How to test a mobile network?

How to test a mobile network?

How to ensure end-user quality of experience?

Mobile networks are highly complex structures, intricately designed to meet the quality requirements of the network and subscribers equally. To subscribers, the labyrinthine construction of a mobile network, however, appears transparent and straightforward: either they receive the expected service or they do not. Whether this service is making a call, watching a video, or posting on a social media timeline does not matter to them.

Subscribers equate quality of service (QoS) with quality of experience (QoE), regardless of whether a mobile network operator (MNO) or a third-party content provider controls the service. So, where does this leave the MNO who wants to ensure end-user quality of experience and optimize his network and services respectively? What will he need to consider before investing in solutions for mobile network testing?

The mobile network structure today
The mobile network structure today

The mobile network structure today

The mobile network structure today

The mobile network consists of the radio access network (RAN) and the core network; in LTE networks, it is eNodeBs and the enhanced packet core (ePC) respectively. User equipment (UE), such as smartphones, connects to the operator’s mobile network. The mobile network operator controls the servers for own voice and video services. Via the same infrastructure, subscribers also massively enjoy applications from third parties, so-called over-the-top (OTT) media services. Typically, an application client that is located on the smartphone connects to an application server that is out of the MNO’s reach. Consequently, MNOs have no direct control over third-party apps such as YouTube, Spotify, etc. We recommend using different tests to test either network quality or quality of experience.

Challenges

Testing of video quality in mobile networks
Testing of video quality in mobile networks

Testing of video quality in mobile networks

Testing networks vs. testing applications

Example: Video

  • At the MNO network level, you need to ensure good coverage and sufficiently high capacity. The easiest way to check this is with the R&S “Network Performance Test”.
  • If you are offering an own video service, you need to verify its quality using the QualiPoc Android generic video quality test. You can conduct this test under quite controllable conditions.
  • Finally, you need to evaluate the most popular third-party server/client-based video apps in your network, namely YouTube and others. The dedicated video quality test application in QualiPoc Android will do that for you.

Video quality testing (video MOS acc. ITU-T J343.1)

QualiPoc Android offers an exclusive video quality analysis application. The test evaluates the time to first picture, the visual quality depicted as a video MOS score (acc. ITU-T J343.1), stalling and jerkiness of live streamed content and video-on-demand.

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