Every orchestra needs a conductor. To keep the harmony and rhythm in between IoT devices and networks, umlaut developed a new test platform.
The cellular environment for IoT devices is evolving rapidly with frequent introductions of new devices, new features and network capabilities being introduced every day. Ensuring that both devices and networks maintain the desired interoperability during upgrades is a regular challenge that quality organisations around the globe must address. It is so dynamic that consistent testing is required across a wide range of devices.
'With open RAN, C band, numerous device frequencies, CBRS and more than 100 modem varieties, the communication industry is facing a geometric progression of complexity,' says umlaut’s telco expert David McCarley. OEMs need a solution for a scenario where both the software on the modems and the software on the network are changing periodically. 'And they needed a way to ensure that across broad geographic areas critical aspects of the network device interaction are not broken,' says McCarley.
Many companies’ established test methods can’t keep up with these requirements, especially where the resources with the correct capabilities are more and more difficult to hire. Therefore, umlaut developed a solution to maintain the highest level of service to their customers – to face a dramatic shift in test approach and keep up with demands.
The SLED works wherever devices talk to each other wirelessly
To address the industry’s challenge umlaut has developed the IoT-SLED – a modular test platform for IoT devices that can be utilised for execution of manual and automated tests on up to four devices or modems in parallel. The portable enclosed case with an integrated power supply and battery back-up supports 4g and 5g devices. It is Wi-Fi enabled and offers a remote monitoring with QXDM. A 2.24 GHz Quad Core Processor, 4 Gb RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x2 SMA Mounted External Antennas for all modems, an edge SLED for data collection and other specifications make it state of the art.
The SLED works wherever devices talk to each other wirelessly – regardless of whether it is an IoT network, one for assisted driving or devices in telemedicine. With this flexible test platform network operators can change their test approach to meet their demands for ensuring the quality of network performance anytime and anywhere.
The box itself has a battery, has its own internal power supply, and has its own internal computing platform. It can operate over three or more cellular modems simultaneously. 'It was designed to be very utilitarian. In other words, it's sturdy, portable. But the idea was to build it for different test environments – say, a garage or a laboratory. It could be carried outside and placed in a vehicle or flown in an aircraft. Or it could be put in a refrigerator. The industrial design of the device was secondary', says project leader Colin Goldsmith.
Working remotely and simultaneously
'Technically speaking, we've got the ability to have somebody in Korea leveraging a box that's in North America using a modem that was designed and manufactured in Italy on a carrier,' says McCarley. With the combination of a test platform that supports multiple devices simultaneously and the ability to automate tests carriers can expand test coverage dramatically.
The IoT Sled is a dummy proof service assurance across dozens of locations. 'We provided a device that needs power to be turned on once and from then on it is remotely controlled,' says Goldsmith. That makes at least one critical and rare resource less to hire.