Control Lab (CL)
Telecom Operators round-the-world are implementing Next Generation Networks (NGN) and are making huge investments in roll-out of these IP-based networks. Different operators in India have already taken initiatives to deploy NGN in the country. Under these circumstances, it became essential to establish test beds to test and certify conformance and end-to-end interoperability to ensure smooth roll-out of NGN in the country.
The National Telecom Policy 2012 provides for “mandatory testing and certification of all telecom products for conformance, performance, interoperability, health, safety, security, EMF/ EMI/ EMC etc. to ensure safe-to-connect and seamless functioning of existing and future networks.” It also provides “To create suitable testing infrastructure for carrying out conformance testing, certification and to aid in development of new products and services. TEC being operator-neutral technical wing of DoT is positioned to embark upon the project of establishing test-beds for NGN by setting up test and certification infrastructure, intended to primarily serve telecom equipment manufacturers, telecom operators, application and content providers, independent software developers, academician and other stakeholders. The National NGN Test & Certification labs are envisaged to act as Designated Authority and the NGN Labs shall be used for setting up Test processes and procedures for standardizing the mandatory tests. The initiative already taken by TEC in setting up of NGN Labs is a timely action in meeting the NTP 2012 policy objectives.
As part of an ambitious plan of setting up of five NGN Labs in TEC viz. Customer Premises Equipment Lab, Transport Lab, Access Lab, Control Lab and Applications Lab to carry out tests for conformance, performance, functional, and interoperability among public networks, as well as for benchmarking devices/ applications/ networks/ services for all real-life scenarios, NGN Transport Lab has since been setup and was inaugurated by Hon’ble MoC&IT on 12.12.2012.
In line with the same objectives, proposed ‘Control Lab’ in TEC under NGN Lab Project will be an IP test bed with main intention of subjecting a product, be it hardware or software to validate the claimed functional capacities, assess the matrix of interoperability between multiple similar tools, along with adherence to the standards identified and proposed by the standard bodies. On completion of tests, TEC shall issue test results & necessary certifications that will facilitate the usage of the tested equipment in live networks. Certificate issued by TEC to manufactures/vendors shall give impetus to deployment of NGN products in industry and enable manufacturer to avail testing services in India. This will enhance competitiveness of Indian manufactures in the world market.
The need and justification of Control lab is on account of
- Telecom Technologies/ Networks are rapidly moving towards IP which is state of art technology. Next Generation Network (NGN) based on IP technology is poised to register global expansion at fast pace and there is all time high need to set up world class testing infrastructure in the country to ensure strict interoperability, end to end performance bench marking, secure application delivery, seamless mobility etc. for smooth uptake and growth of NGN in the country.
- The proposed ‘Control Layer Lab’ shall facilitate Testing of Control layer functions of NGN architecture, Soft Switch as well as IMS based, thus benefiting the Electronics, Telecom and IT industry in implementing NGN based IP technology in Telecom network, which in turn will help in increase of GDP of the country as India is poised to become manufacturing hub for Electronics & Telecom. Products.
- Certificate by TEC to indigenous manufactures/vendors shall give impetus to deployment of NGN products in industry as well as enable manufacturer to avail testing services in India. This will enhance competitiveness of Indian manufactures in the world market.
- This proposed Control Layer Lab shall take care of Performance, Conformance and interoperability testing for DUT.
- The Control lab. is proposed to be self-contained and centrally managed for all test operations and report generation. The lab is intended to serve Indian and International telecom vendors/manufacturers/developers, Telecom operators, Regulators, R&D Institutions, Educational Institutes, etc. for conformance, performance, functional and interoperability among public networks and to benchmark devices/applications/networks/services for all real life scenario.
Scope of The Control Lab
The scope of the Control lab will cover followings testing
- Evolved Packet Core emulator;
- IMS Core, HSS & SLF;
- Individual Packet node emulator cum simulator for support of multiple technologies cores including but not restricted to LTE, GSM, CDMA & Wi-Fi etc.;
- Support for inter-operability between different generation of products but complying/adhering with 3GPP & International technical standards;
- Ability to integrate with existing labs in TEC namely NGN transport Lab, upcoming Security & CPE lab wherever deemed appropriate, as part of the acceptance testing over standard logical interfaces;
- The solution to provide the capability to support inter-technology handovers for multiple or all technologies supported.
The NGN lab project was approved in 2009 and a generic scope of each lab was also visualized in the annexure to the SFC memo. However same has been thoroughly revised incorporating latest technical developments.
Equipments to be tested
- RAN: eNodeB
- Wireless Core: Complete Core Network testing including LTE, 2G/3G or testing of individual elements within the Core Network such as MME, SGW, SGSN, etc.
- IMS: Complete IMS Network testing or testing of individual elements within the IMS Network such as P-CSCF, AS, SBC, HSS, etc.
- End to End: Wireless Core + IMS testing
- Services: such as VoLTE, WebRTC, etc.
The Control lab shall be capable of testing the different elements of the Core Networks (e.g. MME, SGW, PGW, MSC, SGSN, etc.) and the IMS (e.g. SBC, P/S/I-CSCF, HSS, BGF, MGC, etc.) by simulating all the surrounding elements. The elements could be tested in isolation or in any combination. It can also test combo elements (e.g. MME+SGSN) to verify condensed nodes which can support both LTE and 3G in the same equipment. Similarly, eNodeBs can also be isolated for testing. The tool can also verify the different sub-systems (e.g. EPC, IMS) and verify end to end (e.g. EPC+IMS) for functionality, performance and responsiveness. To replicate real network behavior, the tool can simulate millions of subscribers/end points, thousands of network elements and is able to generate and analyze millions of control plane messages per second as well as real world user plane data at line rates on 1G or 10G links.
The lab is expected to be functional in current financial year.