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Test and Measurement: Americans are ‘falling back into old habits’, Verizon says


Verizon is beginning to see a shift back toward a more typical, pre-pandemic network mix of calls and texts and is seeing more evidence of people leaving home, according to its most recent update.

Handoffs between cell sites are “steadily increasing from the peak of stay-at-home orders,” the carrier said, with handoffs now down only about 19% from normal, compared to being down 35% at that peak.”Mobile handoffs in some areas of the country (Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kansas and Missouri) are surging higher than a typical pre-COVID day. Although still well below pre-COVID levels, New York Metro mobile handoffs increased 16%, Upstate New York increased 1% and New England increased over 5% week over week,” the carrier said.

On Wednesday of this week, voice calls on Verizon’s networks were slightly over 760 million — quite a drop from peak daily call volume of more than 860 million calls during the ongoing pandemic, which has caused a resurgence in voice traffic. Text messaging is continuing a week-over-week decline as well, the network operator said. Texting fell 5% this week to slightly less than 6 billion texts sent on Wednesday, compared to more than 9 billion at the peak of pandemic-driven usage changes.

However, teleworking and distance learning is continuing, and virtual private network use (which has also boomed during the COVID-19 crisis) actually hit a new peak, up 3% from last week and overall, 81% higher than a “typical pre-COVID day” on Verizon’s network. Collaboration tool use is still up about 1,200% from pre-pandemic times, but was down 6% from last week.

Gaming was up 23% from last week (when it had shown a temporary decline) and video streaming was flat, continuing to come in at about 36% higher usage than a typical pre-pandemic day. Meanwhile, web browsing was up 11% week-over-week, Verizon reported.

In other test news this week:

Netscout Systems reported a drop in revenues and profits in its fiscal fourth quarter. Total revenue for the quarter was $229.4 million, down from $235 million in the year-ago period. Net income was $7.3 million, down from $19.2 million during the same time last year.

Full-year revenues were $891.8 million, down from nearly $910 million. But its loss for the year was $2.8 million, a significant improvement from a loss of $73.3 million for the previous year, which had been due in part to costs associated with the company’s sale of its HNT tools business.

Anil Singhal, president and CEO of Netscout, said that the company has seen some order delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the company’s customers adjust operations to deal with the situation.

He said that Netscout’s solutions are more important than ever, since its service assurance and security offerings are used to keep networks and infrastructure up and running. “We believe that this global pandemic could accelerate certain trends such as digital transformation and cloud migration, security requirements, and 5G over the longer term,” Singhal said. He added that in terms of Netscout’s finances, the company is “confident that our solid balance sheet and strong financial position will provide us with the liquidity and flexibility necessary to weather these uncertain and challenging times.”

MTS‘ CEO is leaving, and the company’s board has appointed an interim CEO. Dr. Jeffrey Graves will be stepping down to pursue another opportunity, MTS reported, and the board has chosen Randy J. Martinez, who has been part of the board since March 2014, to serve as interim CEO while it conducts a search for a permanent replacement. Martinez has experience as an aerospace and defense executive and served for 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, holding command and senior staff positions. 

Grand View Research forecasts that the global test bench market grow at a rate of 4.8% per year through 2027, reaching $1.61 billion by the end of the forecast period. The analyst firm says that increasing adoption of test benches in industrial applications (automotive, semiconductor and electronics, industrial manufacturing and engineering, for example) will help to drive the growth, along with the need for testing appliances and equipment including consumer electronics and car components.

Keysight Technologies unveiled a new oscilloscope series that it claims is the first with eight analog channels at 6 GHz and 16 simultaneous digital channels. The Infiniium MXR-Series mixed signal oscilloscope is actually eight instruments in one, Keysight said: an oscilloscope, but also a real-time spectrum analyzer, digital voltmeter, waveform generator, Bode plotter, counter, protocol analyzer, and logic analyzer, complemented by “an extensive suite of software solutions focused on power integrity, high-speed digital test, and verification” and built-in software including a fault-hunter function that can help identify rare or randomly occurring errors.

Rohde & Schwarz says that pulsed coherent radar (PCR) and IoT company Acconeer will be using the R&S FSW85 signal and spectrum analyzer to develop a 60 GHz low-power PCR sensor for IoT use.




Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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