Light Reading

Self-Organizing Networks & LTE

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes

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 Salt 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        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Network security is becoming an ever bigger deal for communications service providers and the vendor community is reacting accordingly.
Even as MSOs roll out integrated CCAP systems, cable engineers are heating up the debate over next-gen approaches that would shift at least part of the CCAP gear and functions from the headend to the network.
With the help of NFV, cable operators can offer new managed services, roll out other services quicker, reduce their equipment load and cut operational costs.
OPNFV gets a lot of love, but it has a big job to do.
Many vendors are developing programmable transport network platforms to help operators control dynamic virtualized resources but the industry lacks a unified approach as early adopters move forward.
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (4) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (1) comment

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Electric Power Summit 2015 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

11|16|15   |   1:28   |   (0) comments

Huawei, together with Ethiopia's Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, hosted the Huawei Electric Power Summit 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event gathered industry experts and senior executives of global electric power companies to discuss emerging industry trends including: improvements in new energy conversion efficiency, reduction of line losses ...
Between the CEOs
Mobily on Bringing Innovation to Saudi Arabia

11|13|15   |     |   (2) comments

Mobily CEO Ahmad Farroukh talks to Steve Saunders about the realities of being a mobile operator in Saudi Arabia.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Sprint Undercuts Rivals With Half-Price Offers
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/18/2015
Routers Are Facing Extinction: Let’s Not Save Them
Scott Sumner, VP solutions marketing, Accedian Networks, 11/18/2015
Sprint, Verizon Face Reorganization, Job Cuts
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/20/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Mobily CEO Ahmad Farroukh talks to Steve Saunders about the realities of being a mobile operator in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.