Breakthrough for Mission Critical Services conformance testing as first MCPTT test case successfully evaluated
First step towards a global MCS certification program adhering to 3GPP standards
Tuesday 13 October 2020: The availability of fully interoperable standards-based critical broadband services has moved a step closer with the first pre-verification of a Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) conformance test case. This development is critical to the development of truly global mission-critical broadband systems that will enable first responders to communicate seamlessly in the same way that 3G/4G/5G-based networks, devices and services work: across vendors, operators and international borders.
The test case utilised a TTCN-3 tester from MCS-TaaSting and a Mission Critical Services (MCX) client from Nemergent Solutions. 3GPP’s MCX over IP Test Model was used to successfully evaluate one of the most complex test cases involving all the initial configuration, authorisation, authentication and registration steps as defined by 3GPP in Release 14.
3GPP has defined the MCPTT/MCData/MCVideo services ecosystem – known collectively as either MCS or MCX – and both the industry and end-users have been calling for clear certification programs that use standardised conformance testing tools. 3GPP’s RAN Working Group 5, which works on the specification of conformance testing at the radio interface for the user equipment, has defined the test cases to assess the mission critical-related functionality. Therefore, the foundations have been laid but the niche critical communications market and the weight of demands for 5G testing had to date prevented the availability of commercial MCS conformance testers. This successful pre-verification is the first time a TTCN-3 tester has been used to fully implement a MCPTT test case. TTCN-3 is an ETSI standardized testing language adopted by the broadband industry for implementing conformance test cases.
“This announcement is the result of the last nine months joint effort of a group of both MCS standards and protocol testing experts and MCS providers to carefully analyse and double check even the smallest detail in 3GPP standards and resulting TTCN-3 reference implementation,” said Dr. Fidel Liberal, MCS-TaaSting Project Co-ordinator. “The successful compilation and demonstration of the first test case based on the 3GPP TTCN-3 official delivery marks a significant milestone towards building a MCS certification program.”
The pre-verification of the initial test case together with several others expected to be completed by the end of the year means significant progress is being made in MCS certification activities. In addition, the approval of the IP connectivity access network (IP-CAN) model for MCS verification by 3GPP’s RAN WG5 will help to ensure a quicker time to market for MCS test equipment.
MCS TaaSting is a joint initiative funded by NIST and aimed at the definition, development and validation of flexible and cost effective MCS standards testing tools and associated certification procedures upon complete and accurate RAN5 TS & TTCN-3 code suite. The team is led by Dr. Fidel Liberal, a well-recognized expert working in different mission critical communications and 5G related R&D projects including Mission Critical Open Platform (MCOP). Liberal’s team at the University of the Basque Country is supported by leading organisations in critical communications; industry associations and testing experts including ENENSYS Technologies, GridGears, Nemergent Solutions, PSTA, Sonim, TCCA and Texas A&M University. The work is performed under the financial assistance award 70NANB20H005 from U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology. For more information please visit www.mcstaasting.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
 In order to ensure that 3G/4G/5G-based mobile phones can be properly used in a mobile network and interoperate with each other, different certification organisations such as GCF and PTCRB are responsible for evaluating their conformance to 3GPP standards. A comprehensive process is followed to guarantee full compliance – down to the bit level – to 3GPP standards.
 Test case 5.1 from 3GPP’s Technical Specification TS 36.579-2