PerformNetworks (formerly PerformLTE) is a FIRE+ experimental platform, designed to offer a realistic experimentation environment covering LTE, LTE-A and future networks. The testbed is based on commercial off-the-shelf solutions (both in the radio and core network), software defined radio equipment and conformance testing equipment. The testbed offers a wide range of possibilities covering pilots, interoperability, performance evaluation, QoS, QoE and more. PerformNetworks is operated by the MORSE research group at the Universidad de Málaga.
The PerformNetworks methodology follows a holistic approach, combining different lines of research, commercial and emulated equipment, and featuring LTE radio access emulation, Evolved Nodes B (eNBs), User Equipments (UEs), and an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) emulation system. All these elements can be combined to enable experimentation with all the components of a LTE network.
In general terms, LTE connectivity is provided through three different solutions, each one focusing on a different research aspect, moving between emulation and real-world environments. Three main scenarios can be differentiated based on the radio access type:
- Scenarios based on conformance testing equipment that provides a full LTE end-to-end emulation, including channel emulation with different fading profiles and operation on all the standardized LTE bands, both FDD and TDD. This equipment allows the configuration of multiple levels of the LTE Radio Access Network (RAN) stack, so researchers can study the effect of different parameters as well as the motorization of the full network.
- Scenarios based on commercial off-the-shelf eNBs. These scenarios provide functionality close to that provided by operators. Configuration is based on OAM interfaces, some proprietary, others based on standards like TR.069. Researchers can test the policies that operators are able to setup and can provide highly complex configurations of the EPC network.
- Scenarios based on commercial LTE networks, in which the testbed offers applications and tools to extract information from the state of the network and correlate it with performance indicators from IP and application levels.
Additionally the testbed features Sofware Defined Radio units that in combination with open source stacks (both for the UE and eNB) can provide a highly realistic way of testing new features on the network and have been extended to support release 12 Wi-Fi integration on the LTE network. See our resources section for a more detailed view of the available functionality.
The flexibility of the components defined in the system enable many different types of experiments and usage of the testbed. To list just a few of the available services:
- Performance evaluation of services and/or network elements/functionality, the testbed provides a wide range of tools to extract statistics from all the components of the networks.
- Interoperability testing with any of the components of the LTE network. Most of our components provide positive and negative testing as well as information about the signaling messages exchanged .
- Pilot execution. Thinking of going live? PerformNetworks has all the components necessary for deployment as well as contacts with mobile operators in Spain interested in research.
- Consultancy services. Our experts in mobile communications can help you with your ideas and experiments.
PerformNetworks is always looking for new scenarios and technologies so even if your needs seem not to be covered by our testbed, contact us and let’s talk.