Mobile data traffic is set to grow more than fivefold over the next five years according to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report. The explosive number of connected devices with the realisation of Internet of Things (IoT) and the increased diversity of requirements coming from new 5G use cases will generate new revenue streams for mobile application and service providers. A major issue that 5G needs to overcome is the lack of a standardised way for verifying the performance of devices, applications and services in an end-to-end network setup. The requirements thrown by the 5G ubiquitous connectivity makes it imperative to test how well software applications run on varying network conditions or how well devices work compared to other devices operating in the same IoT scenario. The importance of 5G testing EU-funded researchers working on the TRIANGLE project successfully built a framework to help application developers, mobile operators and device manufacturers in the evolving 5G sector to test and benchmark new mobile applications, services and devices. The framework will evaluate quality of experience and enable certification for new digital products. “The success of 5G, and to some extent of 4G, depends on the capability to deliver applications and services with seamless quality of experience to the consumer,” notes project coordinator Michael Dieudonné. Approved products that join the 4G network will not necessarily qualify for 5G. Reliable service, continuity, coverage, network and device resource usage, power consumption and latency are some key performance indicators (KPIs) of applications and devices that are being tested for each use case. Use cases include for example virtual reality, gaming and content distribution. The focus is then to test how well they perform against a set of scenarios including crowded areas such as shopping malls, football stadiums or traffic jams. TRIANGLE’s new framework allows execution of extensive and repeatable test campaigns to obtain meaningful quality-of-experience scores. “The framework looks at a set of 5G KPIs and use cases and produces a single quality score that can eventually be used to certify applications. A similar principle applies for new refrigerating appliance labelling, with energy efficiency scaling ranging from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient),” explains Dieudonné. Beyond human control Evaluating performance of every device, application or service in the new digital 5G environment is far beyond what humans can handle. “Despite the intense work on identifying new 5G use cases, scenarios and KPIs, touching the world of certification for mobile applications is almost like opening Pandora’s Box. Each application is unique and identifying the relevant features and KPIs to test is complex. Nevertheless, the inclusion of IoT and general-purpose devices makes the TRIANGLE certification framework the most complete ever designed, encompassing everything from the user’s end to the service provision end,” notes Dieudonné. TRIANGLE’s new framework is a commercial grade system using commercial handsets to test and benchmark new devices, services and applications. This is quite a new concept with the potential to predict end users’ quality of experience. Testing the performance of their new digital products in a controlled but realistic 5G wireless network setting will clearly provide mobile developers and companies with a competitive edge on the market.
TRIANGLE, application, 5G, device, service, use case, quality of experience, key performance indicators (KPIs), Internet of Things (IoT), certification