Guest post by Scott Sumner, Accedian
Emergence of the instrumentation layer in real-time, intelligent networks.
5G networks will support a diverse array of applications, from 4k video streaming to safety-critical IoT, autonomous cars and factories, and hosted transactional applications that let us work from anywhere.
The competition for limited spectrum and network resources collides with increased complexity as networks layer-in virtualization to increase agility, manage network slices, and dynamically allocate capacity (both bandwidth and compute) where required.
Guest post written by Ilia Abramov, Product Director @ Xura
Ilia Abramov, Product Director, Xura
Signaling networks, enabling the exchange of information that sets up, controls and terminates calls, have been through multiple stages of evolution since the early days of telephony.
Signaling System No. 7, or SS7, was developed to exchange information over digital signaling networks specific to mobile operators, and requires specialised equipment to fulfil even simple connectivity.
The complexity of its protocols, and the fact that it is used only by a closed circle of mobile operators, means that SS7 offers very controlled access to the networks themselves. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that an SS7 network contains crucial information regarding a mobile network such as subscriber data, and mobility and authorisation information.
SS7 networks have since evolved to become IP-based, making them more accessible to a wider community outside of traditional mobile operators. But, with the emergence of cheaper, and better performing IP solutions, the level of trust has dropped significantly.
Exclusive interview with Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi
Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi
Viavi Solutions (formerly JDSU, Arieso and Network Instruments) is very active in LTE and helping to advance the technology … how has LTE progressed since last year?
LTE as a standard continues to evolve to meet the growing capacity and coverage demands of mobile consumers. With LTE Advanced and LTE Broadcast being two examples. Yet it is the area of VoLTE which has probably seen the greatest change from last year. At the event last year many operators were planning their VoLTE roll-out and engaging their technology partners such as Viavi on the challenges to address and ensure they deliver on the high expectations of VoLTE. Now, we have many operators who have either deployed or are very close to deploying. There is also the area of the relevance of voice today – many people of course have an iPhone or other Smartphone and use a multitude of methods to communicate – certain generations don’t talk at all! So, the industry has had to appreciate that VoLTE needs to be integrated into the way people communicate today.
What are the top VoLTE challenges?
Working closely with our mobile operator customers and building on our experience with IP based voice services as well as RAN and Core network challenges I would say the top three challenges are:
- Voice Quality – measuring end-to-end (E2E) voice quality is fundamental to understanding the customers quality of experience (QoE). Knowing what metrics are important, where to measure and quickly finding the root cause of voice quality affecting issues.
- Handovers – when you move out of an LTE service area and have an active VoLTE call, the user will want to continue with that call. SRVCC seamlessly maintains calls when a mobile user moves from LTE to non-LTE coverage areas. Of course, there is the potential for things to go wrong and calls to get dropped. Also, if the user is not supporting VoLTE but is using LTE, when they receive a call the phone the network need to fall back (CSFB) so that both data and voice are non-LTE.
- Location – not only knowing what service is being provided to the consumer but also from where so that you can determine, for example, VoLTE hot spots – that is where there may be too many dropped calls or handovers have failed. By accurately geo-locating voice quality metrics you can make better business decisions on service delivery.
Presentation theme/message at the event?
In addition to introducing Viavi Solutions to the audience, Viavi will be presenting in 3 key areas, namely: VoLTE, HetNets and Network Optimization. The theme of the VoLTE presentation is how to address some of the key VoLTE challenges and ensure the subscribers gets an exceptional VoLTE service. We will be exploring voice quality- passive measuring, active measuring – how integrating handset data with core data and then geo-locate that information to maximize the business impact of the service. The E2E view of the service from device to RAN to backhaul and core. For HetNets we will be discussing workforce automation and how to ensure cell site turn up to be most cost-effective without impacting quality. Network Optimization will build on the extreme non-uniformity in cellular networks and how subscriber-based, location-aware predictive optimization is needed.
Meet Paul and the Viavi team at the upcoming LTE North America, in Dallas, next November 17th-19th!
Kevin Linehan, Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
The roll-out of any new generation of mobile network technology is never as simple as flicking a switch. Much of the current discussion around 5G is about its definition. But 5G won’t truly happen until it can actually happen in the network. Like all grand designs, obstacles need to be overcome in order to achieve that goal.
Like other industry commentators, my fundamental viewpoint is that 5G will be a “network of networks.” Network densification involving macro sites, in-building wireless, metro cells and small cells will continue on the way to 5G. This densification adds more complexity to wireless networks and demands ever more sophisticated infrastructure solutions. Managing these multiple network layers efficiently is becoming ever more important to deliver 5G speeds and throughput.
This guest post was written by Elhum Vahdat, Executive Vice President, APEX Communications
Services, Services, Services… you can practically hear the cry of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) all over the world pleading for new (or even old) services that can run on their shiny new LTE networks. Of course, this is nothing new, as this repeated cry for services is generated with the roll-out of every new generation of network (e.g. 2G, 3G), because MNOs are well aware that the serious payoff comes primarily from running new services, which in turn can justify their investment.
Keep in mind, in this blog I won’t address what over-the-top (OTT) services are doing to the bottom line of MNOs, which goes without saying is why new services offered by the MNOs are so critical.
One service that is ideal for LTE is Visual Interactive Voice Response, or Visual IVR (different than Video IVR). At this point I know what a lot of you are thinking… IVR is dead, so why resuscitate it for a new network? My short answer is that Visual IVR is not your parent’s IVR.
Guest post by Jean-François Gros, Marketing & Business Development Director, Gemalto
Among consumers, Wi-Fi is perhaps most commonly associated with the simple pleasures of a few minutes free surfing on the train or alongside a coffee. For mobile network operators, however, the stakes are rather higher. With pressure to build capacity and coverage combining with a fiercely competitive marketplace, the inexorable spread of Wi-Fi offers a compelling route to enhanced customer experience, differentiation, and new revenue streams.
Whilst much attention has focussed on the 4G roll-out, Wi-Fi’s contribution to the connectivity eco-system has largely flown under the radar. But the figures speak for themselves. It is widely reported that, by 2018, there will be one hotspot for every 20 people on the planet; by 2017, seven billion devices will be Wi-Fi enabled1.
Guest blog written by Oded Sela, Technical Director EMEA, International Sales at Allot Communications
CSPs are under constant pressure to be proactive all the time, since they need to stay ahead of the competition and are facing challenges on a daily base. But first and foremost, they need to keep their subscribers happy – not an easy task!
What is the secret sauce that they can use for success? Simple: they must analyse and optimise! Why is analysing so important? Analytics will help operators to find the right optimisation for improving the QoE (Quality of Experience) of their subscribers. It also enables creating and activating optimal use cases, which boosts the bottom line. Furthermore, it allows a CSP to stand out in the crowd, increasing its ARPU and revenues!
Guest post written by Michael Van Veen, Global Sales Director for IPX services at SAP Mobile Services
For those of us who are walking around with LTE devices and have experienced high-speed data services, there is no going back: we feel the need for speed. And naturally, wherever we travel we expect to get the same service performance that we experience in our home network. We will suffer low-speed 3G connectivity if we have to, but only to get to our email or to chat with friends. If we cannot get access to LTE for heavy-duty things like content-rich social media services, we will start looking for WiFi connectivity.
Mobile operators have always worked hard to follow their subscribers wherever they travel. Roaming agreements make sure that their subscribers can use their device on visited networks: they can make and receive phone calls and SMS, and use data services. The operators can even “steer” roamers to networks which are guaranteed to deliver the most commercial or technical benefits. Now that we have entered the era of LTE, all of these efforts need to be repeated.
Guest Post written by Interop Technologies
Operators worldwide have either recently exhausted their LTE network CAPEX or are squarely at the center of it. VoLTE announcements are only accelerating the momentum while providing proof that the tide of advanced IP service adoption is changing. The thing all operators have in common, however, is that they face market pressures for VoWiFi, VoLTE, RCS, and other advanced IP services—many of which have IMS requirements for basic functionality or optimal performance. Thus, when additional changes to the network core are needed to facilitate IP service launch, the cost and complexity of the endeavour through traditional deployment methods can be too lengthy for most operators to meet current demand. For these reasons, virtualisation must be explored.
A virtualised IMS core allows for the quick deployment of cloud-based advanced IP voice and messaging services. WiFi calling is the most crucial service requiring immediate deployment to solve operational issues like in-building coverage and consumer demand. Additionally, the seamless layering of future services that grow with and meet demand is an advantageous way for operators to stay competitive in their market.
Learn more about Interop Technologies and their CorePlusX℠ offering in person at next week’s LTE Asia conference, @ Booth #37.
This guest blog was written by Jay Jayasimha, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Cataleya
LTE needs IPX to be a truly global success. When domestic LTE deployments are supported by global IPX-enabled networks, it changes what is possible in the mobile market. Today, we’ve seen the development of LTE networks on a local level but for 4G services to mature and realise their full potential LTE needs to be supported with robust, reliable and intelligent IPX-enabled networks.
There will be 450 commercial LTE networks deployed by the end of 2015, according to The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). Close to 50% of subscribers in Q4 2014 were in Asia-Pacific with North America and Europe trailing close behind.
Guest blog written by Udayabhanu Parida, Product Manager, Simulators, Wireless Division, EXFO
With the wireless industry moving toward a unified IP network carrying both voice and data traffic, policy and charging rules function (PCRF) will be taking on an increasingly important role in managing the service provider’s network resources and monetization of service usage. And, with the planned adoption of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), PCRF will be playing an increasingly vital role in the network.
A key component of building a fast and reliable wireless network includes extensive testing of the network elements (NEs), in this case PCRF in the test labs before deployment. In test labs, PCRF is normally tested with other real NEs, such as PDN GW. Such a test setup does not fully exercise the functionality, performance or capacity of PCRF, because PCRF not only communicates with single PDN GW, but multiple PDN GWs. PCRF also communicates with policy control enforcement function (PCEF), such as deep-packet-inspection (DPI), online-charging-system (OCS), and offline-charging-system (OFCS) functions, as well as other PCRFs (visited), call session control function (CSCF), serving gateway (SGW), gateway GPRS support node (GGSN), traffic detection function (TDF) and more.
Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Well, I would like to add a third one: online threats.
Operators are facing the daunting task of keeping their subscribers (and their own networks!) safe from a slew of cyber threats that are getting more and more complex. Fraudsters use a combination of backdoor methods, engaging unwitting cooperation from innocent, targeted users.
Guest post by 6Wind
TL;DR: NFV Promises To Alter The Value Proposition For Network Operators Of All Sizes
As we prepare for SDN Asia 2015 in Singapore this October, we look forward to discussing how executive telecom decision makers want to capitalize on the APAC market’s propensity for rapid technology adoption by providing an abundance of services at the lowest costs. NFV enables rapid service creation while lowering costs, but it is necessary to not sacrifice performance in the process.
Performance continues to drive the NFV discussion because without proper oversight, virtual machines and cloud infrastructure can be real headaches by demanding increasing requirements of hardware to accommodate an increasing software footprint. To achieve an abundance of services at the lowest costs, enabling performance in the initial design architecture will help further drive the costs down. There are two major areas of performance bottlenecks that organizations should evaluate to enable the full promise of NFV.
This guest post was written by Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager @ Viavi
Guest post written by Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi
VoLTE has evolved significantly from a year ago. At the event last year many operators were planning their VoLTE roll-out and engaging their technology partners such as Viavi on the challenges to address and ensure they deliver on the high expectations of VoLTE. Now, we have many operators who have either deployed or are very close to deploying. Of course now that LTE is much more broadly rolled out, this sets the foundation for extra LTE-based services such as VoLTE.
There is also the area of the relevance of voice today – many people have an iPhone or other Smartphone and use a multitude of methods to communicate – certain generations don’t talk at all! So, the industry has had to appreciate that VoLTE needs to be integrated into the way people communicate today.
This guest post was written by Mike Hooper, Head of Sales at Eirteic
June is typically a very busy month, with a number of exhibitions to be attended. This year Eirteic attended TM Forum Live! in Nice and LTE World Summit in Amsterdam. The events created some interesting thoughts about how things are progressing around subjects such as: SDN, NFV, SON and 5G.
Mike Hooper, Head of Sales, Eirteic
Given that we are 5 years since the first 4G rollout and 5 years from a 5G roll out, it got me thinking about how we are progressing with the management of LTE. The rollout is happening but how are we managing it? Service Providers are still using legacy platforms such as IBM Netcool and HP TeMIP.
So as we progress toward 5G, how is this going to really change? How do we manage legacy 2G, 3G services whilst maintaining LTE and assuring future 5G services.
Can we really do this using 20 year old platforms?
This guest post was written by Alon Geva,Timing & Synchronization Expert, CTO Office, RAD & Member of the ITU-T SG15/Q13 Sync Standardization Group
Delivering sub-microsecond time accuracy to the cellular base stations is one of the major challenges facing cellular providers as they deploy their new LTE networks. This is exacerbated by LTE-A’s stringent synchronization requirements and the growing use of small cells in 4G networks, which create unique challenges in the backhaul segment.
Before the debut of 4G, the standard way to deliver a time reference was to install a Global Navigation Satellite System, or GNSS (e.g., GPS) at every cell site. A GNSS receiver is usually referred to as a Primary Reference Time Clock (PRTC). This approach is impractical in 4G, however, given the far greater number of cell sites, the intended indoor location of part of the antennas (e.g. shopping malls), as well as the growing concern about possible jamming and spoofing. Furthermore, considerations of CapEx and OpEx render this approach highly ineffective.
This guest blog was written by Christian Knitterscheidt, Head of Product Management at Tarantula Global
The biggest driving factor for telecom operators is the ever increasing consumer demand for and faster data speeds from their mobile devices. This expansion of mobile usage presents a major growth opportunity to achieve greater revenue for telecom operators. However, this also means finding and securing a variety of sites and installing and managing complex combinations of equipment at these mobile sites.
This guest blog post was written by Kai Ojala, CTO, Anite Network Testing
The requirement for VoLTE is to offer high-quality voice calls and video calls, which as a baseline requires wide LTE coverage. LTE networks fulfill this aspect – especially lower carrier frequencies are deployed globally (e.g. 700 and 800 MHz frequency bands). Operators will benefit from customers switching to VoLTE services by harmonizing voice services and getting better capacity out of the spectrum.
Voice calls in LTE networks can be handled using Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE). CSFB provides a mechanism to transfer an initiated voice call to legacy circuit-switched networks. VoLTE, on the other hand, is a fully packet switched technology which uses Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies. With the SR-VCC functionality voice calls made with VoLTE can be switched over to legacy networks when the user moves out of the LTE network coverage.
Philip Sorrells, Vice president of Strategic Marketing, CommScope
This Guest Post was written by Philip Sorrells, VP of Strategic Marketing, CommScope
Everybody’s talking about them, but what exactly is a small cell? In many people’s minds, a small cell is a very low power femto cell, installed in a home or office. It’s a radio device. In my mind (and in many others, too), a small cell is anything that is not a typical macro site, deployed to solve a network capacity problem.
Small cells can be indoor or outdoor. They can vary in power level. Some are carrier grade, some are for consumers. But what defines a small cell is not one of these characteristics, but rather what a small cell is trying to do-add capacity in some manner besides a standard macro site.
This guest post was written by John Vetter, VP of Business Development, Sunsight
Directional RF antenna installations are not always done to carrier RF design specifications for azimuth, mechanical tilt and roll. Some before/after audits have shown that as many as 40% of antennas are installed more than five degrees off target. Using this audit data, simulations are possible with RF network propagation software and any market final design project. These results will prove that even when using conservative misalignment changes that induced network interference can be costly to carriers specifically for newer interference prone LTE technologies. Focusing just on carrier spectrum capital investment this number can easily become surprisingly high when considering large nationwide RF spectrum investments. The cost of ‘wasted’ spectrum due to interference does not, but could consider additional costs of ‘unused’ BTS/RAN infrastructure, unnecessary network performance troubleshooting efforts, less the credible output from RF propagation, ACP and SON tools , and more important, the effects of poor customer data experiences -all caused by misaligned RF antennas.
This Guest Post was written by Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies at SpiderCloud Wireless
Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
In our work with mobile operators to accelerate small cell systems inside medium to large enterprises, we have learned much over the last five years to create win-win formulas for enterprise IT and our mobile operator customers. It is hard-earned knowledge that only a seasoned executive team could have anticipated and managed by an experienced field team.
So, in the spirit of sharing our knowledge, here are “5 Small Cell System Do’s and Don’ts of Enterprise.”
Don McCullough, Director Strategic Communications, Ericsson
Ericsson made a splash at Mobile World Congress, describing and demonstrating their vision for 5G, and all the different use cases they envision for the technology.
Ahead of 5G Forum USA in Palo Alto in a couple of weeks, we had the opportunity to catch-up with Don McCullough, Director of Strategic Communications at Ericsson. During the interview, Don shared Ericsson’s work in innovating and defining the 5G landscape, their objectives and likely use cases for this next generation.
This guest post was written by Ofer Talmor, VP Products, Saguna
Ofer Talmor, VP Products, Saguna
With the high usage of mobile devices in almost every aspect of our lives, mobile retail revenue stats are hardly a surprise: In Q1 of 2014, retail revenue generated via a mobile device was up 35 percent over first quarter of last year, with mobile owning 13.7 per cent of total e-commerce orders in Q1 2013 compared to 18.5 percent during the first quarter of this year.
But while a lot of data is aggregated about online shopping habits, a big piece of the puzzle is still missing – how do you track brick and mortar customers to identify the optimal point of conversion in-store? How can you identify when a shopper walks in the store, and offer him the best retail experience? Can the experience that can be amplified by mobile usage?
At the same time, the human need to ‘touch the merchandise’ is still a dominant one. So is the desire to get it immediately, rather than browse online, and wait Combining mobile and in-store engagement for retail success
Femi Adeyemi, PhD
LTE Solutions Architect, Fujitsu Network Communications
This post was written by Dr. Femi Adeyemi, LTE Solutions Architect at Fujitsu Network Communications
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is considered by many to be a revolutionary application, for both mobile operators and their subscribers: Operators, once they establish VoLTE networks, will no longer have to maintain separate networks—circuit-switched for voice and packet-switched for data. As a result, they will see savings in both operational and capital expenses. Subscribers who use VoLTE will be able to use high quality voice and data applications simultaneously, while enjoying greater clarity in voice calls.
However, VoLTE deployment has been slower than anticipated due to several challenges…
This is Part II of Peter Nas’ Blog Entry: Other DRA added-value in VoLTE
There’s additional value to the fundamental session binding functionality of a DRA. A DRA can enable optimal call management ensuring higher quality-of-service VoLTE calls. For instance, think of all the different vendors’ equipment that is needed to exchange Diameter Gx and Rx signaling. One example is when the LTE PGW has a different Gx implementation than the PCRF. In turn that PCRF can have a different Diameter Rx implementation than the IMS’s P-CSCF node. Typically inside an operator’s network, there will be various vendors for LTE, PCRF and IMS core network elements. And this is the norm in roaming use cases where the visited LTE network is out of control (meaning a different vendor) than the home IMS network, where the P-CSCF (and other elements) will be involved.