Small Cell LTE Remote Plugfest 2015

The Small Cell Forum, in partnership with ETSI, has organised the first Small Cell LTE Remote Plugfest from 13 to 24 April 2015.

RemotePlugfest Lead Image final 450x300

From all over the world including Europe, Asia and North America, companies connected their equipment to the remote test infrastructure and tested their solutions from their own labs.

The Small Cell LTE Plugfest series aims to drive a multivendor ecosystem by detecting and resolving gaps and ambiguities in standards, while at the same time helping to debug vendor implementations. This helps provide operators and end users with a wider choice of interoperable products, while facilitating the economies of scale required to deliver mass- market small cell deployments.

Registration was open for companies interested in participating to the test sessions with the following equipment:

  • All Small Cell variations: HeNBs, picocells, microcells…
  • Home eNodeB Gateway (HeNB-GW)
  • Evolved Packet Core (ePC)

The main areas of focus of the Small Cell LTE Remote Plugfest 2015 were:

  • Closed subscriber group (CSG), which help to reduce the signaling load on access networks
  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
  • Emergency Alerts (CMAS)
  • Mobility

In addition, nice progress was made in LTE-A Carrier Aggregation and Local IP access (LIPA) test descriptions, which is of particular interest to mobile operators as a means of increasing hotspot capacity and reducing traffic load on core networks.

The Plugfest was preceded by a remote pre-testing phase where participants had the opportunity to run regression testing and get familiar with the new test cases.

This was the third event in the series and our first fully remote Plugfest, where participants had the opportunity to run the test sessions from company offices by connecting to the VPN based secure transport network, interconnecting them, deployed by ETSI. This well-established remote test lab was set up at the beginning of the series to support pre-testing phases and participation with remote equipment. Since then, remote test lab techniques and technology have been continuously improved to facilitate enrolment and secure interaction among participants. A flexible LTE network allowed participants to evaluate the interoperability of their solutions with any possible testing partner. Recent enhancements in ETSI’s Plugtests™ tool suite have facilitated interaction among companies and ensured consistent reporting of results.

Over 70 reported test sessions and 500 documented test results have been issued over this two week event.

Remote Plugfests will not replace face to face events since they are required to test radio aspects, for instance, but they will help to reduce the number of meetings, improve their efficiency and contribute to a greener world, an issue ETSI has been keen to integrate in its organization and standards making process.

This activity was supported by the European Commission.

Small Cell LTE Blog

The ZSM Forum @ Layer 123 SDN NFV World Congress 2018 sparked great interest. The importance of the ZSM work, its objectives and approach were once again supported during the highly successful and well-attended forum.

The third ETSI ZSM (Zero touch network and Service Management) forum was hosted by Layer123 at the well-attended SDN NFV World Congress 2018 that took place on October 8, 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands. This year the congress focused on three primary themes relating to ZSM: technology (e.g. cloud native NFV, SDN, security), automation (e.g. zero touch, artificial intelligence, programmable cloud) and business (e.g. 5G, service transformation, use cases).Blog ZSM Forum 2018

Klaus Martiny (DT), the ZSM Chair, opened with welcome notes. Klaus reminded the audience that a year ago at the same congress he shared the plan for multiple companies to set up a new initiative, focusing on end-to-end service and network automation, that will address the complexity (in terms of network management) created by the technology evolution. Since then, ETSI was selected as the umbrella for the new initiative and the new Industry Specification Group (ISG) was formed in December 2017. The first meeting of the new ISG took place in January 2018. The ISG has made great progress with the work and is well positioned to facilitate collaboration with relevant open-source projects, standardization bodies and fora to help the industry move to an environment that leverages synergies and achieves alignment through convergence on a single end-to-end network and service management architecture. Cooperation and alignment across the industry are essential to promote the adoption of and alignment with the ZSM architecture and solutions as well as to achieve automated end-to-end network and service management. The ISG ZSM intends to hold an open dialogue with the related organizations and open-source projects so as to encourage mutual convergence. Klaus highlighted the importance of providing early implementations and Proofs of Concepts (PoCs) that can validate the specifications and inject input into the specification work. To this end, he invited the industry players to demonstrate PoCs.

Nurit Sprecher (Nokia), the ZSM Vice Chair, presented (see presentation in ZSM Open Area) the drivers and triggers for full end-to-end automation of network and service management, the rationale for the formation of the new ISG and its goals as well as the work program and status. Currently, the ZSM group includes 59 members/participants of whom 18 are operators.

Nurit also highlighted the important role of PoCs in demonstrating the viability of the ZSM implementations and she invited the different players to join the ZSM PoC projects. The ZSM PoCs are multi-party projects in which network/service providers, suppliers, universities, research centers, open-source projects, integrators and others can participate. The results and lessons learned from the PoCs will be channeled to the ZSM specification work. Nurit pointed to the first ZSM PoC, ServoCloud (see ZSM Wiki) that aims to demonstrate efficient lifecycle and element management automation at scale, and she invited the audience to examine the PoC which was presented during the congress. Nurit concluded that we have just embarked on an exciting journey towards the automation transformation that will help operators to meet user expectations for service agility and create new business opportunities.  Moreover, she emphasized that the ISG intends to drive a highly focused and agile industry effort involving key players spanning the breadth of the ecosystem. The ISG is open to both ETSI members and non-ETSI members. The different players in the value chain are welcome to join the ISG effort, contribute to the development of the specifications and demonstrate PoCs.

Diego Lopez (Telefonica), one of the founders of the ISG ZSM, presented the ZSM scenarios and key requirements which are based on the current content of ETSI Group Specification (GS) ZSM-001. The ZSM scenarios are used to derive the requirements for an automated end-to-end network and service management in general, and to drive the design and specification of the ZSM architecture and solutions. ZSM-001 identifies business-oriented scenarios and related automation challenges faced by operators and vertical industries. The scenarios’ analyses derive architectural, functional and operational requirements. Currently there are 31 scenarios and more than 90 requirements. The ISG is working towards grouping related scenarios and consolidating the requirements. The intention is to outline the key areas for automation and zero-touch operation with the scenario groups and to demonstrate the value and applicability of the ZSM architecture and the management services for supporting future-proof scenarios, such as 5G network-slicing management as well as incremental evolution towards end-to-end automation and zero-touch. The presentation is available in the ZSM Open Area.   

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I’d never been to Montreal (or Quebec) until this summer, and I had the double pleasure of visiting Montreal just before my holidays, as well as soon after them. These visits allowed me to get acquainted with Quebecois summer (surprisingly warmer than back home, in Southern Spain), several delicacies (both poutine and the amazing smoked meat, and some really good microbreweries), the crowded Montreal airport (at least on Friday evenings), and the easygoing nature of a city that makes life so smooth and work so productive.

And a productive week it was indeed. It was the first meeting after I was appointed chair of ETSI NFV for a second term, an honor I really appreciate and that I can only respond to by committing to do my best to keep ISG NFV where this extraordinary community has already brought it: at the core of the radical transformation towards the next generation of networks. And the leadership team is strengthened with the re-appointment of Joan Triay (NTT DOCOMO) as chair of the Technical Steering Committee, leaving the technical management of our extensive work program in the best possible hands.

It was also a meeting for consolidating our vision for the future, defining a common view that, with all the natural differences among the diverse organizations contributing to the NFV effort, will guide us in a new two-year term for the ISG. There was an in-depth discussion about the future of the group during one of our much-loved evening sessions, and the goals for the new term were agreed and submitted to the ETSI Director General for approval, just in time to be discussed at the September ETSI Board meeting.NFV23The initial phase, in which the basic NFV concepts and the NFV architectural framework were defined, established a firm foundation for the extensive specification work required to enable an open ecosystem for this new technology. Building on this foundation, as well as climbing a very steep learning curve, required the two first terms of the ISG, with the third that is about to be completed, focused on making the NFV promise suitable for real operations, and establishing the baseline for telecommunications and enterprise networks evolution, infrastructure deployment, service development, and management automation in a software-defined networking world.

What is more, the ISG has managed to explore and enhance the consensus mechanisms required to more rapidly define standards by fostering collaboration with SDOs and related initiatives, especially open-source communities. We have facilitated fruitful practical collaboration with these communities, and the industry in general, boosting prospects for interoperability, as demonstrated by the three successful interoperability events held to date. The ETSI NFV community intends to continue consolidating, improving and evolving the NFV foundation specifications as the key enablers of an ecosystem and strengthening the cross-industry collaborative mechanisms which will boost progress and ensure an agile response to the evolving industry needs.

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One problem with summer holidays in our industry (or is it a benefit?) is that one tends to let certain things slide and to enjoy more time away from work – whether it be on a formal vacation or just by working a little less than our usual “40 hours” – a very loooong 40 hours – per week. I am certainly guilty of that this summer – and one of the things I am guilty of is not highlighting some really important output from the ETSI MEC ISG. But… as they say… better late than never. So here it goes, but let’s start with background and get to the cool things ETSI MEC produced as we go.

We’ve all heard that “MEC is a 5G technology” although what that means is not exactly clear. In fact, in my very first blog posting, I highlighted that this can lead to some of my (least) favorite “MEC myths”. Here those myths are, re-stated:

  • MEC is a 5G technology, so until I roll-out a 5G network I don’t need to worry about it
  • ETSI MEC will be made irrelevant as soon as 3GPP defines its AF/NEF
  • MEC is only needed before 5G, at which point CUPS (meaning the UPF) replaces it

Side note: yes, the first and third statements are in fact mutually contradicting. But these are myths, they don’t need to be mutually consistent.

Clearly, I disagree with all of these statements, but what is the truth “according to Alex”?

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The ZSM interim#1 meeting was hosted by Ericsson on 9-12 July, 2018 at their headquarters in Kista, Sweden, in a meeting room which was named after Hilda, the wife of Ericsson’s founder. The meeting was a good opportunity for the ZSM team to discuss additional scenarios, advance the ZSM architecture work and demonstrate the first ZSM PoC.

ZSM 2018 Interim 1

As described in great-strides-made-by-technical-brainstorming-at-zsm-3, the ZSM architecture supports the separation of management and automation into different areas of concern, i.e. management domains. At the ZSM interim#1 meeting and in follow-up conference calls, agreement was reached on the high-level architecture inside a management domain (depicted in Figure 1 below). Each domain includes functional components (FCs) that perform specific task(s) and expose one or more management services via service interface(s). Some of the services are internal services and can only be consumed by authorized functional components inside the domain. Other services can be exposed and also consumed by authorized functional components outside the domain (including those contained in the E2E service management domain and the digital storefront). The management services within the management domain are assembled into logical groups, such as domain control services, domain orchestration services, domain intelligence services and domain assurance services. The architecture is designed to enable closed-loop automation (connecting assurance and fulfillment processes) where the automated decision-making mechanisms (e.g. self-optimization and automated service assurance) can be bounded by rules and policies.

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Aurélie Sfez
30 April 2015

Kreso Bilan

Kreso Bilan, the SCF IOP WG Chairman concludes this remote event:

"This time we concentrated on regression tests (VoLTE, X2...) and Closed Subscribe Group - to the extent of UEs support for CSG. LIPA/SIPTO and Carrier Aggregation - have seen test cases developed. In addition, we:

  • Reduced the cost of the plugfest (no organising lab for the remote plugfest),
  • Extended the duration of the plugfest (easier planning for SCF members) and
  • Increased convenience for participants (working from their own labs)."
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Aurélie Sfez
17 April 2015


The Aricent team members testing remotely from India.

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Aurélie Sfez
17 April 2015

Sistelbanda team

The Sistelbanda team testing remotely from Spain.

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Aurélie Sfez
15 April 2015


The  Parallel Wireless team involved in the Small Cell LTE remote Plugfest. They are testing from india and US.

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Aurélie Sfez
15 April 2015


The Qucell team testing remotly from the United States.

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Aurélie Sfez
14 April 2015


The ip access team (Syed and Vijay) testing remotly from UK. 

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Aurélie Sfez
14 April 2015

Accelleran Team

The Accelleran team (Antonio, Alain, Gabriele, Ben, Mike and Stephen) actively remotely testing from Belgium. 

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Aurélie Sfez
13 April 2015


Kicking-off the Small Cell LTE Remote Plugfest 2015 with 16 organisations, 50 engineers and 20 instances of Small Cell equipment connected to different core networks involved... and 70 test sessions scheduled for the 2 upcoming weeks!! Good luck to everyone!!

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Aurélie Sfez
13 April 2015


The Casa-Systems team is ready to test from the United States.

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Aurélie Sfez
10 April 2015

Klaus Node-H

Klaus from Node-H GmbH is ready to test remotly from Germany.

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Aurélie Sfez
10 April 2015


After successful deployment of the tracing system, Francesco from JDSU and the entire ETSI Plugfest team enjoy a nice lunch together.

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Aurélie Sfez
09 April 2015


Francesco, from JDSU, installing the tracing equipment at ETSI premises with the help of our ETSI colleague (Sebastian), in France. The JDSU team will be operating the servers
remotely from Italy.

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Aurélie Sfez
07 April 2015


The Fujitsu team will test remotely from Japan.

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Aurélie Sfez
02 April 2015


Tom from Cisco will operate from Germany his equipment located in Italy.

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Aurélie Sfez
01 April 2015


The ATHONET team is ready to test from Italy.

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Aurélie Sfez
01 April 2015

one2Many team

The ONE2MANY team (Peter & Peter) will test remotly from the Netherlands.

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Aurélie Sfez
31 March 2015

Jean-Luc HIVE

Jean-Luc and the ETSI remote test infrastructure core (HIVE) ready for integrating Plugfest participants.


The ETSI team based in France is ready for the pre-testing phase of the Small Cell LTE Remote Plugfest. (Silvia, Alex, Aurélie, Jean-Luc and Peter)

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