Spirent enhances location availability testing for VoLTE E911 calls indoors

New testing capabilities evaluate LTE positioning technologies to help define optimal performance for locating emergency calls made from mobile phones inside buildings

Spirent enhances location availability testing for VoLTE E911 calls indoors

Spirent Communications has announced major enhancements to its test capabilities that will help improve location accuracy for E911 calls indoors. The additional test capabilities on Spirent’s 8100 location technology solution (LTS) enable mobile operators to deliver optimal location performance to support VoLTE (voice over LTE) E911 emergency calling.

They will help operators understand how LTE positioning technologies such as observed time difference of arrival (OTDOA) can help meet the regulations for E911 indoors recently proposed by the US communications regulator, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

LTE brings a promise of improved location accuracy with new positioning technologies and their integration using hybrid techniques. Although established satellite navigation technologies such as A-GNSS (A-GPS and A-GLONASS) provides excellent performance in environments with a clear view of the sky, performance is often poor indoors, where detection of satellite signals is limited.

In LTE, current standards support OTDOA, an advanced cellular positioning technology that can augment A-GNSS and provide a more accurate location fix for indoor scenarios.

With large scale VoLTE rollouts imminent, leading operators are confronted with the need for extensive and complex testing of LTE positioning technologies to ensure VoLTE E911 works well from day one.

Additionally the FCC, whose current E911 regulations apply only to outdoor environments, has proposed stringent indoor requirements as a response to increased mobile usage for emergency calls and lack of accurate positioning information on calls that originate indoors.  

“Roughly 70% of 911 calls are placed from wireless phones and a majority of these calls originate indoors, so there is a real urgency in providing better location accuracy for mobile users, wherever they are calling from,” said Nigel Wright, vice president at Spirent Communications (pictured above).

“As the leader in location technology testing, Spirent is currently working with all the key industry players to evaluate OTDOA and its integration with other positioning technologies, and to enable operators to meet the location requirements for VoLTE E911 and the evolving FCC requirements.”

Spirent said its 8100 LTS product has won widespread acceptance as the leading platform for location testing in the wireless industry, and with this latest capability is now able to support OTDOA position calculation function (PCF). Minimum performance testing for OTDOA looks only at the raw measurements from the device, whereas use of OTDOA PCF enables full verification of a device’s position accuracy performance.

Recognizing its importance, leading carriers have established their own OTDOA positioning performance requirements beyond bare minimum standards. Ensuring that devices fully meet these requirements, as well as the evolving FCC regulations for E911, requires comprehensive testing.

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