Light Reading

Self-Organizing Networks & LTE

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

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
The success of NFV and SDN will depend on service assurance, big data, end-to-end orchestration, and a centralized catalog.
The move to 100G in long-haul networks is driving the integration of DWDM transport and OTN switching, finds Heavy Reading.
Service providers are being challenged to enable a digital lifestyle for their corporate clients as well as residential customers.
Big data analytics is creating a multi-billion-dollar revenue opportunity for service providers.
The Evolved Packet Core (EPC) has emerged as one of the leading candidates for network functions virtualization (NFV).
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed