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Femtocell and Application Testing

About the size of a home ADSL Router, a Femtocell (also known as an Access Point Base Station) is designed to allow 3G enabled devices (Phones, PDAs, Laptops) to connect to a carrier's core 3G network even where the carrier does not provide a signal themselves. It does this by bridging between the Wireless 3G devices and the carrier’s network using the Internet. Specifically, it will be connected to a Router (ADSL, Cable or other) already providing access to the Internet. Calls made and data services used on the 3G device are then sent to the carrier (and received from the carrier) over IP.

The issues with this are not normally in the 3G wireless connection, which tends to be very short range, but rather in the quality of the IP connection to the carrier. Running over ADSL, cable etc., with all the usual competition (other IP traffic, AV and OS updates etc.) means that the connection to the carrier can be poor. This leaves several questions:

  • How will our application, voice or data, perform over this connection?
  • Can the application withstand poor network conditions of 3G via the Femtocell?
  • If connection is lost or too poor to use will the application behave gracefully, or will the application be left in a poor state?

The problem may be exacerbated by the fact that often the places where carriers have no 3G network are away from major conurbations and in these same places ADSL connections are often poorer too.

So, how can you test your application in these conditions?

iTrinegy has a number of solutions:

If the application is Voice or Data and you want to test it with the Femtocell in place, then our range of network emulators (INE Compact, INE LCD, INE Enterprise & INE Ultra) can be connected to the Ethernet connector of the Femtocell and then to the main network to allow the network connection quality to be varied as desired (poor ADSL/Cable, medium ADSL/Cable, low bandwidth, jitter, high latency etc.) to order. The application is then run as normal and experiences these conditions.

There is also the question: “How do you mimic a particular ADSL, cable or other connection while testing?” iTrinegy's INE Companion does this by profiling the behaviour of existing network conditions and directly delivering Network Scenario files, including bandwidth restrictions, latency, jitter, loss etc derived from monitoring actual network connections. These network scenario files can be directly used with our range of Network Emulators.

Even without any Femtocell equipment at all, if you have a data orientated application, then the iTrinegy range of network emulators (INE for Windows, INE Compact, INE LCD, INE Enterprise and INE Ultra) can create the conditions which would be experienced by using data over 3G via the Femtocell. This will enable you to determine how the application behaves in poor network conditions as encountered in the real networks e.g. poor ADSL/Cable, medium ADSL/Cable, low bandwidth, jitter, high latency etc. to order.

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