate using live LTE connectivity via remote access and with the on-site assistance of the University of Malaga’s experts. For the equipment sent to University of Malaga, the University of Malaga’s experts team will operate the equipment on behalf of the Vendor or the Vendor can access the equipment remotely. Alternatively, if the COVID-19 situation permits, one member of the Vendor’s team may be allowed onsite per equipment for testing on LTE network.

The concept of Mission Critical Services such as “Mission Critical Push To Talk" (MCPTT), “Mission Critical Data" (MCData) and “Mission Critical Video" (MCVideo) started with 3GPP Release-13 and is ongoing in current Releases. The Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) is based on these Mission Critical Features.

The goal of this MCX Plugtests event is to validate the interoperability of a variety of implementations using different scenarios based on 3GPP Mission Critical Services in Release-16. The MCX Plugtests event will also test FRMCS capabilities like Functional Aliases, Multi-talker, User and Group Regrouping, MCData IP Connectivity etc., defined in 3GPP Release-16. The tests are based on 3GPP, ETSI and IETF standards and are designed for:

  • MCS Application Servers (MCPTT, MCDATA, MCVIDEO)
  • FRMCS Apps using MCX Framework
  • eMBMS Components
  • IMS / SIP Cores
  • Consoles and Control Rooms
  • MCS Test Equipments
  • Evolved NodeBs (eNBs)
  • UEs (User Equipment), LTE Cab Radios, Rugged Handheld Phones
  • Evolved Packet Cores (EPCs)

This 6th MCX Plugtests event will focus on tests with radio equipment (eNBs, UEs, EPCs) with Unicast and Multicast support but will also allow Over-The-Top (OTT) testing of Mission Critical Servers and Clients, as well as include tests of railways-oriented capabilities. Observers and vendors are welcome to help define the scope (i.e. functionality to be tested) for this event. Test Equipment vendors will have a possibility to test as well in the Plugtests.


  • To assess the level of interoperability of your implementations
  • To validate your understanding of the standards
  • To test with (many) other real implementations and demonstrate end-to-end interoperability
  • To debug your implementation: early bug fixing, saving time and costs
  • To promote the technology and the ecosystem


Vendors which develop and produce above-mentioned equipment, to test either remotely using the MCX remote lab for over-the-top testing or by sending the equipment to the host for testing on LTE network.

Observers, which can be government organisations, mobile network operators, public safety operators, users, agencies or regulators, can participate remotely.

New Vendors and Observers have to sign the Rules of Engagement and NDA of the MCX Plugtests Programme to participate.


Observers are welcome to help define the scope (i.e. functionality to be tested) for this event and to evaluate the tests statistics in the TRT (Test Reporting Tool).

In parallel to the testing, it is planned to organise an observer programme and demos. The focus of the observer programme is to examine and discuss the progress of deployment and the challenges in testing of the Mission Critical Services for Public Safety and Public Transport. The observer programme will be held remotely.

The observer programme will include remote demos from interested vendors, which can show how their solutions meet the MCX Plugtests test cases and observer scenario use cases.