The growing telecom industry has given an impetus to the growth of T&M industry with multinational companies outsourcing ever-increasing amounts of value-added R&D work to their Indian subsidiaries and partners which drives demand for advanced technology test and measurement equipment. In an interview with TelecomTiger, Stephen Hire, General Manager, Aeroflex Asia-India, tells how T&M industry can play a major catalyst in Indo-US defense ties. Excerpts from his interview:
Q. What kind of activities do you foresee for India market in near future?
A. The impressive growth of the telecom industry has fuelled the growth for the T&M industry as well. With telecom operators expanding their network to accommodate the growing number of mobile users, there is a rise in demand for mobile and broadband testers. With the increasing popularity of 3G and the impending introduction of 4G, the prospect of T&M products and solutions look robust. Important new opportunities have also been created by the awarding of the TD-LTE broadband wireless access licenses to India.
Apart from these, multinational companies are outsourcing ever-increasing amounts of value-added R&D work to their Indian subsidiaries and partners which drives demand for advanced technology test and measurement equipment. Also, the warming of defense ties between the United States and India has led to further opportunities for the T&M industry. These are both sectors that play to Aeroflex’s strengths.
Q. India is stepping towards 4G. What solutions/products you intend to offer to the service providers?
A. Any service provider working at the forefront of a new technology faces additional challenges compared to later entrants. The increasing volume of data traffic and widely varying traffic types and mixes also complicate matters.
A number of service providers have already chosen Aeroflex’s TM500 Test Mobile to help benchmark different vendors’ radio access network equipment. With the industry standard TM500, and a roadmap that delivers functionality ahead of commercial devices, leading-edge features can be tested well in advance of a network launch. Any issues can be debugged prior to when paying subscribers start using the service.
As networks move through LTE and onto LTE-A, Aeroflex will continue to offer first-to-market test solutions.
Q. Technology is changing fast the world over, so are the security issues. How do you plan to strike a balance between the two, particularly in Indian context?
A. Network security is a wide topic that encompasses many different aspects. A weakness anywhere in the network can be exploited to penetrate the network. Aeroflex is involved at the radio interface level and the 3GPP standards for LTE have been drawn up to ensure that even though anyone can monitor a radio transmission, the data being carried is securely encrypted to prevent eavesdropping. Thorough testing to ensure full compliance with the standards is essential to make certain that design errors in products do not create a loophole.
Q. Are you in touch with Indian defense or security agencies for your solutions?
A. Aeroflex is a regular supplier of equipment to defence and security agencies around the world.
Q. India along with China and the US has a large number of mobile subscribers. How are you going to address their needs?
A. The three markets have very different dynamics and there are as many differences as there are similarities amongst the markets. To try and simplify, China is driven by the sheer number of users using a mix of services, while America is driven by data traffic, and India by voice and very low ARPUs. These factors are constantly changing but a common factor for all three markets is the relentless pressure on network resources that the ever-increasing ubiquity of mobile phones and large numbers of subscribers place on the network.
There is no one solution to this pressure on resources but each part of the network must play its own part. In the case of the radio access network, simple compliance to the standards is no longer sufficient. For example, network equipment vendors use products such as the Aeroflex TM500 Test Mobile to constantly explore ways to optimize algorithms for scheduling resources or test the network under loaded conditions. Handset and chipset vendors are using our 7100 LTE Radio Test Set and network emulator to optimize battery life (no one wants their smart phone battery to die half way through an online game!) and maximize data transfer rates to improve the user experience when web-browsing or watching video. The larger the network and greater the number of subscribers, the more important it becomes to squeeze every last drop of performance out of each part of the network.
Recognizing the tremendous potential of the Indian market, Aeroflex has opened its new office in Bangalore. This office will be the country’s nucleus for Aeroflex’s sales, service, and application support for Aeroflex’s T&M products and systems. The mobile communications industry is going through a very exciting period of change and although there are will always be ups and downs, the general trend is looking very positive.