Posts tagged ‘Aricent’

Sizing up SON – Self-Organising Networks revealed

This post is by Avijit Ghosh, assistant vice president of technology, Aricent 

The ‘Self-organizing Networks’ (SON) concept is a ‘hot’ topic for today’s wireless networks, especially with the expected proliferation of small cells and heterogeneous networks.

The idea is that the network should, while minimising cost and staying within constraints that may be applicable, automatically and continually adjust itself to maximise its own key performance indicators: generally coverage, capacity & quality of experience.

It is also expected that such a system should generate information, analysis and visualisation to assist effective forward planning of the service provider’s business.

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Carrier aggregation for LTE-Advanced – revealed

This post is by Ashok Kumar, assistant vice president of technology for LTE Advanced carrier aggregation technology at Aricent.

LTE Advanced as a technology offers many new critical features. These include 8X8 MIMO in the downlink direction and 4×4 MIMO in the uplink direction, co-ordinate multi-point operation (COMP), multi-cluster transmission support in the uplink direction, carrier aggregation (CA), support of relay node, enhanced PDCCH channel, and enhanced ICIC.

In practice, some features of any new upcoming technology always get deployed much ahead of the other features, and in my opinion, carrier aggregation is going to be one such feature of LTE Advanced. The rationale behind this is that the demand for data is increasing fast and the realisation of this feature is cost effective. This is because only software upgrade is required on the network side and new user equipment devices supporting this feature.

Now, some of you may be wondering what exactly carrier aggregation is but simply put, CA is a mechanism to increase channel bandwidth, or in other words, achieve higher data rates than standard LTE, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

Figure 1

LTE as a technology supports up to 20MHz channel bandwidth, but with CA, the same can be enhanced to 100MHz as five such channels (called component carriers), up to 20 MHz each, can be combined.

To achieve this, CA introduces the concepts of Primary cell (PCell) and Secondary cells (SCell). The CA-capable UE selects a PCell, just like a non-CA capable UE, making this feature fully backward compatible. The SCells are allocated to the CA-capable UE by the RRC layer, after due evaluation that these cells can also serve that particular UE. The activation/deactivation of these SCells is controlled by the MAC layer. The SCells may operate on the same frequency band as the PCell, or on a different Band. There are no changes made to the RLC and PDCP layers, except for the support of larger buffer sizes.

There are three new user equipment (UE) categories (6-8), defined in LTE Advanced, which indicate the support of CA by the UE, while previous UE categories, from 2-5, may also support CA. In LTE Release 10 specifications, the UE only has support for two serving cells (1 PCell + 1 SCell ) operating in the same band . Later LTE Releases add the support for more serving cells.

Aricent will be at available to meet at Booth 1 of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

VoLTE – Why it’s Imperative for LTE

Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.

Kaushal Sarasia, Wireless marketing for Aricent.

This post is by Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.

While LTE has established itself as the technology of choice to cater to the ever increasing demand for bandwidth one of the key challenges it faces is voice.

Given that LTE is an all IP network, the challenge is to provide seamless continuity for voice and video calls while using packets. The complexity means that operators are choosing to provide voice services via circuit switching by falling back to their legacy networks. This method of Circuit Switch Fall Back (CSFB) however, is rapidly falling out of favour as operators now want to leverage the full benefit of LTE by providing high definition voice/video services over LTE.

VoLTE not only helps operators reduce cost by eliminating the need to maintain legacy networks but also enhances the customer experience by providing distinct advantages such as high definition voice quality, simultaneous voice and data usability for rich service experience and seamless connectivity. The highly portable and scalable core network of LTE is being extensively leveraged by governments and other agencies for deployments in niche areas such as public safety for disaster management; here VoLTE becomes absolutely crucial for enabling vital voice communication during life critical operations. Moreover, VoLTE can help define a single wireless core network for both data and voice thus allowing multimedia communication involving voice, video and data at the same time. This can be leveraged to provide exceptional customer experience and to share critical information during disaster management.

Implementation of VoLTE is a complex undertaking that requires leveraging the IMS network and implementing specific QoS to enable seamless carrying of data and high definition audio/video quality. Its introduction impacts network elements across the spectrum including User Equipment (UE) (IMS Client), RAN (eNodeB), Core (EPC) and IMS Servers. The standards for VoLTE are still evolving and coupled with the complexity of implementing it means that it provides a huge opportunity for equipment manufacturers to introduce differentiation in their VoLTE solution.

An optimal VoLTE solution delivers an enhanced customer experience by providing many distinct benefits such as seamless HD voice/video quality, while enabling operators to reduce infrastructure cost and complexity. It also enables LTE equipment manufacturers to target this highly lucrative market by offering highly differentiated products, thus providing multiple benefits to every stakeholder in the LTE space. VoLTE has thus become an imperative for the success of LTE.

Aricent will be exhibiting at the upcoming LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

The inaugural LTE Voice Summit, dedicated to telecoms voice issues, is taking place on October 1st-2nd at the Hilton Paddington, London. Click here NOW to download a flyer.

VoLTE billing architecture explained

This is a guest post by Saurabh Garg, assistant vice president technology and Karthikeya Ganapathy Chockalingam, senior technical leader at Aricent Group and explains how the delicate work of charging is done for VoLTE when all information is data.

Charging is an important aspect for VoLTE calls and a must for commercial deployment— but it literally pays to get it right. As the same session flows through PGW in LTE network and IMS core there is a danger that subscribers could be double charged for both data and voice for the same call.

IMS nodes provide the necessary means to solve the billing issues. During the SIP call establishment or message transaction IMS nodes generates an IMS correlation id for each and every event. IMS correlation ids are included in the CDR for each VoLTE calls. During dedicated bearer establishment for VoLTE calls PCSCF and PGW exchange ICID and GCID through PCRF Rx/Gx messages. Based upon VoLTE APN bearer establishment PGW can redirect all the VoLTE charging information to a different billing server to avoid double charge of voice and data sessions.

ICID and GCID in CDR help to correlate the call in the IMS and access network. IMS charging information is transferred to billing system through Diameter or ISC interfaces.

Charging can be based on

• Duration Based Charging

• Event based charging

• Volume based charging

Single call with different access legs can be easily correlated by billing servers since all the calls are anchored by IMS.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 14-15th November 2012 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Texas. Click here to register your interest.

Aricent Group interview: the evolution of LTE femtocells and the deployment of public safety and rural networks

Aricent femtocellIn the run up to the LTE Asia conference we bring you this interview with Aricent Group’s Sanjiv Kapur, director, product management, and R Ezhirpavai, assistant vice president – technology.

Aricent Group is a global innovation and technology services company that helps clients to imagine, commercialise, and evolve products and services for the connected world. It is an expert on LTE femtocells, and the deployment of rural and public safety networks.

How will CDMA be incorporated in next generation femtocells?

LTE and other next generation telecommunication technologies will need to co-exist with older technologies such as UMTS, CDMA and GERAN, etc. Deploying stand-alone solutions supporting individual technologies can be prohibitively expensive for both operators and subscribers.

Multi-mode femtocells – capable of supporting multiple technologies simultaneously – provide a solution for deploying these technologies to ensure that expenses are kept under control. These femtocells will provide support for LTE and one or more older technologies based on the operator’s requirements.

How can interference be reduced when macrocells and femtocells need to use the same carrier?

A: Various standard bodies have laid down detailed specifications for deployments of small cell solutions that minimize interference between base stations of different form factors.

The amount of power delivered to each femtocell determines its coverage area. Femtocell deployments can be designed to eliminate coverage holes in the macro cell UE coverage area.

Are there any standardization efforts on SON for LTE femtocells?

A: The standards for self optimizing networks (SON) are evolving and there is very little guidance available today on actual implementation. There is significant room for differentiation between vendors especially in case of small cell solutions such as femtocells.

Would LTE femtocell be marketed as operator subsidized?

Most likely! The operator today subsidizes most femtocell deployments. Operators are under huge pressure to reduce the cost per bit of providing data services and macro cells deployments are complex and expensive.

Femtocells provide huge benefits to operators, not just in terms of saving deployment and operational expenses, but also reducing the load on core macro networks via offloading. Subsidizing the cost of femtocell deployment also helps in improving customer loyalty, thus enhancing the overall user experience.

What are the choices for backhaul? Which is preferred and why? How do you solve the backhaul challenge for wide spread deployment of femtocells?

  • For Residential Femtocell, typically xDSL or Cable backhaul is used.
  • For Enterprise Femtocell, the SONET or ATM backhaul (exists on Enterprise) is used.

There are many countries wanting 700 MHz for commercial networks. Do you think this would affect public safety deployments which also require same spectrum?

Commercial providers want 700 MHz for good in-building penetration. In fact recently a provider was asked to move away from LTE only because the government of that country was not ready to offer 700MHz for commercial usage. Operators accrue huge cost savings when using this spectrum because the number of eNodebs needed in a network is minimized.

On other hand where there are commercial LTE deployments in this band, a different class of spectrum is being used for public safety as compared to commercial deployments.

How easy is it to integrate Aricent solution to any customer’s specialized applications?

Aricent’s EPC offering complies with standard 3GPP specifications for all its external interfaces enabling quick interworking with customer’s voice/media/data IMS/PMR applications. It also has well defined interfaces to integrate with external DPI engines, proprietary algorithms and external management frameworks.

Why do you think, 3G networks have not been able to capture the rural networks and why do you think LTE would not undergo the same problem in rural markets?

3G data networks lack the level of latency provided by LTE networks. Hence with 3G data networks, providing voice support is very difficult. So in order to support both voice and data, one needs both 3G data and CS networks. This brings in additional network node requirements. Moreover since CS networks are not “all IP” they require higher level of maintenance and redundancy path which is highly complex. Thus cost of laying down 3G networks as primary network for rural areas is very costly. With LTE networks, these issues are not present. Hence we feel LTE networks are more suitable for rural environment.

Are there any successful/profitable business models that leverage LTE for public safety applications that you are aware of?

There are many successful public safety applications that we are aware of. These are very proprietary to specific deployments. These applications help in services meant for public safety for e.g., in case of fire, informing the firemen, in case of defense, informing the field personnel by general in command, and providing information from field. Details of the applications cannot be revealed, but many multi-media applications are possible.

What spectrum band is likely to be used for Public Safety LTE outside the US?  E.g. in the Middle East or Asia Pacific Region?

We feel that in Asia pacific region, the 700MHz band is going to be used for public safety usage specifically in India.

Is there support of LTE for public safety markets outside of North America similar to the APCO support?

Yes, many countries are planning to use LTE for public safety. Many European countries and developing countries in Asia-pacific are considering LTE for public safety, mainly due to the advantages that LTE offers for this market.

Is LTE’s inherent security as secure as today’s Public Safety Radio networks like TETRA ?

Today’s Public safety networks offer additional security over and above what the 3G networks offer. In similar manner to offer additional security for LTE, operators are planning to use additional security mechanism, like separate frequency band, additional algorithms for ciphering and authentication etc., to offer better security in public safety networks. Application level security is additional functionality that is being considered by public safety vendors.

With current Femto & Nano cells market, how do you see LTE being used instead of already established 2G/3G Femto/Nano cells?

Femto/Nano cells help in additional radio coverage. With LTE it is not only solves the cell coverage isssue, but gives lot of additional functionality like better latency, better bandwidth, flatter architecture and single network serving both voice and data. Thus we see a definite market for LTE which cannot be fulfilled by 3G/2G femto and nano cells.

Which frequencies are optimum for the LTE deployment in rural or sparsely populated areas?

For rural deployment the lower frequency bands (700 MHz) is best suited, for better penetration and wider area coverage.

What is the overall cost for the deployment of LTE in rural or sparsely populated areas? `What bandwidth size is required?

Bandwidth size depends on the number of users and the bandwidth usage. More the usage more is the bandwidth required. Overall cost depends on multiple factors, like number of users, data throughput, area covered, redundancy requirement and alternate paths etc.

What are the challenges for core hosting in case of rural operators?

There are multiple challenges such as maintenance, remote monitoring, remote upgrades, high redundancy, finding alternate paths and establishing warning systems etc.

Does LTE for public safety support multicast services?

LTE specifications define multi-cast services which can be used for public safety as well.

Aricent will be exhibiting at the LTE Asia 2012 conference taking place NEXT WEEK on the 18-19 September 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Click here to register your interest.

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