UMA hosts the 7th ETSI MCX Plugtests

This week the 7th ETSI MCX Plugtests was held in the Ada Byron Research Building. The University of Malaga hosted this event, which took place from 07 to 11 November, and was organised by ETSI with the support of the European Commission, the European Free Trade Association, the Association for Critical Communications and the International Railway Union.

Plugtests are interoperability events organized by ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) in which different manufacturers deploy their communications equipment and try to connect and talk among them. Conducting these tests is essential in the early stages of a technology that is standardized because it allows manufacturers to validate that their interpretation of these standards is the same as that of other manufacturers, check that their equipment works and fix failures. In this case, it is evaluate mission critical services defined by 3GPP (the body that defines how mobile networks work, including 5G and future 6G).

The origin of the critical communications (or mission critical) were the emergency bodies (fire brigade, police, civil protection services, ambulances…) that required safe communication systems and always available to communicate in emergency situations. Those robust “walkie-talkies” with technologies such as TETRA/DMR/TETRAPOL/P25 that different bodies use to talk, have however some capabilities of sending data or video. It is now intended to evolve these teams to provide them with these capabilities and to use 4G and 5G networks. It is also the basis for the development of communications in the rail sector and other critical sectors and infrastructure.


This Plugtest has gathered for a week more than 30 international manufacturers and 15 representatives of governments, operators and emergency bodies. Close to 100 people and remote development teams have evaluated up to 330 possible different tests on the 4G and 5G networks made available by the Institute of Technology and Software Engineering for testing.

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