Self-organizing network (SON)

Verizon Completes SON Trials With Cisco, Ericsson

Verizon's West Coast network vice president says that the operator has now completed trials of self-optimizing network (SON) systems from Cisco and Ericsson as the operator looks to improve and "densify" its network.

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.)

For more on LTE, visit the 4G LTE section here on Light Reading.

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

cnwedit 9/10/2015 | 10:36:43 AM
Re: Cone of Silence They are states where the geography can be daunting and the population density makes the business case a challenge as well.

Long-term ubiquity of wireless coverage is going to depend on some clever approaches to how these areas get the service they need. 
Sarah Thomas 9/10/2015 | 10:24:55 AM
Re: Cone of Silence That's definitely true. I've heard more mentions about C-RAN from the C-levels too, but as a tech that's on the roadmap, so it's interesting to hear how and where they are already using it (even though I disagree about those being fly-over states!).
cnwedit 9/10/2015 | 9:21:55 AM
Cone of Silence Verizon is starting to open up more about what it's doing behind the curtain, so to speak, to continue upgrading its network. This is a particularly interesting development, since it addresses efficient ways to "densify" - I hate when we create verbs out of nouns - parts of the network that are harder to address. 
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