Is Your Network Ready for the Internet of Things?
As the early days of 5G adoption begin to approach, sub-millisecond latency times will enable more devices than ever before to operate wirelessly on telecommunications networks. The bulk of these devices will be connected to the so-called internet of things (IoT), which will include everything from smart appliances to factory floor sensors to home security devices. Soon, the proliferation of these devices will put never before seen levels of strain on telco networks, increasing the pressure that most network operators already face to provide impeccable quality of service with minuscule latency and pack loss.
IoT Device Testing Challenges
Not only will this influx of new devices require more extensive and rigorous testing of telco networks than ever before, it will also make conformance of the IoT devices themselves increasingly necessary. Read moreWithout robust testing of these devices, your network won’t be able to sustain high enough quality of service to retain customers who may be relying heavily on IoT-related use cases. This may pose a challenge for testing engineers—not just because of new protocols and use cases, but also because the influx comes at a time when service verification for existing network functionality is already becoming more difficult. Here are a few of the things that testers need to be able to do in order to successfully verify IoT device service.
For most devices that connect to telecom networks, the occasional gap in service isn’t going to lead to catastrophe—in part because things like jitter-free video calling are rarely life-and-death, and in part because potentially problematic gaps are easy to notice when a device is in active use. For IoT devices, on the other hand, even critical outages are sometimes harder to spot, because most of the time the devices in question won’t be sending out alerts anyway. This opens up users to potentially disastrous scenarios. In the case of a car crash, for instance, discovering that your sensors have been kicked off their network and won’t be able to send out an automated emergency call is simply not an option. For this reason, when testers in this area are sketching out and prioritizing the use cases that require testing, emergency use cases need to be moved to the top of the list, with target levels of test coverage and accuracy as high as possible.
While focusing on emergency use cases will help testers to respond to the difference in customer expectations that comes along with these devices, End2End service verification can help you to manage the fundamentally different ways in which these types of devices will interact with your network. In a typical smart factory, for instance, you might find IoT devices, middleware and customer applications provided by different vendors running on diverse platforms. In cases like these, it’s very important to verify the complete service chain End2End but going “Beyond” that at the same time. The “Beyond End2End” capabilities of the ATF enable a deep dive into service functionality and lead to high quality testing.
SEGRON’s Solutions for IoT Testing
To date, SEGRON has helped clients in the early stages of the IoT explosion to automate critical processes like emergency functionality. Using devices from Quectel, for instance, we were able to automate one of our Swiss customers’ eCall service, which is meant to activate when an IoT-equipped automobile has experienced a crash. By automating IVS, we were able to trigger calls initiated either by the driver or the car itself (in cases where the driver is incapacitated).
Like we discussed above, this type of emergency functionality is going to increasingly high priority for businesses that are investing in the internet of things.
Because these devices are often running in the background unattended, ensuring minimal downtime is frequently mission critical.
By introducing automation into the service verification stages of the IoT device lifecycle, business can reduce testing costs considerably and improve service quality in the process. Because the IoT, especially in its early stages, is going to be such a high wire act, it’s imperative that businesses employ the right technology to ensure proper functionality.