Hisham Siblini, Chief Technology Officer, Wataniya Telecom is speaking on Day Two of the LTE MENA 2014 conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. Ahead of the show we get his views on how networks will have to adapt and change to face increasing demand over the next five years.
What are the major challenges you are facing as you upgrade your network to LTE?
In my views and based on our recent experience in upgrading our network to LTE, the major challenges can be summarised as follows:
- Modernizing the network by building a single RAN based on a Software Defined Radio access platform. This will enable the efficient reuse of available spectrum.
- Upgrade the network backhaul to support native IP.
- Upgrading the core network and building an efficient and state-of-the art packet core network including Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and PCEF functions
What is the single most significant or interesting technology that you think will have an impact in the next 12 months?
In my view it is DPI along with PCRF. This is a key function and an enabler, which enables the design of attractive data packages and the ability to monetize the exponential data growth.
How are you using capabilities such as QoS to improve the customer experience?
End-to-end QoS across the network elements is a key requirement to improving the customer experience. It’s also important in order to give priority to high ARPU/corporate customers priority access your network when there is a local congestion in any area or segment of the network. This is currently implemented in our network and we see a significant QoS differentiation in line with our segmented approach.
How do you expect networks to adapt and change over the next five years and how will it impact lives?
Coping with data tsunamis is the key challenge today. In the next five years the name of the game will be spectral efficiency. Networks have to adapt to move the spectrum around from one technology to another, as quick and efficient as possible, in order to cope with demand and maintain acceptable SLAs and QoS levels. As an obvious example, spectrum has to be re-farmed and moved out from 2G Networks toward LTA and LTE-A. Additionally, I believe voice circuit traffic will disappear in the next five years and all voice will be moved to VoIP. Therefore, anticipating VoLTE through IMS platform is another priority. VoLTE will also enable improved voice setup time as we as spectral efficiency.
On the other hand, network capacities have to be revisited since we will very soon be reaching the maximum capacity a macro layer can handle. The transition towards small and pico cells, along with traffic localisation has to be anticipated as much as possible.
What are you most looking forward to at the LTE MENA conference?
In-line with the above challenges, I will be looking to see how operators in the region, and worldwide, are preparing themselves to cope with the huge demand for data, and more specifically, how they are preparing themselves to IMS , VoLTE and LTE-A.
The 4th annual LTE MENA conference is taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. Click here to DOWNLOAD the brochure for the event.