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Improving 5G network performance testing for better coverage and user experience

5G network performance testing: Ensuring coverage and quality with HeadSpin

December 4, 2023
 by 
Turbo LiTurbo Li
Turbo Li

The move from traditional cable-based connections to 5G wireless communications carries significant insights into the evolving landscape of connectivity. It reflects a broader trend of embracing wireless technologies for diverse applications, including the management of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and the integration of production robots. This shift underscores the growing importance of 5G networks as a versatile and reliable means of enabling real-time data exchange and control in various industrial and automation settings.

By adopting 5G connectivity for AGVs and production robots, enterprises gain several key insights into the future of their operations. Firstly, they recognize the potential for increased flexibility and mobility, as AGVs and robots can operate without the constraints of physical cables, allowing for dynamic reconfiguration of workflows. Secondly, it highlights the emphasis on low-latency communication, which is essential for tasks that demand rapid decision-making and precision. Lastly, this transition underscores the adaptability of 5G networks to support a wide array of Industry 4.0 applications, paving the way for more efficient and interconnected smart factories.

Read: The Best Network Testing Tools - A Comprehensive Guide

As is often the case in IT, new technologies are often hyped well before their time. Take 5G, for instance. Companies, particularly carriers, make significant investments in these technologies and expect quick returns. Establishing the 5G network was no small task, requiring time and substantial investment.

However, public 5G networks have their limitations. They promised a lot, but it took quite some time for those promises to materialize. Public 5G struggles with providing consistent coverage in large structures, leaving users with familiar connectivity issues. This situation gave rise to private 5G networks, which have started to make the 5G vision a reality. If you're in an office building, warehouse, or any sizable structure and need reliable 5G connectivity, private 5G is emerging as a viable alternative. Private 5G networks offer benefits such as faster data transmission, reduced latency, and increased device connectivity within a defined area. These networks can use licensed, unlicensed, or shared spectrum.

Compared to public 5G, private 5G can be a more cost-efficient choice for large enterprises. Companies can build and expand their private 5G networks without incurring significant per-device access costs. Private 5G also provides better control over service quality and easier security management since the enterprise owns and operates the network.

Also read: How Can Testing Mobile Apps in Real-World Network Conditions Improve Performance and User Experience?

Why do enterprises need to focus on coverage and performance testing of the 5G networks?

5G technologies offer a comprehensive solution to address the challenges faced by industries seeking faster and safer operations, all while unlocking new capabilities in industrial processes. This innovative approach enables factories to establish seamless connections across various facility components using 5G networks. This includes the integration of manufacturing robots, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), and other transport vehicles, which can now be managed more efficiently. Moreover, production lines can be quickly reconfigured to reduce lead times and enhance operational flexibility.

Additionally, 5G has the potential to replace existing Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) setups in production facilities, overcoming the limitations of WLAN networks. This transition brings several advantages, such as seamless mobility, stronger security measures, improved manufacturing process efficiency, and reduced operating costs.

Check out: Boosting Application Efficiency with Network Performance Monitoring

When it comes to testing the coverage and performance of 5G networks, it's essential to consider the three key components of the 5G triangle:

  • mMTC (massive Machine Type Communications): This aspect allows networks to efficiently handle numerous connections simultaneously, particularly in scenarios involving a high volume of connected devices.
  • eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband): eMBB is crucial for applications that require high broadband capacity and throughput, such as remote video inspections via 5G, as exemplified by Lufthansa in Hamburg.
  • URLLC (ultra-reliable low-latency communication services): URLLC plays a pivotal role in supporting ultra-reliable and ultra-low latency services, making it ideal for low-latency-based robot communication and other critical applications.

Testing for coverage and performance across these dimensions ensures that 5G networks can effectively meet the diverse demands of modern industrial operations while delivering the promised benefits of speed, reliability, and efficiency.

Also check: Simulating Different Network Conditions for Virtual Devices

How does HeadSpin support 5G network coverage and performance testing?

HeadSpin offers comprehensive data science capabilities for 5G network performance testing and coverage improvements, allowing organizations to monitor, measure, and optimize their network performance effectively. Following are the key areas where HeadSpin helps improve efficiency for coverage and performance testing of 5G networks:

  1. Measure real-world OTT app performance on customer network: HeadSpin enables continuous monitoring of real-world network performance. It automatically collects Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data for popular apps using real devices across multiple locations. This data provides valuable insights into network performance and alerts engineers about potential issues or outages.
  2. Compare network performance with competitors: To remain competitive in the telecommunications industry, organizations need to match or exceed the performance of rival networks. HeadSpin facilitates this by allowing organizations to compare their network performance with key KPIs from competitors, ensuring they stay on par or outperform others.
  3. Measure and track app KPIs that affect user experience: Different applications require specific KPIs to be measured, especially for OTT apps with audio and video content. HeadSpin's mobile experience platform can be tailored to measure and document various KPIs from different applications, ensuring that user experience is optimized.
  4. Monitor and benchmark messaging apps' infrastructure and performance: Messaging services play a vital role in users' daily lives. HeadSpin allows organizations to measure core messaging KPIs, such as message send and receive times, across different messaging apps and networks. It also benchmarks the performance of messaging servers, ensuring quick and seamless messaging experiences.
  5. Test core voice services: Voice performance is crucial for user satisfaction. HeadSpin helps organizations test and optimize voice services, including analog voice, voice-over LTE, and voice-over Wi-Fi. It ensures consistent voice quality and performance across various connection methods and use cases.
  6. Monitor roaming performance internationally: For organizations with partner networks across Asia and Europe, ensuring consistent performance for roaming users is vital. HeadSpin enables organizations to monitor real-world roaming performance internationally. This is achieved by using devices equipped with the organization's SIM cards, operating on partner networks worldwide. It allows organizations to maintain the same level of service quality for customers both at home and abroad.
  7. Obtain actionable client-network-server insights: Identifying network issues is just the first step. HeadSpin goes beyond mere detection by providing in-depth insights into the root causes of problems. It offers visibility into whether issues stem from APIs, CDNs, native device code, or other sources. The HeadSpin AI solution furnishes valuable UX data, including session UI, burst UI, waterfall UI, and more. Moreover, it can automatically extract critical information from debug logs, empowering engineering teams to troubleshoot and address problems effectively.
  8. Benchmark live TV and video on demand (VoD) performance: With the increasing demand for seamless live video streaming, organizations must ensure high-quality video delivery. HeadSpin allows organizations to measure and assess the quality and performance of live video content. It provides comprehensive video performance metrics, including indicators like Commercial Black, Blockiness, Block Loss, Blur, Contrast, Exposure, Flickering, Freezing, Interlacing, Letter-boxing, Noise, Pillar-boxing, Slicing, Spatial Activity, and Temporal Activity. This enables organizations to deliver exceptional live TV and VoD experiences to their users.

How do businesses benefit from HeadSpin?

With HeadSpin, your organization gains a significant edge in today's competitive landscape. You'll experience faster time-to-market and accelerated development cycles, allowing you to stay ahead and compete more effectively.

Furthermore, HeadSpin boosts developer and QA productivity through automation, including automated build-over-build regression testing. It offers superior visibility into functional and performance issues, resulting in quicker Mean Time to Identify (MTTI) and Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) during testing, QA, and production. Plus, you can evaluate audio, video, and content Quality of Experience (QoE) effortlessly without the need for human intervention. This comprehensive solution empowers your team to deliver high-quality digital experiences efficiently and reduce costs, making HeadSpin a valuable asset for your organization.

Conclusion 

In the dynamic landscape of 5G performance testing and coverage enhancements, HeadSpin emerges as a trusted partner. With its cutting-edge solutions and data-driven insights, HeadSpin empowers enterprises to navigate the complexities of 5G adoption with confidence. By offering a holistic view of network performance, from massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) to ultra-reliable low-latency services (URLLC), HeadSpin ensures that 5G networks are not only robust but also finely tuned to meet the demands of modern industries. With HeadSpin, enterprises can optimize their 5G networks, drive operational efficiency, and accelerate their journey toward the wireless future.

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FAQs

Q1. How does 5G network slicing impact performance testing?

Ans: Network slicing allows the creation of customized virtual networks within the 5G infrastructure. Performance testing must verify the isolation, performance, and QoS of each network slice to ensure optimal service delivery.

Q2. How is latency measured in 5G performance testing, and why is it crucial?

Ans: Latency is typically measured in milliseconds (ms) and is crucial for applications requiring real-time responsiveness, such as autonomous vehicles and remote surgeries. Lower latency indicates better performance in 5G networks.

5G network performance testing: Ensuring coverage and quality with HeadSpin

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