Communication Systems

Fraunhofer IIS and Nokia jointly operating LTE-A test bed for new mobility and IoT applications


Erlangen, March 2, 2015 – A joint effort between Nokia and the Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen has resulted in the development of a test bed that features a unique combination of wide network coverage and the latest long term evolution advanced (LTE-A) technology. Fraunhofer IIS is using the LTE-A test bed to evaluate new services and applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile connectivity.

Das Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen stellt ein LTE-Testbed mit einer Abdeckung von bis zu 500 Quadratkilometern und LTE-A-Technologie zur Verfügung. © Fraunhofer IIS/Rida El Ali
One of both LTE-testbed base stations at Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen.
© Fraunhofer IIS/Hans Adel

Situated in Erlangen, Germany, the new test bed allows developers and users of mobile communication software and hardware to carry out tests over a 500 square-kilometer area using LTE-A technology to determine how applications or data transmissions behave in certain situations and under specific mobility criteria, such as different mobile network loads.

The tests provide companies valuable information regarding ways they can further improve their services. The coverage area includes a section of the A3 autobahn, the center of Erlangen, several suburban communities, and a selection of rural areas.

LTE-A test bed for new applications and systems

The network consists of two locations, each with three macro cells for testing LTE transmissions and other applications in a real environment. Companies can run the tests using commercially-available end-user devices that operate in the 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz frequency ranges. The actual network is operated by Fraunhofer IIS while Nokia Networks provides the required base stations (eNodeB). The base stations are equipped with so-called mobile edge computing technology that makes it possible to locally run time-critical and bandwidth-hungry applications instead of having to first transmit the data across the mobile network.

Interested companies and organizations can use the test bed as part of a joint activity or project in order to test innovative networked applications and systems for environments such as the Internet of Things. Fraunhofer IIS is currently testing a camera link for security applications such as those used by the fire department or paramedics.