Fig 1 – Agile delivery trends in evolving 5G technologies
The big question, however, revolves around getting the entire test cycle automated. The need of the hour for telco operators is to adopt / enhance a unified network test automation methodology / framework to reduce the lab certification cycle.
Since a telco operator has multiple RF bands to operate 5G network across multiple business segments, several test topologies are envisioned with combinations of Local Data Centre, Regional Data Centre, and National Data Centre deployment. A telco operator’s biggest challenge is to set up various combinations of Data Centres (NFVi) and test the solution. As the testing scope spans across devices and network applications, multiple test tools / simulators and a test environment need to be setup and maintained.
Hence, to address telco operator rollout vision, a single test partner who can set up and maintain various test environments by bringing in the required test tools, and develop an automation framework for faster field rollout, would add a lot of value.
Proposed Test Environment
Based on our prior experience working with multiple telcos, we envision three (3) test environments for a telco operator 5G test lab –
- NTI / PoC test environment – all preferred 5G OEM & ODM vendors to demonstrate their respective solutions
- Pre-deployment test environment – integration of multi-OEM vendor solution and E2E services certification in a stable test environment, before field deployment
- FoA (First Office Application) – integration of multi-OEM vendor solution in Field post the pre-deployment lab verification