eICIC is an enhanced inter-cell interference coordination technique specifically designed to improve the overall performance of heterogeneous network (HetNet) deployments, and is one of the main features specified for LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) in 3GPP Release10. The main application of eICIC is to improve cell edge performance and coverage in HetNet deployment scenarios where nodes of different types- macro-, micro- and picocells – have coverage areas that partially overlap.
This latest enhancement to the TM500 Test Mobile platform allows engineers developing and testing LTE base stations (eNodeB) to integrate and validate the eICIC feature and to verify the advantages of heterogeneous deployments.
“Heterogeneous networks are now becoming a reality to address the need for increased network capacity. Self Organizing Networks will be an important method for improving heterogeneous network performance and efficiency in an automated way. This brings the need for more sophisticated interference management techniques to exploit these benefits, and also the right test instruments to verify this performance,” said Nicola Logli, Product Manager at Aeroflex. “The addition of LTE-A eICIC support and the launch of the TM500 LTE-A Test Mobile is the latest phase in our roadmap, tracking all the latest 3GPP updates and ensures that infrastructure vendors can test them as soon as they are needed.”
The TM500’s support for eICIC measurements, which applies to both FDD and TDD, includes logging the eICIC specific protocol messages and physical layer measurements.
eICIC represents an extension of the interference management techniques that were used in LTE Release 8 and 9, and it differs from these techniques in that it is not transparent to the UE (User Equipment) and therefore needs to be verified with a test UE such as the TM500.