Fourth ETSI MCX Plugtests event achieves 95 per cent success rate

The 4th ETSI MCX Plugtests event, which began preparation in April, carried out remote testing during the Summer and concluded with a five-day face-to-face session at the end of September, in Kuopio, Finland at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences, has finished.

It achieved a 95 per cent success rate in the validation of 3GPP mission-critical services vendor operability, up slightly from the 92 per cent reported for the second and third events in the series (the latter took place remotely).

The ETSI MCX (the collective term for MCPTT, MCVideo and MCData services) Plugtests event programme works to ensure seamless access to mission critical services over 4G networks across different vendors’ products and implementation. Observations from the Plugtests events provide essential feedback to 3GPP Working Groups as work continues on mission-critical communication specifications, allowing any areas of ambiguity to be addressed thereby reducing the chance that a vendor will implement a 3GPP-defined function in a different way to their peers – though it should be noted that the 95 per cent success rate points to the already high quality nature of the standards in this regard.

The tests were based on 3GPP Release 14 and the vendors in attendance carried out more than 1,800 tests between them across more than 210 tests sessions. For this event, the observers created test scenarios, which will be added to the Test Specification ETSI TS 103 564 – the updated version will be published following its approval by the ETSI Technical Committee TETRA and Critical Communications (ETSI TC TCCE).

In addition to MCPTT, MCData and MCVideo application servers and clients; user equipment, LTE networks with eNodeBs, evolved packet core, IMS (IP multimedia system) and eMBMS (evolved multimedia broadcast multicast services) components were tested. Testing of floor control, affiliation, mission-critical bearers handling, multicast and server-to-server communication also took place.

The 4th ETSI MCX Plugtests event was organised by ETSI in partnership with Erillisverkot (State Security Networks Group Finland) with the support of TCCA and the European Commission. While the testing was taking place Erillisverkot organised an observer programme for those hailing from user organisations, public safety operators, government organisations and associations from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, The Netherlands, and the US. It consisted of presentations, round table discussions and a visit to the local Emergency Services training centre.

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

The participants included:

Aina Wireless, Airbus DS SLC, Alea s.r.l., Armour Communications Ltd, Athonet S.r.l., Bittium, Ecom Instruments GmbH (part of Pepperl+Fuchs), Enensys-Expway, Ericsson, Etelm, Frequentis, Funkwerk Systems GmbH, Genaker, Havelsan A.Ş., Huawei Technologies, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Kontron Transportation (formerly Kapsch CarrierCom), L3Harris Technologies Inc. (formerly Harris Corporation), Leonardo, MCOP-University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Motorola Solutions, Nemergent Solutions SL, ng-voice GmbH, one2many B.V., Polaris Networks, Prescom, Samsung Electronics, Softil Ltd, StreamWide, TASSTA GmbH, and

ASTRID S.A., Erillisverkot, French Ministry of Interior, Global Certification Forum (GCF), NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Pelastusopisto – Emergency Services Academy Finland, Savonia University of Applied Sciences; SMIT - IT and Development Centre. Ministry of the Interior, Estonia; TCCA, The National Police of the Netherlands, and The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB)