TM500 Network Test System Now Supports 4G IoT

Cobham Test

The TM500 Test System from Cobham Wireless now has the capability to emulate tens of thousands of Machine Type Communications (MTC) devices, sometimes known as M2M devices. This enables network operators and infrastructure vendors to validate 4G cellular network performance in preparation for deploying Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

The next-generation TM500 can evaluate the effect on the network of connecting large numbers of low-power, low-complexity UEs (user equipment) for MTC applications. Non-speech devices that will use MTC will include smart meters, security cameras, environmental sensors, and a whole range of industrial and commercial sensors and controllers. Unlike mobile phones, MTC devices need to have an extended battery life of up to ten years, low unit cost, and a low cost of deployment. Using cellular networks to connect MTC devices offers the benefit of wide area coverage on an existing stable network.

The main driver for MTC/M2M is the widely-publicised forecast that LTE networks will be used to support the development of the Internet of Things. With billions of non-speech devices expected to be connected over the next 10 years, it is crucial that network operators can optimise the current 4G networks to connect them, rather than needing to wait for the promised 5G capacity increase.

The Cobham Wireless TM500 is curently used by infrastructure vendors to validate their networks under realistic usage and loading scenarios for voice and data. This upgrade will ensure that this test set can support the upcoming IOT Industry.

A live demonstration of the next-generation TM500 network tester and a prototype IoT traffic generator for 5G were both recently showcased at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.