Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The purpose of drive testing

Drive testing is principally applied in both the planning and optimisation stage of network development. However, there are other purposes for which drive testing can be used:

•To provide path loss data for initial site survey work
•To verify the propagation prediction during the initial planning of the network.
•To verify the network system parameters, as defined in the EG8: GSM/DCS System-Specific Parameters.
•To provide the initial test parameters used in Benchmarking (as defined in the "Analysis" section of the Network Performance and Monitoring Guideline).
•To verify the performance of the network after changes have been made e.g. When a new TRX is added; the removal or addition of a new site; any power Adjustments or changes to the antenna; any changes in clutter or traffic habits such as the addition of new roads etc.
•To measure any interference problems such as coverage from neighboring Countries.
•To locate any RF issues relating to traffic problems such as dropped or blocked calls.
•To locate any poor coverage areas.
•To monitor the network against a slow degradation over time, as well as Monitoring the network after sudden environmental conditions, such as gales or electrical storms.
•To monitor the performance of a competitor's network.
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When to Drive Test

Drive testing can take place during the day or at night and is dependant upon the
Operator's requirements and subscriber habits.
Drive testing during the day will mimic the conditions as seen by subscribers, but may
clog up the network if call analysis is being performed.
Drive testing during the night will allow a greater area to be surveyed due to the reduction
in vehicular congestion. It will also allow for certain test signals to be transmitted and tested, particularly when setting up a new site, without interrupting normal operation.
However, night-time testing does not mimic the conditions experienced by subscribers.
For planning purposes, drive testing is typically performed at night and for maintenance
purposes, drive testing is performed during the day.

Where to Drive Test

Some areas of a network will have greater performance problems than others. Drive
testing should not be uniform throughout the whole network, but should be weighted
towards areas where there are significant RF problems.
There may be other areas of the network that require temporary coverage during a certain
time of the year e.g. an exhibition centre or a sports stadium. These areas should be
examined and planned in greater detail.

It is important that a drive test is documented. This is specified by the Operator and can either take the form of creating a new item of documentation or filling in an existing document.


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