3 MIN READ | Industry

Automated IMS & VoLTE Service Testing Using Real and Virtual Devices

Erika Collins
Mar. 3 2016

A solution that can enable the testing IMS and VoLTE services through virtual or real devices can prove invaluable. It enables MNOs to more accurately understand customer experience by understanding device performance. our proven, highly scalable and flexible TEMS Monitor Master is a solution that enables comprehensive, powerful testing of IMS and VoLTE services by both virtual and real devices.

In the case of virtual devices, the ability of a test framework to emulate IMS client devices can allow MNOs to plan and structure their test plans to address a number of key areas. Importantly, it allows MNOs to plan their test program and begin defining user experience characteristics even before physical handsets are available. This can have a dramatic impact on delivery times, as it removes one important barrier from project planning.

Virtualized, software-based solutions also offer enhanced flexibility in terms of how capabilities can be modified and changed to create highly specific test scenarios and functionality. For example, a virtual IMS client can be configured depending on operator needs and test objectives. In turn, this enables the manipulation of VoLTE supporting procedures, such as Client Configuration, or IMS procedures, such as Entry Point Discovery.

A virtual solution enables MNOs to keep pace with the availability of new solutions, as these enter the market. Better, virtual solutions enable pre-release versions to be verified before they become commercially available, helping MNOs to offer the most up to date devices and to stay ahead of competitors in their market. It also creates a bilateral exchange of information with device manufacturers, who can look to their partner for valuable feedback on performance in real-world conditions. Equally importantly, virtual testing can assist in the development of policies for the management of non-compliant devices, which may enter the network when subscribers roam.

Virtual handset emulation also creates the opportunity to load test networks with millions of simultaneous IMS sessions. It enables MNOs to scale from single case scenarios to flood testing of the network, so that they can really understand how new IMS and VoLTE services perform under load and conditions that replicate normal traffic situations. This ability to scale from the micro to the macro is an essential element of a test program for IMS and VoLTE release.

From the perspective of bringing new IMS and VoLTE services to market, this virtual device simulation and the automation of test processes can considerably accelerate the process and significantly reduce both operational costs and capital expenditure. It ensures that capabilities can be properly stress tested and a wide number of test scenarios enacted without the necessity of purchasing an endless array of physical devices.

On the other hand, testing with real devices enables an MNO to confidently determine the performance of devices that it officially endorses within its network, while at the same time broadening exposure to the host of other devices that will be activated through time. The creation of performance benchmarks allows MNOs to determine the expected performance of different devices against known criteria and thresholds and to develop support practices that ensure customer experience is optimized for different devices. The trick is to use a representative sample of key devices while using virtual solutions for the longer tail of less common ones.

Both approaches are essential and by adopting this dual mode approach, MNOs can introduce a much higher level of flexibility, accuracy and precision into their testing of new services. It allows a range of different configurations and scenarios to be adopted that reflect both end-to-end testing as well as connectivity to individual elements in the IMS core.

It is the combination of both modes that allows MNOs to create a comprehensive test program that will support IMS and VoLTE service launch. Crucially, it allows device performance and capabilities to be considered and thus provides vital information to understand the likely and actual user experience. Without this knowledge, IMS and VoLTE services cannot be assumed to deliver the requisite service performance. Dual mode testing removes uncertainty and better equips MNOs to support and assure complex new services, both pre- and post-launch.

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