Nokia Siemens Networks has added a raft of new capabilities to its Liquid Net portfolio. The company said a key principle of Liquid Net is evolutionary change rather than disruptive revolution. This allows an operator to start transforming its network at any time and in any domain – radio, core or transport.
One specific advance being showcased at MWC is a new service-aware and cell load-aware capability for HSPA/HSPA+ networks. Even when demand is at its highest, this feature can help operators deliver data-thirsty services like video with the lowest costs and customer-pleasing quality, as well as tap into new revenue sources.
Among Liquid Net’s other novel developments is a Self Organizing Networks (SON) function (see below) that optimizes the use of macro and pico cells deployed by operators to provide optimum capacity and coverage for voice and mobile data sessions. The same Liquid Net function can also automate network operations for the Flexi Multiradio Antenna System (see below).
Active Mobile Broadband Antenna
NSN’s Flexi Multiradio Antenna System creates moving beams of radio signals that can be directed at individual users or confined to a specific area. It is designed to improve base station capacity and coverage to help address surging mobile broadband traffic and provide a better customer experience.
The Flexi Multiradio Antenna System is based on Active Antenna System (AAS) technology, a key element in Nokia Siemens Networks’ Liquid Net architecture.
The company is validating the improvements in base station performance in trials with Telecom Italia.
Telecom Italia has been collaborating on a common R&D framework for intelligent antennas with Nokia Siemens Networks since 2006, contributing to the development of the Flexi Multiradio Antenna System. Initial results show that base station capacity can be increased by up to 65% and coverage by as much as 30% compared to traditional antennas with the new antenna system.
The Active Antenna System technology integrates several radio frequency (RF) components such as power amplifiers and transceivers into the antenna dipoles. This enables the beam forming capability that delivers significant performance enhancement and energy efficiency. In addition to improved capacity and coverage, AAS offers more flexible deployment, smaller footprint, lower power consumption and support for multi-technology networks. It also eliminates the need for separate RF units that are typically connected with feeders to traditional antennas.
Flexi Compact Base Station and 6-Pipes Radio Module
Nokia Siemens Networks is launching its new Flexi Compact Base Station, which it claims is the industry’s smallest macro base station for 3-sector sites combining baseband, radio and integrated transport in a single enclosure. The company believes it will allow operators to modernize GSM networks for improved energy efficiency while offering the lowest total cost of ownership.
The all-in-one Flexi Compact Base Station is easy to install at any type of location, requires minimum site infrastructure, and can deliver high output power. Ideal for GSM/EDGE rollouts, its multi-radio capabilities enable a smooth upgrade path to 3G and LTE, helping operators protect their network investment. Optimized backhaul can be provided by FlexiPacket Lite Microwave, a point-to-point microwave solution operating in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.
The company has also launched a 6-pipes radio module, the latest addition to its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station family, which enables highly compact and high capacity multi-radio sites for LTE rollouts, and is ready for evolution to LTE-Advanced. In what the company says is an industry first, the new radio module enables deployment of compact and high capacity 3-sector MIMO sites for LTE rollouts. It can also support the smallest 6-sector MIMO sites with just two radio modules, offering up to 80% more capacity and up to 40% more coverage compared to conventional 3-sector sites, to provide cost-efficient mobile broadband.
The Flexi Compact Base Station will be commercially available mid 2012. The 6-pipes radio module will be commercially available early 2013.
Liquid Radio GSM Software Suite
NSN says that GSM subscribers can now allocate their network resources more fluidly by using its Liquid Radio GSM software suite, which is designed to increase 2G efficiency, thereby freeing up valuable spectrum to either increase GSM capacity or to deliver 3G and 4G mobile broadband at higher data rates.
Operators re-farming GSM frequency to support 3G and 4G rollouts can free up to 30% of their spectrum, reduce total cost of ownership by 20% and potentially double their average 3G and 4G data speeds. GSM only network operators can potentially quadruple their capacity while lowering energy costs by 14%.The software suite is commercially available globally.
Flexi Zone and small cell portfolio launches
At MWC Nokia Siemens Networks will be showcasing a way to deliver mobile broadband across areas with a very high user density more efficiently than ever before. Multiple, locally managed access points are used to create a network of interconnected ‘small cells’ creating a ‘Flexi Zone’ of mobile broadband coverage with a single connection back to an operator’s network.
Flexi Zones allow virtually unlimited scaling of capacity as each zone can have up to 100 access points and yet behave, from the network point of view, as a single base station. Flexi Zone can also reduce the cost per bit for operators by more than 50% compared to adding capacity through additional, larger, macro sites.
Flexi Zone comprises multiple, inter-connected low-power small cells that use a common pool of resources managed flexibly by a zone controller. These clusters of HSPA, LTE and Wi-Fi access points complement the macro-cellular network to deliver the best coverage and capacity where and when required. Flexi Zone allows local offloading of Internet traffic, saving up to 80% of transport and mobile packet core costs.
With its compact and highly integrated access points, Flexi Zone redefines how small cells are deployed. Based on the new architecture, each cluster of cells requires only one traditional connection to the network. Within the cluster, operators can benefit from more flexible ‘street level’ wireless connections (for instance Wi-Fi, LTE). This can significantly reduce an operator’s network planning and installation work, because only an electrical power supply is needed to deploy Flexi Zone access points on lamp posts and other street furniture. Placing the access points as close as possible to subscribers achieves the best mobile broadband customer experience.
In addition to launching Flexi Zone, Nokia Siemens Networks is enhancing its small cells portfolio by launching:
•3G Femto Access Points for residential and enterprise use
•FlexiPacket Lite Microwave, a cost-effective, compact and easy-to-install backhaul solution for zero footprint small cell base stations and rural Ethernet backhaul;
•In-Building Solutions – an approach that comprises all the technology and services required to implement bespoke indoor voice and data services.
SON for Core: Self-Organizing Networks (SON) technology
Nokia Siemens Networks is launching a Self-Organizing Networks (SON) technology that automates core network operations. The new SON for Core helps operators to automatically and rapidly allocate core network resources to meet unpredictable voice and mobile broadband demands. Core network investments are used more effectively, operational efficiency is raised and network reliability is improved.
With SON for Core, operators can automatically detect, analyze and react to changing traffic and core network conditions. The core network adapts instantly to balance traffic loads and help prevent demand peaks from causing bottlenecks. SON for Core also helps to optimize the use of transmission links between core network elements by automatically allocating unused capacity to overloaded connections.
Furthermore, operators can route voice calls to a point of interconnection that is lowest cost and best quality to reduce operational expenditure and improve the customer experience. In addition, SON for Core enables the core network to handle smartphone signaling more efficiently and helps to avoid the need to build spare network capacity that is rarely used, or ‘over dimension’.
As well as improving the customer experience, SON for Core achieves a host of cost savings for operators. Up to 15% of operating costs can be saved by SON for Core’s process automation that transforms manual and slow network change management into fully automated real-time processes. The total cost of ownership of major network elements can be cut by up to 30% and transmission costs between radio access and core network elements can be more than halved by identifying and selecting co-located network elements.
These benefits are achieved by SON for Core’s self-optimization and self-configuration capabilities that run on core network elements (distributed SON) and on the Operations Support System (OSS) (centralized SON).
HSPA+ Multiflow for faster, more flexible 4G (HSPA+) networks
Operators will be able to offer enhanced mobile broadband with a new feature for HSPA+ networks from Nokia Siemens Networks and Qualcomm. Known as HSPA+ Multiflow, it allows devices located close to the edge of a mobile base station’s cell to connect with a second base station serving a neighboring cell.
The ‘Multiflow’ name refers to the two different paths data can then take to reach a device. The feature makes far more efficient use of network resources, delivering up to double the data speed and up to 50% faster response compared to existing HSPA+ networks.
A live demonstration at Mobile World Congress 2012 of the feature will be based on Nokia Siemens Networks’ commercial Single RAN offering and Qualcomm’s prototype USB dongles.