Aeroflex Reduces Time-to-Solve Problems with Handset Trace Capability

2/13/2006 - Aeroflex has launched a handset trace capability for its highly successful SystemAT laboratory-based test system. SystemAT is used for regression testing new wireless network software and features prior to rollout and handset validation/interoperability testing as well as network load and capacity testing. The extension of SystemAT to allow the complete integration of trace handsets will substantially reduce the 'time-to-solve' problems as they provide more detailed handset status and radio information than commercial handsets enabling the underlying causes of problems to be diagnosed.

SystemAT allows an operator to automate a large part of the test process on a test network, as well as extending the depth and repeatability of the testing while reducing the number of field trials that are needed. SystemAT can deliver both operational cost savings in relation to the test process and reduce the technical risks involved in new software rollout.

Trace information is provided in addition to handset behaviour data (voice calls, data calls, message services, etc). The trace information provided includes radio environment information such as received signal strength and cell information plus higher-layer protocol messages as exchanged between a handset and the network.

Handset trace information adds significant value when investigating the cause of sub-optimal handset operation with the network. For example, a common scenario is where the user experiences an unexpectedly low data rate between the network and their handset. The trace information provides a mechanism to identify whether the cause of this problem is due to an incorrect bearer allocation or a more subtle scenario such as a timing issue surrounding channel resource management.

The trace information is made available for analysis together with all the handset behaviour data and metrics captured by the SystemAT. To assist user interpretation trace data can be viewed and manipulated using a message sequence chart. SystemAT also supports an auto search using handset behaviour data to focus on the key trace messages.

"When problems are found during network-handset testing, the speed of their resolution is critical if time-to-market is to be minimised," said Nick Carter, Product Manager for Aeroflex's system test products. "The additional information generated by trace handsets can substantially reduce the time it takes to resolve issues by providing a diagnosis of the underlying cause. SystemAT allows key trace data to be located quickly for analysis alongside handset behaviour data in order to diagnose problems."

SystemAT is designed to support many different handset model types and this will also apply to trace handsets. Currently handset trace using the Nokia 6650 and Nokia 6680 handsets is supported. As part of Aeroflex's on-going handset integration commitment for SystemAT, other trace handsets can be integrated upon demand.

As well as being available as an option on all new SystemAT's, the handset trace capability is also available as a field upgrade for existing equipment, preserving users' existing capital equipment investment.

About Aeroflex
Aeroflex Incorporated is a global provider of high technology solutions to the aerospace, defence, cellular and broadband communications markets. The company's diverse technologies allow it to design, develop, manufacture and market a broad range of test, measurement and microelectronic products. The company's common stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market System under the symbol ARXX and is included in the S&P SmallCap 600 index.

About Aeroflex Test Solutions, Wireless Division
Aeroflex Wireless offers a full range of protocol, physical layer and parametric test solutions for the cellular communications industry. Its products address infrastructure and mobile handset testing and support all stages of mobile phone and radio access network equipment development and deployment. Applications include R&D, conformance, production, installation and commissioning, field service, and network optimization. Aeroflex's wireless products test all key 2G, 2.5G and 3G wireless technologies including UMTS, cdmaOne, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA, GSM, GPRS, and EDGE worldwide.

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