SwissQual, the independent Swiss network quality measurement company, has announced the release of patented new technologies that allow the most modern handsets to be used for unattended network field testing.
In common with most network quality optimisation and benchmarking companies, SwissQual offers a range of network quality probes which are based on real handsets. In this way the overall quality measurement can more closely assess the likely quality experience of a real user.
As handset design has advanced, so has handset battery design. Many handsets now use "intelligent batteries". Whilst providing many advantages, this development has posed a challenge for network quality probe companies. Traditionally the handset's battery would have been removed and replaced with a "dummy". This enabled the handset to be powered externally. This, in turn, meant that if for any reason the phone locked up, the phone could be re-booted remotely.
New handsets recognise if an "intelligent" battery is present or not and refuse to work if a "dummy" is inserted. This causes a huge problem for remote network quality measurement applications.
Said Pero Juric, SwissQual VP of Product Management; "Operators are increasingly interested in using unattended network quality measurement. This dramatically reduces the unit costs of carrying out drive testing. However unless the issue of rebooting modern phones remotely can be solved, it is impossible to carry out unattended operations. The tests for data services typically require sessions to be repeatedly set up and torn down. Inevitably this leads to a number of phone "lock ups".
To combat these problems SwissQual has first designed and patented a new method of housing test mobiles which allows the power to be delivered to the phone, from a "genuine" intelligent battery, yet still allow it to be interrupted remotely on demand.
The processes can be automated in SwissQual's software so that the need for a restart of the handset is detected and automatically executed.
These advances mean that remote test systems can collect more data, over longer periods, without the need to return to base for attention: saving money and maximising the continuity of the test data.
Says Pero Juric: "We recognised this as a significant problem some time ago and have spent a lot of effort in finding a solution. The approach also delivers a number of additional benefits. Because we now use the same switching system for all phones, it means that we can incorporate new handset models into our testing systems as soon as they are released. The fact that we are also no longer using a "dummy" battery also means that the phone set up is exactly the same as that used by a subscriber, ensuring accuracy in the prediction of user experience."
These new patented technologies are now available in SwissQual's network quality measurement solutions.
SwissQual is an independent Swiss company specialising in the quality of service measurement and monitoring of fixed and mobile telecommunication networks. SwissQual offers a wide range of solutions to suit most needs including laboratory testing, radio network optimisation and benchmarking. It is also well known for its pioneering work in voice and video perceptual quality measures.