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Geoanalytics and the evolution of Radio Access Network

Published on: October 3, 2017 |  Author : Mohammad R Ansari

Communications service providers (CSP) fully understand the need for launch of competitive new services but often lack resources to perform adequate and appropriate analyses. They face the challenge of determining how best to tap market demand, within the existing reach or by expansion of their network footprint, and new build-out to yield an economic return on investment. The Geoanalytics Service assists the CSPs who seek opportunities to expand their customer and revenue base. The service can be used to identify new prospects in existing markets and plan network extensions to maximize revenue and profitability for a minimum investment. Geoanalytics is also applied in an expert systems to identify demand clusters, considering proximity to existing infrastructure, cost, and competition.

Geoanalytics provides key insights to service providers within their current markets by determining which areas have latent demand for key services such as high data bandwidth requirements, significant communications services spend, and is used to predict the Total Addressable Market (TAM).

Geoanalytics and Evolution of Radio Access Network (RAN) 

Mobile network operators use a number of technology tools that supports network planning, optimization and operation processes to meet business objectives on an ongoing basis. If their needs and solutions are properly aligned, it can result in an approach that helps provide a better customer experience while delivering variety of services in a highly competitive environment. Advanced technological solutions combine the best feature sets into a single suite or platform to extend functionality beyond current limitations. Traditional OSS counter-based systems only provide a network element-centric view of performance from a capture and post analysis approach. This is an inefficient and incomplete methodology as telecom radio engineers must review data generated from drive tests, handset agents and OSS counters each in a silo and with historical data only.

Typically, Modern offerings outperform legacy solutions to more efficiently address real-world challenges. Per this type of comparative example, it’s apparent the data generated by a best-in-class geoanalytics platform can provide more complete and timely insights than traditional drive test collection methods and include:

  • QoS statistics similar to the performance counters from OSS
  • Drive test-like visualization to enable quick analysis, troubleshooting and decision-making in the optimization space while minimizing costly drive testing
  • Device and subscriber analytics enriched with location information
  • True subscriber experience network coverage and quality map

The Value of Geoanalytics for RAN Service Assurance

While providing statistics about network elements, a geoanalytics platform can correlate device and subscriber data with their position in the mobile network. This allows for quick differentiation of issues into the dominant categories of network element, handsets, subscriber profile and location. Operators that have already deployed and are using geoanalytics platforms report a tremendous reduction in operating expenditures and, more importantly, improvements in their customer satisfaction ratings.

Figure: MTTR & Root cause determination, Source: Netscout Projects Report

VoLTE Life Cycle Support

VoLTE spans multiple network technologies and domains, presenting challenges for mobile operators, which include costly network infrastructure investments to meet subscriber quality and reliability expectations, seamless interoperability across all platforms, vendors, QoS and policy management, e911, roaming support, and handset availability. With the growing number of VoLTE service launches globally, an increasing number of operators are realizing how they can benefit from complete radio access-to-core view of the network. This integrated, end-to-end approach pinpoints VoLTE service quality impacts and helps proactively manage issues before they become widespread problems.

  • In pre-launch scenarios, operators report experiencing a 40 percent time-to-market improvement with real-time data updates used for service optimization.
  • In support of ongoing service, operators report a 30 percent improvement in troubleshooting time-to-resolution.

VoLTE SRVCC (Single Radio Voice Call Continuity) handovers are a common area of concern for operators, and a geoanalytics platform can enable improvements with reports on real-time RAN conditions, mobility, call control and resource allocation. Analytics tools then allow operators to more quickly resolve complex handover challenges without jeopardizing the customer experience.

Planning for the Future

Real-time network data with drill-down to the subscriber level can support roll-out and life cycle of new technology services, such as VoLTE. Dynamic, real-time, end-to-end, multi-vendor, multiRAT, subscriber-level intelligence effectively addresses critical operator challenges, and enables mobile operators to:

  • Meet subscriber expectations for seamless services at low cost
  • Mitigate increased operational cost, complexity and challenges of LTE networks
  • Assure VoLTE launches over an all-IP connection, including the RAN

When utilizing an optimization and performance-management platform, mobile operators can launch services faster, achieve higher quality and significantly reduce costs. In turn, this creates a continuous process for ongoing operational efficiency, end-to-end analysis and debugging support. Essential tools can manage devices, new vendor features, coverage parity and more, reporting results that cannot be achieved with drive testing at a fraction of the cost. New services launch yield a myriad of challenges. When operators are able to correlate subscriber-level data with real-time RAN conditions, they can analyse mobility, call control and resource allocation in order to ensure a high quality and consistent experience.

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