Growing customer expectations and challenging network dynamics are putting pressure on the Radio AccessNetwork (RAN) in such a manner that almost 80% of quality impacting events occur in the RAN.
To provide a seamless user experience across radio access technologies and layers, it is therefore extremely important for mobile operators to focus optimisation activities on this part of the network. In 2015, RAN optimisation will therefore continue to play a key role in securing network efficiency and driving customer experience.
But, in 2015, RAN optimisation needs to gain in efficiency:
Efficiency in operations
The increased pressure on OPEX on one side and network expansions & modifications on the other side require RAN optimisation teams to do more with restricted resources. Automation of frequent and repetitive tasks is therefore needed. Self Organising Networks (SON) are bringing this automation and allow RAN optimisation engineers to spend less time on recurring tasks and focus more on securing coverage and cell capacity of high-value generating areas and customers. However, to keep visibility on the impact of automation on the network, SON needs to be monitored, troubleshot and optimised as well.
Efficiency in optimization processes
Existing optimisation solutions based on OMC counters and drive tests have shown their limits in identifying issues on the network and measuring real customer experience. New generation RAN optimisation solutions, combining probe-based data and call traces, can bring operators important benefits:
- A much sharper picture of network coverage and network quality (coverage holes, interference, traffic hot spots, etc.) hereby reducing the need for field drive testing by 90%
- A deeper understanding of the impact of the radio network on the customer experience by taking into account multiple inputs like network availability, congestion, throughput, location, time-of-day, service and application usage.
This new approach requires going beyond working with traditional network-centric KPIs. To effectively manage network performance, mobile operators need to rely on a complete multi-technology solution integrating end-to-end subscriber oriented KPIs.
Efficiency in leveraging existing network resources
According to ABI Research, CAPEX investments today represent 20 to 30% of total cost of ownership for operators, with the RAN representing the largest chunk. So, any means of optimising RAN by making better use of existing radio resources can have an immediate impact on CAPEX, saving several millions of Euros. Mobile operators should leverage subscriber usage knowledge to prioritise network optimisation and structural investments based on customer’s network satisfaction. This will lead to better CAPEX decisions and better ROI.
Astellia’s vendor-independent monitoring and troubleshooting solution covers end-to-end 2G, 3G and 4G networks from radio access to core. By using a combination of probe data and call traces, Astellia’s solution allows mobile operators to enhance their customer’s experience.
David Bouchon is the Field Marketing & Communications Director at Astellia.