3 Tips for Improved Telecom Lab Testing

tips-for-improved-telecom-lab-testing

For the best possible results, your test lab needs to make use of the absolute latest in cutting edge technology. Because this is the arena in which you test changes and additions to your network—including new connected devices like the internet of things (IoT)—you need to find a way to replicate existing network conditions as closely as possible. Otherwise, you might test out new service offerings or network adjustments in a lab setting only to find that your service doesn’t work correctly under real life conditions—which could result in costly delays, outages, and potential subscriber churn.

As the technological rate of change in the telco domain increases—and your mobile subscribers increasingly adopt new, 5G-enabled phones—equipping your test lab with the latest technology will only become more important. And yet, the rapid pace of change often makes this feel like a losing battle. In that way, it’s just as important to set your lab up for future success as to meet current technological needs. How do you do that, exactly? Read on to find out!

1. Automate Flagship Devices

We alluded to this briefly above, but one of the most important requirements for a successful test lab environment is that your testers be equipped with the latest end-user devices. This might seem like it’s as simple as going down to Best Buy or the local equivalent and picking up the latest 5G device—but in point of fact it often requires much more than simply having a device on hand in order to incorporate it into a successful test flow. If you’re working with a test lab that has some degree of automation, for instance, you’ll need to find a way to incorporate these devices into that automated workflow. Here, the temptation is often to root or jailbreak the phones, such that you can install testing software that makes these workflows easier.

Unfortunately, rooting and jailbreaking ultimately defeat the purpose of using flagship devices in the first place. Why? Because you’re essentially hacking these devices, such that they’re no longer identical to the ones your subscribers will be using (to say nothing of the fact that rooted devices don’t receive software/firmware updates), meaning that a service update being developed in the test lab might not actually work in the field. The alternative here is to make sure that you’re partnering with an automation provider who’s able to automate new devices (without rooting or jailbreaking) as soon as they hit the market. In this way, you can incorporate them into your test flows immediately.

2. Along with Everything Else

Of course, in a perfect world there would be a lot more automation than just flagship mobile devices at play in your test lab. Because every year telco testcases are getting more complicated—and thus more time-consuming to verify—managing multiple test labs for simulating your production network, building out new service offerings, fraud detection, etc. all by hand can problematically time consuming. This is why you’ll need to automate a whole host of other devices and network elements. For instance:

  • IP phones for handling PSTN activities
  • Attenuators for forcing SRVCC system handover
  • REST and SOAP interfaces for verifying provisioning and adjusting subscriber parameters

By including all of these elements in your automation workflow, you put yourself in a position to accurately simulate the functionality of your real network much more quickly than you could otherwise manage.

If, for instance, you had a testbed set up specifically to establish the parameters for a new roaming partnership you were developing with another network, automating attenuators would be crucial to cutting lengthy drive tests out of your test suite. Instead of seeking out the edges of your LTE network to find a spot where the signal dies out, you can incorporate a waning signal into your automated test suite. From there, you can perform the usual rounds of service verification, and finish up by ensuring that you can correctly set usage parameters for your mobile subscribers within that roaming service (and invoice for it accordingly). This gives you all the functionality of true end-to-end tests, to the tune of hundreds of use cases per day without manual effort, all within the boundaries of your testing environment.

3. Prioritize Signalling Data

Above, we stressed the different elements that need to be automated in order to achieve true end-to-end lab tests. This is important for boosting test coverage in a high-leverage environment—but it’s also a matter of future-proofing. Once you’ve got each relevant network elements and test tool digitally connected to your central test lab efforts, it will be much easier to make changes, additions, and improvements down the line. By the same token, the kind of automation under discussion—by virtue of being a digitally-native process—can also help you to make sure that your documentation and test reports are kept in a centralized location, with easy access for all those need it.

This sounds like a pretty solid position to be in. But there is one last tip we want to offer to maximize the effectiveness of your test labs: go beyond end-to-end. What does that mean in practice? It means logging and analyzing all of the signalling traffic produced by your testcases. This can include information about establishing calls, making handovers, and provisioning subscribers—all on a protocol level. In this way, you accomplish two things:

  • Earlier detection of error: Individual test elements might be failing or misfiring even in circumstances where the overall test is passing. This won’t always result in a quality of service problem, but it could be a clue to things that may go wrong later.
  • Quicker fixes: at the same time, when a test does fail, having signalling data can help you to identify the root cause that much more quickly.

Again, within an automation context these kinds of workflows will include centralized, readable documentation, meaning that future test flows will be able to reference the signalling data for anything that’s going in your test lab right now. This doesn’t just help improve test velocity and coverage—it establishes a solid operational foundation for success.

 

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TECHNICAL PROJECT MANAGER

You will be a part of the SEGRON Project Team. This will be an amazing opportunity for someone to be part of a team working in next generation cutting edge technologies such as 5G, IOT, DevOps, CI/CD and test automation.

As technical project manager, you will be responsible for understanding the different customer requirements and latest technologies around 5G, VoLTE use cases and you have to setup and align related project activities together with our customers.
You should have a strong knowledge and background in the telco environment paired with project management skills to align projects, track the related KPI’s further having a strong view also on the financial performance.

Soft Skills:
Problem Solving skills:
• Analytical & technical mindset
• Good in abstraction i.e. seeing the “big picture”
• Self-Motivated & Responsible
Team player:
• collaborates with others
• teach new skills to others and write tutorials
Others:
• Good Communication Skills
• Flexible/Entrepreneurial

Hard Skills:
• Several years of experience in Telecom Domain.
• Good expertise on 5G/4G/3G technologies and should be familiar with the network call flows
• IMS/SDM/EPC domain knowledge
• Wireshark packet analysis
• Experience in Protocol testing including HTTP2, SIP, MAP, Diameter.
• Sound understanding of Telco Cloud technologies such as VNFI, Open Stack.
• Sound knowledge in Linux/CentOS, TCP/IP stack
• DevOps knowledge.

Nice to have skills:
• Understanding of 5G network elements and interfaces is plus.
• Robot Framework / Python

Specific additional information:
• You have a Telecommunications/Electronics/SW/Computer master’s degree or equivalent through experience
• PM Certification or equivalent through experience
• Very high English proficient

Others:
• Full time job
• Variety of financial and non-financial benefits
• Offered salary: from 2500 EUR (depends on experience)

DEVELOPER TEST AUTOMATION

You will be a part of the SEGRON Test Automation Development Team. This will be an amazing opportunity for someone to be part of a team working in next generation cutting edge technologies such as 5G, IOT, DevOps, CI/CD and test automation using Python, Robot.

As test automation developer, you will be responsible for understanding the different customer requirements and latest technologies around 5G, VoLTE use cases, building automation tools, framework, creating reusable python libraries for test automation.
You should have a strong knowledge and hands-on experience in test automation framework (Robot) and Python scripting language. Further you must continuously renew the automation & review guidelines set within the team. Ensure developed reusable keywords & test scripts meet the automation guideline.

Soft Skills:
Problem Solving skills:
• Analytical & technical mindset
• Good in abstraction i.e. seeing the “big picture”
• Self-Motivated & Responsible 


Team player:
• collaborates with others
• teach new skills to others and write tutorials


Others:
• Good Communication Skills
• Flexible/Entrepreneurial

Hard Skills:
• Experience in developing reusable test automation scripts using Python and Robot Framework
• Several years of experience in Telecom Domain
• Good expertise on 5G/4G/3G technologies and should be familiar with the network call flows
• Test Case development
• Mobile development
• Design Patterns
• Web development/testing
• IMS/SDM/EPC domain knowledge
• Hand-on experience in Docker containers and Kubernetes.
• Sound understanding of Telco Cloud technologies such as VNFI, Open Stack
• Sound knowledge in Linux/CentOS, TCP/IP stack
• DevOps knowledge

Nice to have skills:
• Understanding of 5G network elements and interfaces is plus
• Wireshark packet analysis
• Experience in Protocol testing including HTTP2, SIP, MAP, Diameter

Specific additional information:
• You have a Telecommunications/Electronics/SW/Computer master’s degree or equivalent through experience
• Very high English proficient

Others:
• Full time job
• Variety of financial and non-financial benefits
• Offered salary: from 2000 EUR (depends on experience)