Anuradha Udunuwara, Engineer, Sri Lanka Telecom is speaking on Day One of the 9th annual LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 23rd-25th September 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
In this Q&A Udunuwara tells us about the challenges facing Sri Lanka Telecom’s network, and what the most important technologies to look at for enhancing the network.
What are the major network-related engineering challenges you expect to face over the next 12 months?
In terms of challenges, I see fewer engineering challenges and more commercial and financial challenges. While technology and engineering enables us to overcome most of the challenges, the real challenge for operators will be how to minimize CAPEX/OPEX/TCO and increase revenue/profits. That requires innovation, common sense, changing plans and taking risks.
On the network side, what’s important is supporting the increased bandwidth requirements and optimizing packet transport techniques. Major challenges will arise in supporting migrations from legacy [Circuit/TDM (Time Division Multiplexing)] to next generation [Packet/IP (Internet Protocol)/Ethernet]. On the financial side the challenge will be how to best make future-proof investments.
How are you using analytics on your networks to gain more subscriber knowledge?
Network analytics are important in order to gain knowledge about the behaviour of the traffic in the network. If you correctly translate this knowledge, you can gain a good understanding of how the subscriber/user/consumer/customer applications behave, and eventually, how the individuals behave. This knowledge helps operators to perform the required network and service optimizations, introduce or change products to suit that behaviour, and finally to take informed investment decisions. We are working on these lines and would like to focus more on this area in the future.
Is real-time awareness of network activity important for all LTE networks?
Real-time awareness is something great to have on any network, including LTE. It’s also important that the operators have processes in place to make quick decisions based on the results of the real-time awareness. LTE being all IP, and given the high volumes of traffic being carried over by these networks, if the operator has a good real-time visibility on the network activity, that can help operators in keeping the network healthy. The decision on whether to use or not to use real-time awareness depends on the additional investments required to build those capabilities on the network and the systems and the tangible business benefits which can be gained out of that.
Can QoE really be measured and how can it be monetised?
QoE is a relative thing and to the best of my knowledge, there’s no standard way of measuring it. Different operators measure it differently. Whatever the yard stick you use, what is important however is to be consistent in your measurements and to be realistic and simple.
What are the most important technologies you are looking at for LTE backhaul?
Being all IP, and the fact that IP has ridden natively on Ethernet for the last 40 years, the obvious choice for LTE backhaul today is Carrier Ethernet. There are different technologies available to implement Carrier Ethernet networks;
- Pure Ethernet based: B (Bridging), PB (Provider Bridging), PBB (Provider Backbone Bridging), PBB-TE (PBB-Traffic Engineering)
- MPLS based: IP/MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching), MPLS-TP (Transport Profile)
- Transparent: Ethernet over Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (EoSDH), Ethernet over Wavelength Division Multiplexing (EoWDM)
While, all technologies can be used to backhaul LTE, selecting the right technology depends on several factors including; already made investments, already used technologies, staff skill set and geography.
What is the most significant part of attending the LTE Asia conference?
I’m attending LTE Asia 2014 as a guest speaker and a panellist. I’ll be talking on “Role of Carrier Ethernet in LTE backhaul” on Day One and will be taking part in a panel discussion on Day Two, highlighting the importance of gaining consumer insight and managing network performance for QoE. Apart from the above I would like to meet the operators in the region and share their experiences and knowledge on deploying LTE networks.