The saturation of traditional voice services and increased demand for data services are driving an MBB boom around the world. MBB has become a new source of revenue for operators, thanks to the dramatic growth of mobile data traffic. As backhaul networks evolve to all IP, operators are looking to optimum and cost-effective ways of building and maintaining IP backhaul networks.
Three MBB Challenges
How to acquire site resources at low costs?
The evolution of air interface technologies decreases cell coverage radius, spurring a proliferation of cell sites for extending service coverage. Dense distribution of cell sites poses challenges such as site acquisition and availability of access media, especially within a radius of 20 m to 30 m. Other challenges include bandwidth capacity and clock synchronization.
How to lower the CAPEX for deploying varied backhaul networks?
Traditional backhaul network deployment is specific to a particular service type or wireless standard. For example, three backhaul networks need to be separately deployed for GSM, UMTS, and LTE, involving varied interfaces (E1/T1, ATM, ETH) and technologies (microwave, SDH/PDH, PTN, router). This gives advantages such as service assurance, but impedes smooth network evolution and service innovation, incurring high CAPEX.
How to simplify network O&M?
As cell sites proliferate, maintenance workload increases accordingly. Traditionally, IP networks are maintained through manual commands, which are cumbersome and error-prone. Troubleshooting is demanding and time consuming, requiring site visits by experts. Simplifying network O&M has become a major concern for operators.
Building MBB with IP RAN
Huawei's IP RAN solution offers any media access, any connection backhaul, and visualized IP network O&M, helping operators combat the preceding challenges.
Any media access, enabling multi-layered coverage at low costs
Varied access media (copper/fiber/microwave), which provide different bandwidth capacities and transmission qualities, are leveraged to facilitate cell site access in different scenarios. This solution also supports multiple clock synchronization schemes over any media, GB-level bandwidth, and Wi-Fi offload to relieve the bandwidth pressure at hot spots. Tapping into the full potential of varied access resources reduces site acquisition costs.
Any connection backhaul, allowing smooth evolution for UMTS/HSPA/LTE
Static SDH pipes are used for GSM backhaul. UMTS backhaul begins to adopt L3 features. Although UMTS backhaul supports IP-based dynamic routing, static routing is generally used, because cell sites are relatively fixed. The emergence of MBB requires frequent addition of cell sites to expand service coverage and network capacity. To reduce the number of network nodes and avoid the complexity of link adjustment, the aggregation layer needs to enable L3 and intermediate aggregation nodes (between L3-enabled and L2-enabled nodes) need to support both static and dynamic routing. LTE/LTE-A requires the extension of L3 to the access layer, to support local X2 handovers, improve access bandwidth efficiency for CoMP, and meet stringent latency requirements.
With Huawei's versatile Any Connection platform, L3 can be enabled at any time as required on an IP backhaul network, facilitating smooth network evolution and protecting infrastructure investment.
Visualized IP network O&M, introducing simplicity and ease
Huawei's IP RAN solution provides a unified NMS for visualized O&M of IP networks. The NMS supports the automatic discovery, IP address allocation, and remote upgrades for network nodes. This plug-and-play feature greatly reduces the labor costs for site commissioning. With E2E configuration, a service path can be easily configured within several minutes, cutting more than half of service provisioning time. Furthermore, the NMS supports hop-by-hop fault diagnosis and demarcation through GUIs, where physical/logical network topologies and service connections can be displayed. This saves troubleshooting time by more than 95%.
According to Infonetics Research, the ratio of MBB subscribers to total mobile subscribers is expected to grow from 15% in 2011 to nearly 40% in 2016. Mobile networks are witnessing the upsurge of MBB traffic alongside the proliferation of new services and smart terminals. Grabbing this golden opportunity of revenue growth necessitates accelerated IP evolution of backhaul networks.
A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.