Ready for HetNets?

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix.

As growth in data demand drives the deployment of LTE, one of the challenges facing mobile operators is how to improve the subscriber experience, while navigating the increasing complexity of their own networks.

This year more than 150 mobile operators will roll out LTE. With the vast majority of smartphone and tablet mobile traffic originating from just five per cent of locations, demand for small cells will soon overtake that of macro cells. Meanwhile, current network analytics already clearly show operator traffic that is handled in-building and by small cells to be on the rise. Analyst house Infonetics has suggesting this could account for 25 per cent of all traffic in the next three or four years. As a result, mobile operators will be forced to juggle a range of access technologies (2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi) as well as macro cells, residential and enterprise femtocells, small and pico cells, creating a complex network built upon multiple cell sizes.

Small cells will create new challenges, including backhaul in densely used urban centres, with regional and municipal eccentricities resulting in a minefield of planning regulations and restrictions and unwanted interaction with existing networks.

At the same time, operators are upgrading network infrastructure to a single RAN (with combined 2G and 3G base stations) and refarming spectrum, which will make it easier to roll out LTE. However, these live network changes will inevitably disrupt network performance and customer experience. All this is the reality of the new HetNet that operators must come to accept, and then deal with.

Mobile operators clearly face a mountainous challenge. To survive operators have to successfully manage increasing network complexity, whilst still delivering better customer experience – if business plans for LTE are to meet subscriber expectations.

To achieve this they need granular insight into their network and subscribers. They need to be able to quantify the exact nature and location of demand, as well as qualify network performance together with subscriber experience and the impact on their business. This will enable them to determine which technologies should be deployed in which locations or which network elements need merely to be tweaked, at minimal cost, in order to deliver the best possible experience for their subscribers.

With Actix’s award winning analytics platform and LTE solutions, real-time subscriber geo-location in the radio access network (RAN) enables the operator to indentify capacity, coverage, speed, customer and handset conditions. This helps operators to make better informed decisions by identifying the exact locations where they need to bolster capacity, improve coverage and raise speeds to keep subscribers happy. Operators are then able to decide for example where small cell quick fixes, especially for in-building issues, should be deployed, or identify prime and acceptable locations for LTE and more effectively optimise multi-vendor, multi-technology HetNet environments.

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix, will be delivering his Masterclass in effectively handling capacity challenges within a comprehensive HetNet at the LTE World Summit at the Amsterdam RAI, on Tuesday 25th June from 10.20. You can register to attend for free here. To learn more about overcoming HetNet complexity visit Actix at stand 56 from the 25-26th June, or visit www.actix.com.

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