Cellular Testbed


Mobile Networks Department has built MUSA (extreMe cellUlar System Architecure), a platform for experimenting with cellular networks. So far, the platform allows HSPA/UMTS network testing.

MUSA Architecture

The wireless access network is composed of a real Node B (Siemens NB-860) with WCDMA and HSDPA functionalities; the core network is a protocol emulator (Tektronix K1297-G35), which is ad-hoc programmed and configured to allow Packect Switched (PS) communication and a PC acting as an IP gateway to external networks. An ATM optical interface connects the Node B to the G35 (real Iub interface). The RNC plus the simplified PS core network is implemented within the emulator. The emulator is connected to the general framework of the EXTREME Testbed® via a Gigabit Ethernet interface (Gi interface). This interface allows communication between UEs and corresponding nodes in the Internet.

UEs are laptops or Supermicro PCs equipped with Option GT-MAX data cards that support rates up to 1.8Mbps in HSDPA. PCs are running Fedora Linux OS and Nozomi driver to control the data cards (e.g. trigger the attach procedure and the PDP Context activation/deactivation procedures as well as to monitor the transmission and received power). Each data card has our test USIM inside for registration and authentication in the lab network. The communication between UEs and Node B is then performed via a real radio link, compliant with the 3GPP specifications of the Uu interface.

The cellular testbed has been recently upgraded to have also femtocell access. Now the platform also has 12 Sagemcom 3G (WCDMA/HSPA) femtocells connected to the core emulator via a real Iuh interface.

Thanks to such upgrade now it is possible to test different cellular scenarios, which are listed here below:

  • Macrocell scenario
  • Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) scenario
  • Network of Femtocell scenario
G35 emulator MUSA physical equipment