HetNets and small cell indoor deployments are an effective means to deal with the exponentially increasing data consumption in mobile networks. After the careful planning and actual installation of a new small cell network, it’s time to verify the commissioned indoor deployments and ensure quality of experience (QoE). Both are best achieved with a commercially available smartphone, designed for reliable indoor deployment verification, featuring dedicated testing functionalities not only but also for final site acceptance.

How does indoor deployment verification work?

Ideally, the verification of small cell indoor deployments takes place immediately after their installation. The installation and commissioning of small cells is typically carried out by technicians who are less trained in matters concerning RF, base stations or antennas than the personnel responsible for the site survey during the planning phase.

To verify indoor deployments efficiently and effectively, the tool used by the installation and verification team should support software that is specifically designed for the planning and design of small cells. The supported software should provide predefined floor plans, locations of small cells, simulated coverage and capacity predictions, etc.

Engineers rely on such software already when planning the wireless network coverage and capacity in buildings and other venues, for example in stadiums. Specialized planning and design software, such as from global player iBwave Solutions, makes such a highly complex and challenging task much less daunting. It allows precise propagation simulation of built-in network components and helps mapping out the best spot for an installation.

Fast indoor deployment verification

So far the theory, based on models and simulations. At one point, the planned and commissioned installation also needs to be verified.

Our smartphone-based test solution QualiPoc Android supports the project file format of iBwave. It also offers a direct exchange of data: measurement results collected with QualiPoc Android and a connected R&S®TSME scanner can be shared with the iBwave Mobile Planner application installed on a QualiPoc Android smartphone. With both applications running on the same phone or tablet, the user can easily compare the planned simulation to the actual outcome and verify small cell deployments fast.

Indoor deployment verification with QualiPoc Android

QualiPoc Android performing performance measurements based on an iBwave floorplan. Once the test is over, the results can be easily exported to the iBwave application on QualiPoc Android.

Site acceptance test for final indoor deployment verification

Performance tests based on floorplans are only one part of small cell deployment verifications. Basic network tests are another. QualiPoc Android also offers these required functional tests, compiled in a compact site verification option that includes predefined test jobs and report generation. This optional and handy site acceptance test is a set of very basic tests, including

  • setting up a call,
  • pinging a server,
  • and downloading a file to check throughput.

In addition, the user can add project-related information; he can classify KPIs and apply QualiPoc Android’s cell locking feature. During the test, a simple GUI keeps the user informed about progress and test states. After each test, QualiPoc Android generates a report of all relevant results and information obtained with the site acceptance test.

Site acceptance test for indoor deployment verification

Users can keep an eye on each test’s progress and state and easily generate final reports.

QualiPoc Android not only collects Layer 3 and IP-trace information, but also offers a rich set of tests for network service and over-the-top (OTT) applications. The easy-to-use verification tool can also control and collect network scanner measurement performed with our R&S®TSME and R&S®TSMA scanners. With a scanner connected to a QualiPoc Android, you can collect information about the particular cell to which it is registered and all other available network information.

QualiPoc Android users can verify new installations from a true end-user perspective.

Testing and verifying with QualiPoc Android offers real insights into QoE. Based on commercially available smartphones, users can verify new installations from a true end-user perspective as QualiPoc Android authenticates what end users using commercially available smartphones will experience.

With this post, we’re concluding our blog series on HetNets/Small cells. In previous posts we discussed the indoor installation process in detail and examined a variety of use cases and their respective solutions for testing cables, antennas, passive intermodulation (PIM) and over-the-air (OTA) requirements.