A large majority of global service providers expect to achieve substantial OPEX savings through self-organising networks (SON) new research released today (14 April 2015) reveals. The report showcases the key benefits of centralized self-organising networks (C-SON), which starts operators down the path to ‘zero touch’ networks.
Commissioned by Amdocs, the customer experience systems and services provider, the Infonetics Research paper has found service providers believe SON will provide a minimum10% reduction in network OPEX.
SON can reduce network complexity for services providers to efficiently manage, optimise, and co-ordinate complex legacy, multi-vendor networks for 2G, 3G and LTE.
Neil Coleman, director of marketing, RAN solutions at Amdocs, commented: “This is a milestone in the industry after service providers have faced a decade of trying to achieve effective network optimisation automation.
“C-SON comes at a time when there’s an increasing number of disparate networks being generated by new technologies, consolidation and M&A across the globe. Turning to self-organising networks significantly decreases opex costs.
“It enables service providers to optimise network capacity, increase coverage, and significantly enhance the customer experience to reduce churn – key market challenges.”
The report, which surveyed 20 service providers that currently operate a mobile network and run or plan to run commercial SON, found the strongest drivers of implementing SON were:
• Network performance optimisation – 85%: poor performance leads to customer churn through dropped calls, slow downloads and buffering;
• Higher quality of experience (QoE) – 80%: digitally savvy consumers want a seamless service when operating apps, downloading and streaming videos and music
• Cost savings through network automation – 75%: minimising human intervention for performing more complex tasks whilst reducing the number of errors.
The report argues that C-SON addresses key challenges facing service providers today including:
• 2G/3G network complexity across multiple-vendors and multiple 2G and 3G technologies is pushing the need for automated optimisation across the layers
• 4G/ LTE network co-ordination between all network elements and Distributed SON (D-SON) systems is required
• Customisation needs and efforts as every mobile network operator is different and the ability to heavily customise C-SON algorithms makes it easier to adapt them to individual operator’s needs
• Automating specific compelling events such as spectrum clearing for LTE.
The report describes the importance of a vendor-agnostic approach to C-SON, stating: “The fundamental role of vendor-agnostic C-SON is to address mounting 2G, 3G and/or LTE network complexity, which often results from multi-vendor Distributed SON (D-SON) environments...
“C-SON takes over [human intervention] to collect, analyze, and process performance data and automatically adjust network configuration parameters. The role of vendor-agnostic Centralised SON (C-SON) is critical to achieving this.”
Coleman added: “We believe a centralised self-organising, vendor-agnostic approach is critical, and we have had great success working with Vodafone Hutchinson Australia to implement C-SON to accelerate their LTE rollout, maintain network KPIs and reduce manual effort.”
Vodafone Hutchinson Australia example
Vodafone Hutchinson Australia’s spectrum portfolio management provides an example of a successful C-SON implementation. In 2014, the mobile operator deployed Amdocs’s C-SON solution to help with the program to improve its 4G coverage and customer experience across Australia.
The solution helps Vodafone to free up 850MHz spectrum previously used for 3G so that it can be used for LTE. The 850MHz spectrum is the most widely supported low-band spectrum for 4G smartphones and tablets, and provides a superior customer experience with fewer dropped data sessions.
Amdocs provided a unique inter carrier load balancing (ICLB) capability that allowed the mobile operator to free up 850MHz spectrum by shifting traffic to 2100MHz while existing SON use cases were deployed to maintain network KPIs.
Various other examples are cited, and all converge toward the implementation of C-SON to address specific business issues, which in turn lead to network performance optimisation, higher quality of experience, and more automation.
Amdocs Self-Optimising Networks enables service providers to automate the optimisation of their radio networks, thereby reducing operating expenses and delaying capital expenditure through efficient traffic management, as well as improve the customer experience.
In this deployment, the solution’s algorithms were customised to meet Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s network spectrum and traffic steering goals.