RF drive test/testing basics

This page describes RF drive test/testing and provide link to RF drive test/testing tools.

Basics of RF drive test/testing

RF Drive test/testing is the procedure to evaluate performance of wireless modem/system while driving(or in motion).
The wireless modem or system may include any wireless standards such as GSM, WCDMA, HSPA, UMTS, LTE, WIMAX, WLAN etc. It helps perform various measurements as listed below.

RF Drive test measurements

RF drive test measurements may include but not limited to following. -Dropped call
-handover with same Radio Access Technology(RAT) for example GSM.
-Handover between two RATs, for example between GSM and WCDMA.
-varification of different call quality levels by changing different parameters.
-RF Signal strength measurement.
-sector swapping either full Swap or partial Swap
-Edge and GPRS testing with short and long PS call.
-Short and long duration CS call.
-Idle and connected mode tests.
-Checking RLC throughput as per system requirement/limit.

RF Drive test planning

For RF drive testing particular route and proper SIM with multiple or single RAT support is required (common RATs are GSM,WCDMA,LTE) . GPS support is needed in the setup for finding the route of the RF drive test/testing.

RF Drive test typical set up

RF drive test or testing setup
As shown in the figure, UE(User Equipment) with Antenna is connected with Laptop having RF drive test software. GPS feature should be incorporated to support in driving as per planned proper route. External harddisk is used to store huge amount of data for long duration tests to avoid crash.

RF Drive test data analysis

After acquiring the data for short and long call durations, the logs need to be analyzed by respective domain experts (GSM, LTE, WCDMA) for finding root cause of the various problems observed/recorded during drive tests. Typical problems observed can be call drop, handover/handoff failure, coverage limit issues, quality limit failures, blocked Call issues as well as data link failure etc. Engineers usually use MapInfo software tools to prepare thematic Diagrams to represent received signal level, dropped calls, receiver quality, blocked calls and Handover failures.

RF drive test tools

Refer our link on RF drive test/testing Tools for various RF tools used for RF drive testing.

RF and Wireless Terminologies