PDT fine tunes network before an engineer gets a parking space
Infovista has launched a ‘drive by network audit’ system, Precision Drive Testing (PDT), which automates the testing of 5G networks using a car and an omniscient configuration machine. The PFT uses a cloud-native, data-driven form of artificial intelligence to automatically assess any 5G network. It comprises a comms testing device, which is transported around a 5G network by a vehicle, such as a car. The machine automatically does all the laborious tests and checks that an engineer has to do, but in a fraction of the time and without human error.
The PDT’s testing routine is guided by use cases based on information from a number of sources which suggest how the network should be. These sources include analytics results from network planning and performance, fault and configuration management, services assurance and data crowdsourced from customers.
Mobile network operators (MNOs) could use PDT to fine tune the network lifecycle processes. Results are instantly available so that these insights can be acted upon. This helps to create a closed-loop of automated and guided testing.
“There’s a misconception that 5G makes drive testing redundant,” said Dr Irina Cotanis, Technology Director for Network Testing at Infovista, “but the reality is different.” The minimization of drive testing (MDT) feature in 5G only works if users are in the geographic area that needs testing, explained Cotanis. So Drive Testing has to complement the gaps of MDT in testing, at least until 5G is in fully autonomous mode.
“Such is the complexity of 5G networks and the proliferation of device types that traditional drive testing processes are not fit-for-purpose. Operators can’t afford for their highly qualified radio engineers to be driving around manually testing; it’s time to automate and make the cloud do the heavy lifting,” said Cotanis.
“Precision Drive Testing transforms the drive testing process from being engineering driven to AI/ML data driven, from manual to autonomous and from something very few can do to something that can be done by anyone.”
Use cases for Precision Drive Testing across the 5G network lifecycle include Automated Single Site Verification (SSV), Fine tuning 5G planning propagation models, Network Acceptance Automation, Geolocated troubleshooting, Proactive network health monitoring and the Assurance of Critical Networks. Infovista’s TEMS Network Testing Portfolio is explained in a blog on How Automate Testing.