On GCF Mobile Field Testing

GCF mobile field testing coverIt follows an interview with Andreas Baumbach, brightONE’s manager of mobile field testing. Learn more about him, his team, GCF (Global Certification Forum) testing in general and brightONE’s approach in particular. Why it is important to be a GCF certified testing services provider?

Michael: Andreas, please tell us about your professional background.

Andreas: Having a strong background in telecommunications, I joined brightONE in 2000 as a project manager for various cell phone related projects. In 2005 I was appointed as the manager of our mobile field testing unit, in which my first task was to get us GCF certified.

Michael: This obviously was a team effort. Please tell us more about your team.

Andreas: Our team in Germany consists of five members with various responsibilities. They are located in Stuttgart and Ulm – for historical reasons.

Michael: Aren’t there partner companies? Please describe the work-split.

Andreas: Yes. According to the rules of GCF, we need teams abroad to be able to test all the different Telco equipment out there. Partners are currently located in France, Spain, Italy, and China. Our partnerships are long-term, so I can safely vouch for their knowledge and professionalism. Besides we hold annual team meetings to stay in synch.

Michael: In layman’s terms, what is mobile field testing?

GCF mobile field testing andreas

Andreas Baumbach (Manager Mobile Field Testing)

Andreas: Mobile field testing and development are done in parallel; formal certification testing however is the last step before new smart phones or tablets, etc. are released by a manufacturer. Tests are carried out using public networks, e.g. Vodafone’s. We manually test the basic functionalities: network access, subscriber registration, cell-to-cell handover, SMS, voice, etc. Data traffic and logs are recorded for further analysis.

Michael: And in practice?

Andreas: We concurrently test the mobiles in a predefined set of networks, precisely following a test list. The logs are analyzed afterwards, because not every issue is plainly visible. Every issue we detect must be corrected by the manufacturer and are then retested by us. We have a zero-bug policy.

Michael: This calls for close cooperation with the manufacturers.

Andreas: Sure, but also with the network providers. We report our test results each day. Every issue is discussed with the responsible parties.

Michael: Why is the GCF certification so important?

Andreas: Only a GCF certification guarantees that every testing services provider not only executes the same tests, but also ensures that they are reliable. It guarantees that all new mobiles work in all networks, this is especially beneficial to the end-user. Besides, GCF works closely with other standardization bodies like 3GPP, GSMA and OMA.

Michael: Any other certifications?

Andreas: Yes, GCF explicitly states, that every testing service provider has to retain a high level of quality, competence and traceability. This is assured by an ISO 17025 certification issued to brightONE in 2013 by the German DAkkS (Germany’s National Accreditation Body). Anyway, it drives us to improve continuously.

Michael: Thank you.

Learn more about our Mobile Field Testing Solution or contact Andreas directly.

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