Ahead of the LTE World Summit next month I spoke with Nemanja Ognjanovic, Manager of Network and Services Planning Department at Telekom Srbija and one of our Operator Mindshare Leaders at the show. Nemanja told me how Telekom Srbija are innovating their network to handle the increasing demand in capacity today, and as they begin the evolution towards 5G.
“Even though the traffic growth is significant year over year, we are handling this increase using the more “traditional”methods.” He said “Backhaul capacity is properly increased in order to prevent possible bottlenecks. The overall RAN backhaul needs are lower than fixed broadband needs, and the overall planning and dimensioning includes both impacts. Since Telekom Srbija is both fixed and mobile operator, the ALL IP network model allows us to aggregate fixed and mobile backhaul and handle the capacity more flexibly. On the radio side, capacity is handled with additional spectrum allocation and further optimization. However, Telekom Srbija is aware that this approach will face its limitations in the future, and some innovative ways should be introduced, more specifically – layered approach with HetNet, WiFi offload and core network virtualization.
“Virtualization is clearly the main technology trend aimed at improving the overall network performance, capacity and operation. Each part of the network will “go to the cloud” at some point of time, but this process is long term. It will be done in phases, starting with purely control plane components and moving towards packet nodes and data plane. Roughly, the following 4-5 years are foreseen as the timeline for this transformation.
“There is another technological challenge which is clearly faced in network planning and optimization processes; indoor signal penetration. After the resources are exhausted on the macro level, layered approach must be introduced in order to deal with the coverage and capacity needs inside the customer premises. This leads to Heterogeneous Networks concepts, which integrates different levels (macro, micro, small) on one side and several technologies on the small cells level on the other side. Of course, the main solution for data offload to small cells is WiFi which is the dominant customer choice. Regarding voice (or circuit-switched based) services, the solution could be Femto Cell, but it is not widely accepted as the mainstream solution, probably due to results of cost-benefits analyses. Alternatively, smartphones industry is pushing the technology towards native support for voice over untrusted WiFi, which would solve the voice requirements. Certain level of integration of the WiFi and “trusted 3GPP” environment must be achieved for the proper customer experience, e.g. enabling voice call continuity and service quality. Combining some of these concepts in the particular market is a technological answer to business needs, but the common framework for all approaches is the integrated view which is achieved through HetNet.
LTE World Summit will be co-located with the 5G World Summit and Telekom Srbija will certainly face the same drivers for 5G rollout as any other operator. “It is not likely to happen sooner than 2020” Nemanja explained. “The main challenges on the road to 5G include expected increased M2M traffic (generated by connected vehicles, sensors, smart meters), the need for energy and spectrum efficient communication and the need for higher throughput (1Gbps) for some applications or very low latency.”
Nemanja Ognjanovic will be joining the Operator Mindshare at LTE World Summit, which will take place on the 23rd of June in Amsterdam. The operator mindshare is a series of interactive roundtable discussions which will give you the opportunity to ask operators advice on your key LTE challenges and debate the most pressing industry issues.
To join the Operator Mindshare register now: http://lteworldsummit.com/registration/