Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), unlike major rival AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), has been relatively quiet on any work it has been doing on SON so far. Brian Mecum, vice president, Network West Area, however, told Light Reading Wednesday that Verizon has completed testing SON systems with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC).
"We fully intend to deploy it," Mecum says. SON technology performs multiple tasks, such as automatically detecting when a site is down and routing users to the next-best cell, or enabling cells to share bandwidth when network capacity is limited.
AT&T has been working with Cisco on SON technology for a few years now. (See Cisco to Buy AT&T's Favorite SON Startup.)
Mecum's region covers the West coast, Alaska, Hawaii and "flyover states" such as Colorado, Montana and Utah. He says that Verizon has spent the last couple of years "densifying" the network with C-RAN distributed radio technology in major cities like Denver, San Diego and Seattle. (See Time for Some New Acronyms for CRAN)
Cloud-RAN -- or whatever we're calling it these days -- separates the baseband controller from the radios, so that many radios can be controlled by a single controller. Difficulties come in, however, because dark fiber and power have to be run to the remote radioheads (RRH). (See What the [Bleep] Is Fronthaul?.)
Fiber is "harder to get than power," Mecum notes.
Nonetheless, Verizon has been adding capacity with C-RAN around downtown San Francisco and the Bay Area. The carrier has an eye on Super Bowl 50, which will be held in Santa Clara on February 7, 2016, and always puts the pressure on every operator's network.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading