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Aiming for Efficiency: Growing telecom networks call for new T&M solutions

October 30, 2018
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By Manoharan C.P., Director, Systems Engineering and Field Sales Support, Spirent Communications

The growth of India’s test and measurement (T&M) market is predominantly attributed to the fast growing telecom networks and a continuous shift to newer technologies. The telecommunications industry is transforming fast to offer a broader set of services with flexibility to adapt to customers’ communication requirements and market opportunities. At the same time, enterprises and telecom operators are deploying innovative hardware and software solutions and test methodologies to shorten the product development cycle, detect and prevent security attacks, improve the quality of experience, and ensure consistency in telecom-network standards, while reducing cost and contingency.

Growth drivers

Some of the key growth drivers of the T&M market in India are wireless infrastructure; cloud computing and virtualisation, electronics manufacturing services, high-speed ethernet; software defined networking/network functions virtualisation (NFV); navigation; service experience; smartphones and mobile devices; cybersecurity; 5G and internet of things (IoT).

The Development of cellular and Wi-Fi technologies, particularly 5G and wired technologies such as ethernet and fibre optics, and the growing need for NFV calls for divergent test methods. As telecom service providers are working on deploying NFV, some of the key test scenarios are flexibility, scalability and efficiency of provisioning a network service chain. On the other side, relentless demand for bandwidth continues to drive innovation at data centres. The designs of these systems involve parameters like cost, service quality, security and reliability, making it important to perform system testing to validate the performance of the platform.

There is a growing demand for real-time communication in automotive manufacturing. Automotive companies are deploying advanced automotive test solutions to ensure that their components perform at high speed with low latency, zero packet loss and highest accuracy. Automotive manufacturers are deploying ethernet networking technology for next-generation passenger vehicles. These companies are increasingly deploying T&M solutions that refine and optimise all aspects of in-car, V2V and V2X connectivity to provide the experiences that modern drivers and passengers demand.

On the security front, the key concerns of enterprises, mainly financial services organisations, are to minimise risks, validate maintenance and support investments, ensure that their equipment is properly configured to support the desired performance, and ensure the protection of user data and confidential assets. Banks and enterprises are thus working with T&M solution providers to evaluate network security and performance, and validate security effectiveness against traffic, attacks, malware, etc.

Other verticals contributing to the growth of the T&M market are aerospace and defence, research and development, assembly, manufacturing of mobile phones and other terminal devices, broadcast, positioning and semiconductors.

In India, telecom service providers are currently enhancing capacity by adding spectrum, as well as strengthening the network by rolling out extensive communication infrastructure to create a whole new ecosystem. There is also a buzz of moving network functions from proprietary hardware and placing them on less expensive open-architecture-based applications and equipment. T&M companies will play a key role in this transformation.

The Indian government plans to roll out 5G by 2020 and test-beds are being set up to advance innovation and research in 5G at IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

The Indian market on 5G businesses will see an upsurge of opportunities and connectivity, and infrastructure solutions providers are set to play the role of service enablers. Since to 5G is at the deployment stage and a key facilitator of IoT and machine-to-machine communications, it will entail navigating new technologies, multiple standards, intense competition and exposure to security threats. T&M solution providers will further help accelerate IoT adoption, and assist telecom operators and equipment providers optimise their 5G/IoT ecosystem. Most importantly, they will make IoT safe and secure through intelligent certification/security testing and active service assurance.

The road ahead

The demand for T&M solutions is rising owing to the rapid evolution of telecom and information and communications technology (ICT). The government’s Digital India initiative and Smart Cities Mission, where infrastructure would be offered as a utility to every citizen, will witness a huge outlay of ICT infrastructure and large investments in networks of the future. This would require highly flexible and customisable test systems to validate the consistency in telecom-network standards and ensure continued quality of service. T&M solution providers are all set to be part of this promising growth.

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