This post is by John Reister is vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Network
LTE delivers rich content to the hands of people on the go, brings broadband access to rural communities, and opens new revenue opportunities for operators. Typically, just months after activation of an LTE network, consumers flood the network with heavy demands. We can’t change consumer behavior, but we can change management of the traffic that’s mushrooming on LTE networks.
Caught off-guard, some operators have responded by pushing subscribers down to 3G. Some “optimize” certain types of traffic, decreasing quality or speed in the hope of squeezing out more efficiency. Our company advocates a different approach: monitoring congestion conditions per cell and when they arise, intelligently managing the traffic in each cell for the best overall user experiences.
Mobile traffic can get unruly because of each session’s lack of perspective on other traffic in the same cell. Further, available capacity fluctuates with ever-changing cell conditions. The cell also happens to be the part of the network where capacity is most expensive. Contending demands are made by many devices in the cell without comprehension of congestion consequences within their shared cells.
It is better for there to be comprehensive perspective on all traffic in the cell at any given time. How many active sessions are there? Are they video, audio, file downloads, web browsing or something else? How much bandwidth are they asking for and what do they need to perform?
Answers to these questions combined with capabilities to dynamically reallocate bandwidth within the cell’s live capacity achieves intelligent management and provides best overall experiences.
From our discussions with operators, delivering the best customer experiences is a high motivation. But there are even more benefits to derive from this approach.
New analytical perspectives is one such benefit. Many operators are accustomed to analyzing cell downtime in intervals spanning as much as 15 minutes. Their views are typically limited to control plane information on an aggregate of hundreds or thousands of cells. With applications highly sensitive to latency and other consequences of varying operating conditions, this information has limited utility. It is better for operators to analyze networks in real-time and on a per cell basis to yield insights on local conditions over spans of a few seconds or even fractions of seconds. As opposed to the aggregated view, studying an individual cell is the only way to see how service is truly holding up to demand and precisely where congestion occurs most often. Operators can also gain new understanding of reactions to problems like congestion and latency, including the complexion of resulting diminishment in demand.
When operators know the intimate details of each cell’s performance trends with analytics to find the struggling cells, they can more surgically target network upgrades. They can save costs by putting capacity where it’s truly needed and deliver the flawless performance that will keep subscribers coming back for more. In fact, we are seeing best-of-both-worlds scenarios in which operators controlling the timing of their network spending can be simultaneous with more satisfied users increasing their demands to benefit revenues of those operators, and the promise of LTE networks is more fully realized.
John Reister is vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Networks, helping to drive the company’s collaboration with mobile operators to reduce cell congestion and deliver better subscriber experiences.