[Series: Part 1] Drive test -The Introduction

Drive Testing All you need to know

Through this series “Drive test”, we will try to achieve the knowledge of what is drive test and how is it performed?

Drive test is basically all about a simple concept of transmission and reception. Transmission and reception ability, combined together in single equipment is called transceiver. Both mobile handset and the BTS (Base transceiver station) contain these transceivers, this simply means that a mobile handset or a BTS can transmit and receive signals.

Now, during the drive test that is exactly what we do. We receive signals from different base stations, and also transmit, at regular intervals from our handset. All these communication between mobile phone and BTS are recorded by the drive testing software.

Equipments Required:

Now, let us talk about the equipment we need to perform the Drive test.

  1. Mobile handset
  2. Software (with dongle)
  3. SIM card
  4. Computer
  5. GPS and cables
  6. Inverter

1. Mobile Handset:

Your mobile phone works as a transceiver and helps the software to record all the communication that takes place between mobile phone and BTS.

2. Software (with Dongle):

There are different types of software that serve the purpose of drive test. Some popular names are TEMS, NEMO and GENEX PROBE. If you want to be efficient in this work then know your software better, and that’s all it takes. The basic concept remains same for all software. These software come with specified handsets that can be used for testing purposes. The software record all the communication that takes place between the mobile handset and the BTS.  The software requires USB dongles. The dongle works as a key to authenticate license of the software. Some newer versions work without dongles as well.

3. SIM Card:

There can be various service providers in any given region, so you need to make sure that you use the desired network (service provider) sim card while performing the drive test. Means if you want to perform the drive test for any particular network you should use the sim card of that particular service provider

4. Computer:

As for computers, I believe, the higher the configuration the better it is. Also the more the number of USB ports the better it is, because a lot of spectrum and technology force drive testers to use multiple mobiles simultaneously, and each mobile is connected via a USB port, hence my point on having more USB ports is better. But in case if you have limited number of ports you can always use the option of USB hubs. Targus 4-ports hub works really well for me, and I do believe that it is one of the best options available in the market.

5. GPS and Cables:

GPS (Global Positioning System) will be required for positioning purposes so that it can be analyzed what type of service you received at a particular location. Cables will be used for connectivity between mobile and your computer.

6. Inverter:

As the name drive test clearly indicates that we have to drive and perform the testing on the go. So the last but not the least of the things is inverter. It provides power to your laptop/computer. Additional sockets are also provided so any other equipment can also be charged.

Concluding Remarks:

The Part-1 of this series “Drive test-The Introduction” concludes here with the basic description of the test-equipment required to perform the drive test. That’s it for now, but it’s not a good-bye here, rather it is just the beginning. In the second part of this series, God willing, we will discuss about how to setup the software to perform the drive test.



Author: Muhammad Maaz Khan

The author is a telecom professional, and wants to contribute positively towards a better society.

5 thoughts on “[Series: Part 1] Drive test -The Introduction”

  1. A well researched post, i believe. The author seems to talk from his experience of this particular topic.
    Well written. Anxiously waiting for the Part 2 of this series. 🙂

  2. The engineers who are starting their career in telecommunication may benefit quite a lot from the author’s experience. Please write more on this subject.

  3. Very well written. Thanks a lot for such useful information. Desperately waiting for the next episode. 🙂

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