Light Reading

Self-Organizing Networks & LTE

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
7/8/2008
50%
50%

The idea of self-configuring, self-optimizing wireless networks is not a new one, but as the mobile industry moves toward commercialization of next-generation "4G" systems, the ability to automate the management processes has emerged as a key technology requirement.

The idea is to minimize the lifecycle cost of running a network by eliminating manual configuration of equipment at the time of deployment, right through to dynamically optimizing radio network performance during operation. The ultimate aim is to reduce the unit cost and retail price of wireless data services.

The belief among operators is that 3G represents a missed opportunity to automate network processes, and that much of the ongoing cost to configure and manage Node Bs, radio network controllers, and core network elements is accounted for by the need to allocate expensive technicians to mundane, yet cumbersome, tasks.

Operators are thus increasingly vocal in their determination not to forfeit the benefits of automation in the move to Long Term Evolution (LTE) and are working to enshrine self-organizing network (SON) principles in vendor roadmaps and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards process. This is being done most notably through the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) initiative, which has produced a White Paper on "Use Cases Related to Self Organizing Network." More formally, SONs as they relate to UTRAN LTE are the subject of a 3GPP Technical Report issued earlier this year, entitled "Self-Configuring and Self-Optimizing Network Use Cases and Solutions."

SONs are also required domain expertise for hotshot executives in the CTO office and increasingly a feature of technology conference keynotes, as leading operators evangelize the message to the wider technology community.

At Light Reading's own Backhaul Strategies for Mobile Operators: Europe event last week, Arnuad Cauvin of Orange SA , representing the NGMN as backhaul project manager, spoke about the importance of self-optimizing backhaul for converged LTE/3G/GSM networks. Elsewhere, Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has been vocal on the subject with Kenny Graham, head of new technologies and innovation, highlighting the crucial role of SONs for metro-zone LTE deployments (see Vodafone Dreams of Metro Femto.)

T-Mobile International AG , arguably the operator pushing hardest for SONs through its work in the 3GPP and NGMN, is equally forthright. Emin Gurdenli, T-Mobile UK's director of technology, recently described network automation as critical to investment in next-generation wireless technologies at a London conference.

That's all good, of course. But is the SON concept attainable in the near to medium term? Or are operators getting ahead of themselves? And is the never-ending drive to cut the cost of infrastructure really compatible with the R&D investment required to make SONs viable?

What I'm hearing from the vendor community privately is that there are some relatively easy kills to be had, but operators are overly optimistic when it comes to the hard stuff.

2G and 3G femtocells, which are unmanaged by definition, are likely to be the first area in which SON techniques are applied commercially. And there are significant improvements to be made in terms of auto-configuration of new base stations at site setup, as well as to network management systems to automatically reconfigure live networks, instead of having to manually re-tune the network each time a small change is required.

Taking the SON concept to its logical conclusion, however, and expecting self-organizing, self-optimizing radio networks in multi-vendor environments, in multi-layer topologies, to work in a plug-and-play fashion – that's challenging, to say the least.

— Gabriel Brown, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Network operators have a unique opportunity to develop and profit from IoT-as-a-service propositions.
Cloud enablement partnerships between traditional communications service providers and cloud specialists are set to proliferate in the coming years.
Communications service providers are looking to play an integral role in the M2M (machine-to-machine) value chain, but it's not easy.
Many US utility companies today are caught in a crisis of identity, progression and even purpose.
Energy efficiency has long been vital to service providers because of its large and growing effect on their operating costs and earnings.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive