End-to-end small cell network developer and manufacturer ip.access has announced the release of its next-generation management tool for the small cell layer of mobile operator networks.
The company’s Network Orchestration System (NOS) combines a full suite of tools that will enable operators to quickly deploy small cells and introduce new services. The solution also brings operators the ability to manage and improve small cell performance and the interaction between the macro network and the small cell layer to drive down dropped call rates (DCR) to class-leading levels.
Announcing the capability, ip.access founder and CTO Nick Johnson said: ‘Small cells are rapidly evolving. They are no longer simply standalone islands of coverage but are becoming an integral part of the operator’s coverage and capacity solutions. That demands more management, more performance monitoring, and more interaction with network’s operating and business systems.
‘Our next generation Network Orchestration System provides that layer of interaction and also enables operators to accelerate the deployment of private and public access small cell networks and services quickly, efficiently and with unparalleled flexibility,’ said Johnson.
The ip.access next generation NOS includes four key operator management tools:
Network Register: Enables operators to quickly roll-out private consumer small cell services by bridging the gap between the small cells and the operator’s business systems. As each small cell is switched on and self-configures itself, the NOS obtains all the information required about the cell and its registered handsets. This data is then fed directly to the operator’s existing business systems.
SON Support: Today’s Self Organising Networks (SON) enable operators to automatically manage performance on the macro network layer. However, operators looking to provide infill coverage or additional capacity with a network of public access small cells are faced with a new set of challenges that current SONs were not designed to handle. The ip.access NOS provides an interface to the SON infrastructure that ensures the two network layers work together, switching calls from one layer to the other with no drop-off in service or radio interference with surrounding cells.
App Manager: The ip.access NOS supports the GSMA’s OneAPI open standard and therefore enables developers and operators to roll-out a series of new network services aimed at the small cell layer. As the number and density of small cells grows – particularly in city centres and shopping malls - it will be possible for operators to compete with over-the-top players and introduce location-based services that are not reliant on the use of battery hungry GPS data.
OysterCatcher: Integral to the next generation NOS is the remote diagnostics and performance monitoring capability of the award-winning OysterCatcher service from ip.access. OysterCatcher captures performance statistics from individual access points and can aggregate data right across the small cell layer. Individual small cells, clusters or the entire layer can also be fine-tuned remotely to improve performance or react to changing network conditions.
‘Providing specialist small cell layer support to the operator community will be key to the success of next generation LTE networks,’ added Johnson. ‘At ip.access we can uniquely provide best in class support, not only in terms of public and private access small cells, but also converged network gateways capable of making the transition from 3G to LTE, and now a comprehensive Network Orchestration System that helps operators register, support and manage the small cell layer.
‘In particular,’ he contiued, ‘the NOS helps reduce the upfront investment required to launch small cell services and gives operators unrivalled flexibility to quickly deploy services to solve coverage and capacity blackspots, as well as introduce new value added-services.’
Ip.access is headquartered in Cambridge, UK.