Posts tagged ‘small cells’

Leaving a lasting legacy – 4G/5G Progress?

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

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?

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Bringing Accurate Synchronization to Small Cell Backhaul

This guest post was written by Alon Geva,Timing & Synchronization Expert, CTO Office, RAD Member of the ITU-T SG15/Q13 Sync Standardization Group

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.

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Adding Capacity Is a “Small Cell” Matter

Philip Sorrells, Vice president of strategic marketing, Commscope

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.

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The Do’s & Don’ts of the Enterprise Small Cells Lifecycle

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

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.”

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Indoor Mobile Locationing: Beyond Pick and Pay

This guest post was written by Ofer Talmor, VP Products, Saguna

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

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If You Can Scale Small Cells Inside, then Service IT: Small Cell Services at the Enterprise Edge

Ronny Haraldsvik, CMO/SVP, SpiderCloud Wireless

Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO, SpiderCloud Wireless

At the heart of SpiderCloud’s scalable 3G/4G small cell system is the Services Node (SCSN), a “local” control point for the small cell network deployed inside the enterprise over existing Ethernet. It’s also where the enterprise edge meets the mobile operators edge network. The small-cell system can provide cellular capacity and coverage to over 1.5 million sq.ft. of space and support for 10,000 voice and data subscribers.

Beyond coverage and capacity, after credibility has been established with the IT department, the Services Node is a strategic point of entry into the enterprise IT environment for mobile operators and business partners to service IT, and a potential great revenue opportunity.

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Cost Optimised Indoor Coverage

Andrew Mackay, Manager Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

Andrew Mackay, Manager Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

This post is by Andrew Mackay, Manager Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

In my last post Bringing LTE Indoors, I discussed the compelling need to address LTE coverage indoors to enable service migration off 3G, particularly for Voice. We know there is a variety of options for MNOs to address indoor coverage, either from outside in with more outdoor sites, or from inside with wider use of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), repeaters or small cells. The “outdoor in” approach would mean even more BTS sites, but site acquisition challenges and build costs generally mean this is no longer an option in urban areas. Addressing coverage from indoors makes sense, but what is the optimal solution?

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Deploying Small Cell Systems with 3-D in Mind

- Amit Jain, Vice President of Product Management, SpiderCloud Wireless

– Amit Jain, Vice President of Product Management, SpiderCloud Wireless

Deploying dense and scalable indoor small cell systems is not straightforward. SpiderCloud’s experience shows the indoor RF environment gets increasingly complex and challenging as the density of the deployment increases. This is particularly true in multi-story buildings where mobile devices experience a three-dimensional (3D) RF environment. A single handset is able to see a very large number of small cells, some on its own floor and others from floors above and below it. The radio signal inside buildings experiences flat fading, which means that even a stationary handset sees signal from small cells fluctuate by 6-8 dB. Despite such variation in signal quality, a small cell RAN should remain stable and not drop calls, or experience throughput degradation.

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Being Streetwise – Urban Small Cells for LTE

Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

This post is by Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

In the eyes of many consumers, 4G/LTE is no longer a next-gen technology. Numerous operators around the globe have rolled out their networks, are in the process of doing so or are planning to in the near future. Similarly, the latest and most desirable devices being launched boast 4G capability; something that will become less a feature, more of a standard as the year goes on.

But as more of the population migrate to 4G, taking advantage of the faster data speeds available to them, there is a risk networks will face similar bottlenecks to those of 3G. It is of the utmost importance operators can deliver the headline speeds that make 4G so attractive. (more…)

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Why small cells will make a big difference: INFOGRAPHIC

small cells infographic

This year’s LTE World Summit, which takes place at the RAI in Amsterdam, includes a dedicated small cells session on the 24th June, featuring presentations and panel discussions addressing the key opportunities and challenges around the technology. Taking part will be expert speakers from many companies such as Vodafone, Three, PT Telekomunikasi, Telus, SpiderCloud Wireless, Actix, Huawei, Gemalto and Comba Telecom International.

World Summit 2014

 

How small cells will boost operator networks in 2014 and set them on the path to HetNets

Dominie Roberts

Senior Conference Researcher for the LTE World Summit, Informa Telecoms & Media

With more and more of us using our smartphone on the move, demand on LTE networks is growing rapidly and operators are coming under increasing pressure to both increase network capacity and ensure QoS.

MWC 2014 gave us a sneak-peek into the future possibilities of the mobile space with exhibitors showcasing their solutions and technologies, paving the way towards 5G, IoT, wearables, M2M, LTE Broadcast, VoLTE and so on.

Despite the future looking bright in terms of these advanced technologies, it is important that operators don’t run before they can walk and overlook the impact on the network from increasing consumer demand.

For consumers, the networks’ shortcomings become evident in densely-populated situations, such as sporting events, festivals and large conferences/exhibitions, where the networks experience huge challenges in providing fast and reliable mobile communications services.

These shortcomings need to be addressed before mobile network operators are able to move forwards and meet standards, and for MNOs, creating HetNets and implementing LTE Advanced are crucial steps towards increasing capacity in the networks, particularly at these busy locations.

HetNets are now perceived as key drivers in ensuring the ongoing success of LTE and LTE-A, and towards the development of 5G.

In the more advanced markets, building out the Heterogenous Networks will be high on many operators’ agenda for 2014. Vodafone has already deployed SpiderCloud’s enterprise small cells in the Netherlands and is now looking at rolling out small cells in the UK to support enhanced, in-building mobile coverage.

AT&T has spent 2013 trialling small cells to find the optimum locations and is planning to deploy these this year. AT&T is so serious about improving its network that it has even rolled out a new advertising campaign called “Better Network”, which illustrates exactly how AT&T is improving coverage and capacity.

HetNets will in the future play a pivotal role in addressing the capacity needs for high traffic surges and small cells will be an important focus for many operators in 2014.

At this year’s LTE World Summit, which takes place at the RAI in Amsterdam, we are including a dedicated small cells session on the 24th June featuring presentations and panel discussions addressing the key opportunities and challenges around the technology. With expert speakers from many companies such as Vodafone, Three, PT Telekomunikasi, Telus, SpiderCloud Wireless, Actix, Huawei, Gemalto and Comba Telecom International, this event is not to be missed and will provide a necessary platform showcasing the key developments in today’s HetNet’s ecosystem.

 

Hyper-dense small cells – If they can work here, they can work anywhere!

Prakash Sangam Director, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm

This post is by Prakash Sangam Director, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm

On March 1st and 2nd 2014, the eyes and ears of NASCAR fans were on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race being held at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona (PIR). While fans were nervously biting their nails during the race and cheering ecstatically when their favorite driver pulled off a pass, we at Qualcomm joined them. Admittedly, we were not there only to see the spectacle of NASCAR. Phoenix International Raceway was the venue for the joint trial among Sprint, NASCAR and Qualcomm Technologies. The companies were stress-testing and validating the “hyper-dense small cells” concept and our “UltraSON” suite of features. And when the results were in, we were as ecstatic—perhaps more so than the fans of the winning car and driver.

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LTE: Long Term “Extreme” behavior

Dr Michael Flanagan, JDSU

Dr Michael Flanagan – CTO Mobility, JDSU

This post is by Dr Michael Flanagan – CTO Mobility, JDSU

The presence of “extreme” data users is well-known in the industry and past reports have shown that as little as one per cent of the hungriest UMTS users consume half of all downlink data. The advent of LTE has introduced unprecedented downlink data rates in the wireless mass market.  It has been postulated that the combination of extreme users and high data rates would result in a perfect storm where the hungriest users consume even more due to a high-speed delivery mechanism.  Recent analyses confirm this prediction and show that LTE users are ten times more extreme than their UMTS predecessors.

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Huawei expects acceleration in small cell market

Julian-Bright_web1While the initial hype may have died down small cells are still very much at the heart of operator strategies for 2014. Julian Bright, Informa’s senior analyst for networks gives us the low down from Informa’s Small Cell Global Congress in Berlin last month on Huawei’s plans for the technology.

The buzz of interest that surrounded small cells in the early days may have subsided, but the evidence is that the majority of vendors and operators remain convinced that the technology has a key role to play in the future mobile broadband network.

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Adding Capacity Is a “Small Cell” Matter

This post is by Philip Sorrells, Vice President, Site Solutions, CommScope

This post is by Philip Sorrells, Vice President, Site Solutions, 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.

With that definition in mind, I see four viable “small cell” paths for wireless operators to explore for expanding wireless capacity:

  • Distributed antenna system (DAS) – the original small cell. DAS has proven itself in the field for around for 25 years or so. DAS networks often are multi-operator, multi-technology, high capacity solutions. As Infonetics’ recent research predicts, the DAS market will continue to grow as DAS has already established itself in the operators’ toolkits.
  • Pico cells or mini remote radio heads. These solutions are targeted at adding capacity in medium to large buildings, for one operator only.
  • Multibeam antennas and sector splitting. Certain sectors in macro sites, or whole sites themselves, can be in locations that see tons of data traffic. Such hot sectors need new solutions for adding capacity, increasing gain to penetrate buildings better and/or cover more outdoor space. Splitting a sector in two about doubles the capacity, and with twin beam or multibeam antennas, one antenna can handle the job.
  • Concealed, integrated metro cells. These are basically mini macro sites, designed to address the common problems of site acquisition and licensing in congested areas. The remote radio unit, antenna and other RF path equipment are concealed in one monopole type structure.

All of these four solutions need to address the challenges of site acquisition, power, backhaul and network performance to meet operators’ needs.

What do you think of these small cell approaches? What advice can you give about deploying them in the field?

I will be talking more about them in my presentation at LTE North America on November 21 at 12:15 p.m. titled “So You Want to Go Small? – Practical Considerations for Adding Capacity in a Small Cell Approach.” (Quite a long title for a “small” subject, I know.)

Interview: Senior Technology Architect, Telus: “operators should look towards policy management solutions to ensure subscribers get a consistent QoE.”

Ricky Gill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus

Ricky Gill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus

Ricky Gill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus is speaking in the “Handling the Mobile Data Explosion” track on Day Two of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Here, we get a sense of the opportunities and challenges that the data explosion represents.

How has LTE impacted the Canadian telecoms market?

LTE has provided a limited impact on the overall market but hard trends have emerged that are adding disruption to the status quo. Roughly 50 per cent of Canadians have a smartphone, so there is room for the penetration rate to grow and help to counter balance the decline in voice/messaging revenue due to OTT IP voice and messaging services. That line will cross and operators will rely on VoLTE to decommission their legacy networks to manage costs. In addition, investment in RCS services will increase in an attempt to compete or co-operate as required. The big three Canadian operators will refocus their traditional TV service offerings as well, as the uptake of paid-for OTT services continues to increase at a higher than projected rate.

 The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: Chairman, Small Cells Forum and AVP Small Cell Solutions, AT&T (USA): “Small cells represent a critical tool in any operator’s arsenal.”

Gordon Mansfield, Chairman, Small Cells Forum and AVP Small Cell Solutions, AT&T (USA)

Gordon Mansfield, Chairman, Small Cells Forum and AVP Small Cell Solutions, AT&T (USA)

Gordon Mansfield, Chairman, Small Cells Forum and AVP Small Cell Solutions, AT&T (USA), is delivering a keynote on Day Two of the of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we find out how and why small cells are going to become a critical part of every operator’s network.

How would you sell the benefits of using small cells in a network?

It’s a well-publicised fact mobile data usage is continuing to grow with no sign of this abating; as such, carriers need to increase network capacity. While there are a number of means of bolstering capacity – moving to 4G, improving spectrum efficiency, Wi-Fi offload – nothing comes close to frequency reuse through increased numbers of cell sites which improve capacity by up to 1600x. In addition, small cells yield noticeable benefits for the macro network; a 2012 Forum study showed that by placing four small cells within one macro, not only is data offload of over 50 per cent achieved, the macro network performance is improved by 315 per cent. Small cells give operators a relatively low-cost means of augmenting their networks where improvements are needed, whether it’s a busy urban area or remote village with poor coverage. This isn’t to say small cells will supersede macro cells or that they overcome all spectrum limitations, but they do now represent a critical tool in any operator’s arsenal.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: VP Americas, Small Cell Forum: “The benefits of small cells is the ease of deployment”.

Andy Germano, VP Americas, Small Cell Forum

Andy Germano, VP Americas, Small Cell Forum

Andy Germano, VP Americas, Small Cell Forum is taking part in a panel discussion: “Small Cells and SON” in the Hetnets track on Day One of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the latest in small cells and how he they will be deployed.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in dealing with the implementation of small cells into a network?

As small cells migrate into HetNets and open access to outdoor applications, frequency coordination with macro cellular networks becomes more important.  Another area of importance is backhaul.   One of the benefits of small cells is the ease of deployment. Selecting the right backhaul connection including scalability for future growth potential is also important.

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Interview: CTO, PT. Bakrie Telecom: “I believe small cells will play an important and key role in the LTE access network.”

Thatha Rao, CTO, PT. Bakrie Telecom, Indonesia

Thatha Rao, CTO, PT. Bakrie Telecom, Indonesia

Thatha Rao, CTO, PT. Bakrie Telecom, Indonesia is speaking in the Network Optimisation track on Day One of the LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we speak to him about his the various challenges of deploying LTE in a developing country.

What have been the main developments and major milestones for you over the last 12 months with regards to LTE?

Currently we are preparing various 4G deployment options as the Indonesian government has not yet decided on the exact spectrum and license mechanism for LTE deployment. It is expected to announce this during 2014.

How much of a challenge do you feel monetising LTE will be?

It’s definitely going to be a big challenge, especially in Indonesia. This is a key developing country in the region but on the positive side it has lots of growth prospects over the next few years. The traditional model of deploying LTE for high spending customers and later extending the service to other segments may not work this time, simply because the revenues generated by this niche segment can’t justify what we need to spend for CAPEX and OPEX. However, if we choose the mass subscriber approach, price becomes the predominant factor compared to service quality and high speed.

The LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Tell me about the fresh challenges that LTE brings with regard to backhaul?

I believe small cells will play an important and key role in the LTE access network in order to create better coverage and speeds. To reach these small cells with optical fibre though is definitely not an economical option and would also be very tedious, so we need a strategy that uses point-to multi-point radio backhaul technologies using short wave, which offers high bandwidth within short distances.

Where is LTE Advanced on your roadmap? Will you implementing it all at once or gradually introducing key features?

We preferred to take a gradual approach, based on demand and customer needs.

Why is attending the LTE Asia conference such an important date in your diary?

Frankly, I don’t want do make many mistakes in my LTE deployment, so  learning from the struggles and success stories of other LTE operators is the prime reason for me to attend this conference.

Managing the interaction between 2G, 3G and LTE within Heterogeneous Networks

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix

This post is by Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix.

As networks become increasingly complex and demands from subscribers soar, mobile operators face common issues when they lack a reliable, consistent and accurate view of the network. 

Mobile data services are undergoing tremendous growth. As a result operators are busily knitting together a Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) of access technologies from cellular towers, rooftop antennas, metrocells, femtocells, and Wi-Fi to Distributed Antenna Systems. This development is being driven by subscriber demand for consistent wireless broadband coverage and capacity, with the result that the mobile network is moving increasingly ‘closer’ to the consumer.

LTE offers a step change in mobile data performance, setting new expectations for customer experience. LTE will increase interaction with the network, increasing the demand for mobile multimedia services – online television, video streaming, social networking, and interactive gaming.

Considering the huge variations in performance, range and capacity between different access technologies and spectrum bands, operators will need to carefully control the interactions to provide a consistent subscriber experience. Simply put: customer experience in HetNets will be defined by the poorest network performance the subscriber typically receives during normal day to day usage.

If operators get this wrong, subscribers could experience catastrophic drop-offs when handed over from relatively under-utilised LTE networks to congested 3G/2G networks.  Similarly as subscribers leave Wi-Fi or small cell hotspots and re-join macro networks speed bumps will impact the always connected data experience new services rely on.

All of this requires operators to get the initial coverage mix right and ensure handovers and interactions occur at the right places at the right time. Critical to this is an understanding of how subscribers and data traffic flow across the network and the geography. This type of information can be obtained from systems that deliver increased network and subscriber intelligence. Software platforms such as ActixOne are designed to deliver real-time geo-located subscriber insights to drive everything from long term planning through to optimisation and SON.

This intelligence then enables the operator to shape and manage bandwidth to deliver the required quality of service, improving and optimising network efficiency so that the transition across the HetNet is a smooth, invisible and painless experience for the subscriber.

Interview: President, Network Group, Korea Telecom: “Carrier aggregation will enable us to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities.”

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom, South Korea is delivering an opening keynote speech on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we get a comprehensive update on KT’s cutting-edge LTE deployment and why its CCC architecture brings it a competitive advantage.

What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?

In the past year KT’s LTE network covered 99 per cent of the population in Korea. The traffic volume of our LTE networks has surpassed that of our 3G network, even though the only a quarter of KT’s subscribers are on LTE. This impressive deployment has been accomplished over the past year using the CCC (Cloud Communication Center) architecture, the most simple network deployment architecture, as far as I know. In the CCC architecture, all the RUs (Radio Unit) are connected to DU (Digital Unit) pools located in the centralisation center via through optic cores. The signals from multiple RUs are processed all together to optimise the radio performance and mitigate the inter-cell interference. To introduce more carriers in the near future, the optic cores and DU processing pools will be reused and RUs will be installed at a local cell site via the plug-in method. In addition, KT launched a VoLTE and PSVT (Packet Switched Video Telephony) service, which provides the HD-Voice and HD-Video service.

What are the chief technical challenges you are facing?

LTE is very sensitive to inter-cell interference due to the nature of OFDM-based systems. In a conventional architecture inter-cell interference control has limitations due to the delay and low speed between eNodeBs. KT’s CCC is a radical solution designed to resolve these inter-cell interference problems. However, the growing demand for higher data rates and the increase of LTE subscribers requires additional solutions such as carrier aggregation and femtocells. Through our close collaboration with several vendors we are trying to discover the optimal solutions. Our so-called “Connect & Development” method is focused on inter-eNodeB cooperation, which is the basis for carrier aggregation and HetNet technology.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

Most of our customers’ dissatisfaction comes from cell-edge regions where the QoS is very low, due to the inter-cell interference, causing missed or dropped calls. In order to enhance cell-edge performance we have introduced new techniques named “JT (Joint Transmission)” and “CS (Coordinated Scheduling)”. These two technologies reduce inter-cell interference, but should be selectively used according to the network load. In the case of heavy traffic load, we should mainly focus on CS and in the case of low traffic, JT is beneficial as it improves throughput by increasing the signal strength. All these procedures come under the umbrella of SON (Self Optimized Network) technology.

Is VoLTE part of your plans and what benefits will it bring both to operators and consumers?

We have already commercialised VoLTE services. The “Idle to Active” time in 3G networks is about 2-3 seconds, and therefore the call set-up time for mobile-to-mobile is about 4-6 seconds. However, in LTE networks, the “Idle to Active” time is less than 100ms. Therefore, if you make a VoLTE call, the called party will respond within 1 second as well as it will make a connection to network within 100ms. In addition, the high voice quality of AMR-WB using 23kbps is very attractive to our customers. When using CSFB as an interim solution for voice service, PS calls also uses 3G networks during the voice calls causing user inconvenience due to the low 3G data speed. From the operator viewpoint, VoLTE will make it easy to reach an all-IP service, which will reduce the OPEX compared to conventional infrastructures.

Pricing for LTE is a controversial subject. Are operators getting it right?

ARPU of 3G smartphone users is $40. However, an ARPU of LTE user is about $50. That is, with LTE networks we can expect ARPU increase by 20 per cent. Recently, KT commercialised an LTE Unlimited price plan at $95 compared to the unlimited 3G data service tariffs that start from $54. However, there are many concerns regarding unlimited price plans on LTE. That policy was driven mainly by the competitive market situation in South Korea.

Do you think that LTE offers great opportunities for monetisation or does it present challenges?

One opportunity for LTE is its high-data rate and low latency, which guarantees QoS for streaming and interactive services. Content is easily accessible with LTE smartphones and “virtual goods” can be monetised and delivered via LTE networks. For example, we can provide a better or guaranteed QoS for users viewing adverts. New LTE-based services such as eMBMS and RCS also offer an opportunity for monetisation. KT is preparing for eMBMS pre-commercial services within this year. However, if operators lose the right to control QoS due to the regulation issues, operators will face some challenges for sustainable growth and should make an effort to develop a new ICT (Information Communication Technology) business model.

In order to offer a more competitive service than the OTT players KT is leveraging CCC for ICT business. CCC is a kind of domain-specific cloud technology, based on virtualisation. By unifying the platform for radio and several application services into CCC, we can provide cross-layer optimised services between applications and radio. For example, we can utilise user contexts such as user ID, traffic content, QoS, location, and the radio environment to provide the most suitable service to our customers. I expect that all these services will offer a great monetisation opportunity to mobile network operators.

Where do small cells fit into your plans?

Most of KT’s mobile network infrastructure already consists of small cells. This is because the small cell is key to meeting capacity demands and removes coverage holes in a cost effective way. With the advent of smartphones and the exponential growth of data traffic, CCC-based small cells for 3G and 4G have been playing a significant role. The inter-site distance of these small cells is no more than 100m in Seoul, whereas the coverage of macro cell in rural areas is around 1-2km.

As an in-building solution KT has developed business femtocells, targeting both data offloading for capacity and in-building coverage. The business femtocells have been deployed at public places such as cafe and markets for public subscribers. We are currently developing a home femtocell and will introduce some calling plans for private subscribers. Following mass deployment, we expect more than 10 per cent of traffic will be off-loaded to femtocells in the near future, compared to the current data off-load of less than one per cent. In addition, the business and home femtocells will co-operate with CCC to reduce the inter-cell interference.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

From the viewpoint of network development, KT plans to introduce inter-band carrier aggregation and expand the system bandwidth up to 20MHz from 10MHz. This will enable us to double the maximum date rate to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities for all the mobile related industries such as M2M, streaming and cloud services.

 This year, our evolved CCC network (LTE WARP Advanced) will support advanced CoMP technology. A DM-RS (Demodulation Reference Signal) based on JT (Joint Transmission) technology will expand the JT areas into the cell edge using the different PCIs (Physical Cell ID). Furthermore, CS (Coordinated Scheduling) will be expanded into the heterogeneous network with the component of CCC-based small cell solutions such as picocell and femtocell through an X2 interface.

 From the viewpoint of service development, KT will introduce application and radio converged services provided in CCC. For example, accessed information is frequently kept in CCC that is physically and logically closer to the user side. By reducing the amount of traffic on EPC, WAN links, and overburdened Web servers, caching provides significant benefits to reduce TCO and service delays. I expect that more application services such as LBS based smart dialling and local community services will be accommodated in CCC in future.

Interview: Head of network, Vodafone, Netherlands: “The introduction of small cells is the next step in serving our customers.”

Head of network, Vodafone, Netherlands

Head of network, Vodafone, Netherlands

Matthias Sauder, head of network, Vodafone, Netherlands, is appearing at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about Vodafone’s upcoming LTE launch in the Netherlands and how the network can best be optimised. 

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

The key optimisation technique in LTE is SON (Self Organizing Networks). SON is a technique which can improve the accessibility, throughput, and retainability, enabling the operators to better manage capacity– in particular coverage and capacity optimisation, load balancing and handover robustness, which are all methods of improving the customer experience. However, additionally automated neighbour relations and self-configuration mechanisms are also helping to improve operational excellence and customer experience. I would also not underestimate the efforts which have to be spent to introduce and optimize CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall-Back). It is an absolute must to provide a basic voice service at great quality.

Are small cells enough to solve the problems of localised demand for data?

The introduction of small cells is the next step in serving our customers where they would like, delivering an unmatched network experience. I see them as a first step in dealing with all the challenges that operators face from the increased use of smartphones. They will help operators cope with capacity demands and the OPEX challenge. The implementation of small cells will speed up the rollout of local capacity/coverage improvements and they also limit the visual impact of a mobile network. I also see LTE-Advanced technologies such as COMP as future solutions for further improving capacity management.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What’s your strategy around Wi-Fi and is it an effective means to reduce load on the core network?

We will trial Wi-Fi deployments linked to our small cell trials in major cities in the Netherlands. It can be used as a measure to improve the customer experience and help to reduce load on the core network.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

There are several that spring to mind. Generally, the introduction of LTE within the Vodafone network in the Netherlands: and technically, the use of active antennas. We will see more small-cell deployments all over the world and SON will be used to optimise networks and mitigate complexity.

How quickly are you looking to deploy LTE Advanced and what are the challenges you predict it might bring?

Firstly we aim to launch a high quality LTE network and then LTE-Advanced will be one of the next natural steps. We want to get the basics right!

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important event for you to attend?

It is a great event to catch up on the newest trends and developments. The event provides a unique opportunity to meet many different colleagues from all over the world – networking is key. Content wise the event has been excellent so far and I am pretty sure it will prove so again this year.

Interview: Michael Wu, Director, Wireless Access Technology Development, Telus, Canada: “Monetising LTE investment was a key business challenge for Telus.”

telusMichael Wu, Director, Wireless Access Technology Development, Telus, Canada is speaking on the subjects of HetNets at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to the Wu to find out more about backhaul strategy, network optimisation and business challenges.

What were the chief technical and business challenges you faced when you rolled out LTE?

TELUS first launched LTE services in 14 metropolitan areas across the country in February 2012, and since that launch we have expanded coverage to reach more than 70 per cent of Canadians, with plans to cover even more by the end of this year. From a technological perspective, the key challenge was really about making iRAT (inter Radio Access Technology) work between UMTS and LTE. The iRAT handoff between UMTS and LTE had very limited global deployment at that time and there were issues tied into the devices as well. As happens when implementing most new technologies, the timescale was underestimated and it took us longer than expected to complete the development. With the growth of social media, Internet mobilisation and consumerisation, monetising LTE investment was a key business challenge for Telus, as it is for all carriers. Customers expect to pay less but enjoy more data consumption at better speeds.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What impact does LTE have on your backhaul strategy and technology choices?

LTE enables services to operate at faster speeds and at lower latency. This relies on much more stringent backhaul performance. When Telus launched UMTS in 2009, we implemented an all-IP backhaul deployment, which enabled us to prepare for the LTE upgrades.

Are small cells important for your roll out and how can they successfully be integrated into the network?

Small cells were not the key consideration for our initial LTE rollout. This is primarily because LTE small cell technology was not mature at that time, and there were no LTE small cells available. That said, at Telus we believe small cells will be the key element to address future exponential growth of data traffic. We are continuing to explore small cell technology and believe the successful integration of small cell into the macro LTE network will be made possible once key features mature, such as eICIC, and RE in LTE Release 10.

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

LTE introduced many new technologies, such as 2×2 MIMO and OFDMA. For these, the traditional RF optimisation techniques such as drive testing and antenna down‐tilt will not satisfy the requirements for network optimisation. In the market today, there are many different kinds of techniques: MIMO optimisation, RET based third-party SON tools, SON based real-time optimisation and others. Some of them are mature while others are still under development. These optimisation techniques greatly improve customer experiences by fixing network problems in real-time instead of potentially waiting week after week due to the nature of troubleshooting complexity in the LTE world.

Some fear that the dedicated backhaul required for every small cell installed will destroy the economic benefits that they bring in terms of offload. What’s your view?

Backhaul technologies for small cells are still evolving so it is too early to make that statement. In my view, the adoption of small cell backhaul will depend on each operator’s individual business case – what infrastructure they have today and what they will build in the future, and also whether they are looking for partnership to leverage others’ infrastructure or not. Ultimately, the winning strategy will be providing enough backhaul capacity for small cell traffic growth, while maintaining an attractive investment return.

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important show for operators to attend?

The LTE World Summit is the main event in the global wireless industry where all the key players are present. The Summit represents a unique opportunity to share information with other operators and key vendors, get a stronger sense of where the industry is at and assess new developments with other industry players. By speaking at the conference and representing Telus, I see this as an opportunity to recognise the success of Canadian business in the global marketplace, and more specifically showcasing Telus as a leader in technology innovation and introduction. By demonstrating that Canada continues to have a healthy balance of regulation and free market economics, we are ensuring the future of a healthy and vibrant mobile broadband sector.

Ready for HetNets?

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix.

As growth in data demand drives the deployment of LTE, one of the challenges facing mobile operators is how to improve the subscriber experience, while navigating the increasing complexity of their own networks.

This year more than 150 mobile operators will roll out LTE. With the vast majority of smartphone and tablet mobile traffic originating from just five per cent of locations, demand for small cells will soon overtake that of macro cells. Meanwhile, current network analytics already clearly show operator traffic that is handled in-building and by small cells to be on the rise. Analyst house Infonetics has suggesting this could account for 25 per cent of all traffic in the next three or four years. As a result, mobile operators will be forced to juggle a range of access technologies (2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi) as well as macro cells, residential and enterprise femtocells, small and pico cells, creating a complex network built upon multiple cell sizes.

Small cells will create new challenges, including backhaul in densely used urban centres, with regional and municipal eccentricities resulting in a minefield of planning regulations and restrictions and unwanted interaction with existing networks.

At the same time, operators are upgrading network infrastructure to a single RAN (with combined 2G and 3G base stations) and refarming spectrum, which will make it easier to roll out LTE. However, these live network changes will inevitably disrupt network performance and customer experience. All this is the reality of the new HetNet that operators must come to accept, and then deal with.

Mobile operators clearly face a mountainous challenge. To survive operators have to successfully manage increasing network complexity, whilst still delivering better customer experience – if business plans for LTE are to meet subscriber expectations.

To achieve this they need granular insight into their network and subscribers. They need to be able to quantify the exact nature and location of demand, as well as qualify network performance together with subscriber experience and the impact on their business. This will enable them to determine which technologies should be deployed in which locations or which network elements need merely to be tweaked, at minimal cost, in order to deliver the best possible experience for their subscribers.

With Actix’s award winning analytics platform and LTE solutions, real-time subscriber geo-location in the radio access network (RAN) enables the operator to indentify capacity, coverage, speed, customer and handset conditions. This helps operators to make better informed decisions by identifying the exact locations where they need to bolster capacity, improve coverage and raise speeds to keep subscribers happy. Operators are then able to decide for example where small cell quick fixes, especially for in-building issues, should be deployed, or identify prime and acceptable locations for LTE and more effectively optimise multi-vendor, multi-technology HetNet environments.

Neil Coleman, director global marketing, Actix, will be delivering his Masterclass in effectively handling capacity challenges within a comprehensive HetNet at the LTE World Summit at the Amsterdam RAI, on Tuesday 25th June from 10.20. You can register to attend for free here. To learn more about overcoming HetNet complexity visit Actix at stand 56 from the 25-26th June, or visit www.actix.com.

Interview: CTO, SK Telecom, South Korea: “SDN and network virtualisation technologies hold great promise for mobile carriers.”

Dr J W Byun, the CTO of SK Telecom, South Korea is speaking on Day One of the LTE World Summit, taking place on 24-26 June 2013 at The RAI, Amsterdam. Ahead of the show we speak to him about how SK Telecom has been able to extend its global lead in LTE and gives some insights into what he sees coming down the line for telecoms.

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SK Telecom is a leader in LTE technology and have been one of the first to go live with VoLTE? Why do you think you were able to do so when other operators have not done so?

We were able to achieve nationwide LTE rollout at a rapid pace as Korea is a small but densely populated country. Moreover, Koreans are already used to fast Internet speeds and their expectations are getting higher and higher in terms of network speeds and device features/capabilities.

As Korea’s top mobile carrier, SK Telecom has developed strong technological capabilities in mobile telecommunications and accumulated extensive knowhow in network operation over the past 29 years. Based on its long-standing partnerships with many telecommunications equipment manufacturers and device makers, SK Telecom was able to maintain its market leadership by developing the most innovative LTE technologies and securing the richest line-up of mobile devices.

After launching Korea’s first LTE service in July 2011, the company saw its LTE subscriber base expand rapidly thanks to its premium service quality and customer care. With the spread of LTE, the company shifted its focus to developing and providing diverse services specially designed to match the needs of LTE users, allowing them to get the most out of the LTE network. In addition, on August 8, 2012, SK Telecom has launched the world’s first nationwide VoLTE service to enable users to experience premium-quality voice services.

Are you also intending to be one of the first to pioneer RCS services and what impact do you think it will have on customers mainly using OTT services?

SK Telecom has already commercialized an RCS service named joyn.T. Launched on 26 December 2012 the number of joyn.T users reached 1.57 million in April, 2013. The strong growth of joyn.T is attributable to the fact that it

1) Enables joyn.T users to send free messages (SMS, MMS) to anyone including those who have not downloaded the joyn.T application.
2) Offers diverse differentiated features such as live video sharing and location sharing.
3) Can become interoperable with RCS services of other mobile carriers throughout the world.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Where are you with LTE Advanced and carrier aggregation in particular?

At Mobile World Congress 2013, SK Telecom showcased Carrier Aggregation using a smartphone for the first time in the world and we plan to commercialize LTE-Advanced by launching Carrier Aggregation (CA) in the second half of this year, using a combined total of 20MHz (from the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands).

However, last year, in July 2012, SK Telecom became the first company in the world to commercialise Multi Carrier (MC) – a technology that enables operators to choose one frequency band from multiple carriers to provide more seamless and reliable LTE services at faster speeds – by building 1.8GHz base stations. Going forward, these MC-capable base stations can be easily turned into CA-capable equipment through software upgrades so as to support LTE-Advanced from the second half of 2013.

Do you believe that RCS services can genuinely help the industry compete with OTT?

RCS service sets itself apart from the traditional OTT offering through its unique features. It provides guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS) since it is offered over the managed IP network of the operators and hence is carrier-grade. In addition, it can be grown into a more comprehensive service with the addition of diverse features developed based on the global RCS standards. SK Telecom plans to add attractive features that are combined with communication services, such as HD Voice (VoLTE). Furthermore, as many mobile operators around the world are promoting the development of RCS services based on the same specifications, these services are expected to become a universal service that can be enjoyed by all customers around the world regardless of network and carrier.

Is VoLTE part of your plans and what benefits will it bring both to operators and consumers?

For customers, VoLTE improves voice quality over 3G voice calls by 40 per cent by utilising a wider bandwidth (50~7000Hz) compared to 3G voice calls (300~3400Hz) and Adapted Multi-Rate Wide Band (AMR-WB) codec, which handles 2.2 times wider frequency bandwidth than that of 3G voice calls. Moreover, the call connection time is less than 0.25 to 2.5 seconds, two to 20 times shorter than 3G voice calls. VoLTE also provides seamless conversion between voice and video calls.

Moreover, VoLTE has helped mobile operators strengthen their competitive edge over third-party players, while paving the way for the creation of new and creative all-IP-based business models.

Where do small cells fit into your plans, and what benefits will they bring?

In the LTE-Advanced environment where data traffic is expected to increase dramatically, small cells will become the most crucial part of mobile operators’ strategy. Small cells enable operators to expand network capacity using their existing frequency resources in the most cost-effective manner. SK Telecom has deployed 50,000 femtocells including 3,000 LTE femtocells. To realize the true benefits of small cells, SK Telecom plans to develop and apply cell virtualization technologies such as Super Cell. Super Cell enables mobile operators to use cell virtualisation technologies to enhance network capacity by minimising inter-cell interference, ensure seamless call quality by removing handover, and benefit from cost-efficient operation of networks.

Are there any other key innovations in your network compared to others operators?

SK Telecom’s premium quality LTE service is supported by innovative LTE network technologies like Multi Carrier, LTE femtocells, Downlink CoMP (Coordinated Multi-Point) and SON (Self-Organizing Network), all of which were commercialised by SK Telecom for the first time in the world. The application of these advanced technologies, combined with SK Telecom’s long-established know-how and experience in network operations, is making the company’s networks even stronger, faster and smarter.

The company is also making constant efforts to keep developing core LTE-Advanced technologies to lead the full-fledged opening of the era of LTE-Advanced. It has successfully demonstrated, for the first time in the world, core LTE-Advanced technologies like Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC), Uplink Cooperative Multi-Point (CoMP), Carrier Aggregation (CA) and Transmission Mode 9 (TM9).

Pricing for LTE is a controversial subject. Are operators getting it right?

LTE operators around the world are introducing many different types of price plans for their LTE subscribers. As for SK Telecom, it is offering a wide variety of LTE price plans in order to meet the diverse needs of customers and to encourage them to experience the advantages of the ultra-fast network in the most convenient and cost-effective manner. They include flat-rate plans, specialised plans for different age groups such as the elderly and teenagers, and optional data-only plans.

For instance, the company’s most recently launched (March 22, 2013) fixed-rate price plan named ‘T&T Sharing’ provides customers with unlimited intra-network voice calls as well as unlimited intra-network and inter-network texting. The company also modified its existing LTE data plans to lower the cost burden on customers by allowing them to add one data-only device to use the same data pool for free.

Moreover, in January 2013, SK Telecom introduced the ‘LTE Data Gift Program’ that allows customers to give their remaining data to other LTE users through a simple process.

How will affordable LTE roaming be achieved?

LTE roaming costs are expected to become as affordable as that of 3G roaming through close partnerships between mobile carriers. This will occur as LTE services spread across the globe. Recently, the members of the Bridge Alliance reached a consensus that LTE auto-roaming takes an important role in the future direction of next-generation roaming services, thus calling for strategic partnerships between carriers around the world.

After launching the world’s first LTE auto roaming service under partnership with Hong Kong’s CSL on June 1, 2012, SK Telecom has launched the service in Singapore by joining hands with M1 (October 1, 2012) and SingTel (March 1, 2013). Recently, SK Telecom has also started the service in the Philippines (April 1, 2013) by partnering with Globe Telecom.

What are the biggest changes you see coming down the line for mobile telecoms?

It has long been their dream of mobile operators to create mobile networks strong and smart enough to provide optimal network quality at all times. In the world of ever-increasing data traffic, they have been making heavy investments in their network infrastructure to prevent worst-case scenarios involving network overload. As a pioneer in the development of the global mobile industry, SK Telecom has already launched and refined its LTE network and is currently moving rapidly towards the era of LTE-Advanced.

Along with its efforts to realise unprecedented network speeds, SK Telecom also plans to promote the development of the Software-Defined Network (SDN) and network virtualisation technologies to make its network more powerful and attractive. SDN and network virtualisation technologies hold great promise for mobile carriers and will have a huge impact on the industry over the next five years. With SDN and virtualization technologies applied to the existing mobile networks, operators will be able to significantly reduce their network investment costs as they can install a number of software services within a single system, and flexibly adjust the amount of resources needed for each of them. Moreover, they will be able to offer optimal network quality for a particular service being used by customers located in a highly-congested area.

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