5 MIN READ | 5G

A day in the life of a mobile operator’s 5G network deployment team

Gavin Hayhurst
Jun. 26 2023
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When it comes to deploying a 5G network for the first time, every operator starts with a plan. But the challenge is how do you respond when you are hit with unexpected challenges and the validation, troubleshooting and optimization requirements of your deployment start to grow exponentially?  

“Everyone has a plan until they get hit for the first time” – Mike Tyson, heavyweight boxing champion of the world, 1987 

The task facing a mobile operator’s 5G network deployment is far greater than with 3G or 4G network roll-outs. Confronted with multiple 5G spectrum bands and network density requirements, the network deployment team needs a full armory to quickly and cost-effectively deploy new 5G sites in full working order. 

It’s a challenge of complexity and scale. They need: 

  • Visibility into the 5G roll-out with detailed analysis and reporting to guide and inform the initial network tuning. But this needs to be done for both the outdoor and indoor sites, such as in malls, stadiums, offices, and other large venues.  
  • To verify difficult-to-test locations like beaches – vital for inbound roaming revenue – and industrial and agricultural sites, which are key to new 5G IoT offerings. And then there’s the new spectrum, with higher frequency bands, including mmWave, requiring a denser network, with up to 20 times as many base stations as 4G. 

In this blog, part of the series where we look at the role of different teams within a mobile operator’s organization, we examine how network testing is central to the work of the network deployment team. 

What testing does a 5G network deployment team do? 

A mobile operator’s network deployment team has responsibility for not only validating, troubleshooting and optimizing the deployment, but also providing reports to the business on the status of the 5G network roll-out. With operators’ CAPEX and OPEX under pressure and scrutiny, the network deployment team are on the front line when it comes to ensuring the rollout is completed quickly, cost-effectively and accurately. 

Key network testing requirements for deploying a 5G network: 

  1. Initial site tuning and validation 

5G network deployment starts with initial site tuning and validating that new 5G sites and clusters are providing the intended coverage and all voice and data services are working as expected. This means network testing and troubleshooting new sites and clusters to accelerate site acceptance and new network feature verification across all your networks, from 2G to 5G. 

However, network deployment testing doesn’t begin and end with drive-testing the new sites and clusters in the outdoor network. The in-building network deployment must also be verified and optimized. For this, the network deployment team needs to be able to quickly and accurately undertake initial indoor site tuning, indoor site acceptance and even special event temporary indoor site tuning. 

  1. Analytics and reporting 

Analytics and reporting are essential for the network deployment team – both the ‘nitty gritty’ detail the engineers need to test and tune the 5G network, but also the high-level reporting the business requires to optimize the time and cost of deploying their significant 5G network investment. 

Rolling out a nationwide 5G network, or even just a town or city, can require miles upon miles of drive testing. It will generate files upon files of data. It can require a whole team to be tied up in testing and retesting new sites until they are validated.  

So how can you deploy your 5G network in a way that makes best use of team resources, improving their efficiency and reducing the need for highly skilled individuals? By choosing the right network testing solution suite. 

Key features of an effective network testing solution for successful 5G deployments 

A 5G network plan is only as good as your ability to deploy it. The subscriber experience your new 5G services deliver is built upon the ability to verify, troubleshoot and optimize the network. 

Accurate and efficient 5G network deployment requires: 

  • A powerful drive testing solution for initial tuning, 5G site acceptance and network troubleshooting that can reliably test with the devices your customers use and understand your customers’ experience of the 5G apps and services they consume. 
  • Detailed analysis and reporting for initial tuning and site/cluster acceptance that provides unparalleled insight into network performance as perceived by subscribers at the device, application and network level. 
  • Streamlined 5G network testing project management that can orchestrate, monitor, analyze and report on your network deployment projects so you can significantly reduce the amount of fieldwork required by your skilled engineers. 

That’s where our TEMS™ Suite comes in. For over 25 years, TEMS products have been recognized as the leading network testing solutions by mobile network operators and vendors worldwide – from the lab to the live network, at every stage of the deployment process. 

  • TEMS Investigation enables your network deployment team to optimize your subscribers’ user experience by testing your network from their perspective. Through our partnerships with device and chipset vendors, we support the latest technologies, features and devices your customers are using. This means you can not only reliably evaluate and improve your subscriber quality of experience, but you can also accelerate your 5G roll-out and gain a competitive edge.  

 

  • TEMS Discovery is our network analytics and optimization platform and provides your network deployment team with unparalleled insight into network performance, including in-depth analysis of initial tuning logfiles down to layer 3 messages. This equips them with the insight they need into the tuning changes required and the drive test routines that must be conducted. 

  • TEMS Cloud is a cloud-native solution that lets you plan and manage multiple network testing projects across a variety of TEMS network testing solutions, all from a centralized back-office. The fleet orchestration software helps your engineers to decide which work orders should be executed by each probe, and which routes should be driven to collect sufficient data. This enables better management of team resources, improving their efficiency and reducing the need for highly skilled individuals. 

 

 

Ensuring successful 5G deployments 

To quickly and cost-effectively deploy new 5G sites in full working order, your network deployment team need to be armed with the right tools and solutions to not just cope with the complexity of the 5G network, but to deliver it on time, on budget and on-plan. So, when you climb into the 5G ‘ring’, make sure you’ve got the right team in your corner! 

In our next blog in this ‘Day in the life’ series, we’ll take a look at the role of your Network optimization team and how they improve the network to meet – and exceed – the essential network KPIs that will define the success or failure of your 5G investment.  

To get a sneak peek, why not read this extended case study of how a major European mobile operator has confronted the challenges of rolling out its nationwide 5G network. You will discover how both the customer’s organization as a whole, and specific teams, successfully overcame their challenges using innovative network testing solutions. 

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