Today's mobile operators have a lot on their plates. They must manage increasing mobile data volumes and deliver a high quality of experience (QoE), all while keeping CAPEX and OPEX in check. Without a clear view of the end-to-end network, each of these individual tasks are difficult to achieve — let alone all at once!
In the past, mobile operators have struggled with keeping data within their mobile network planning projects up-to-date. Given how tedious the collection of this information was, RF engineers too often had to rely on outdated network data and limited information about the mobile network performance, resulting in sub-optimal use of network investments.
With live mobile network planning, this is no longer a problem. This method takes into account three unique data types — geo-located call traces, network performance key performance indicators (KPIs), and live network configuration and parameter settings — to provide RF engineers with timely and accurate insight into their mobile networks' current status. Tracking these data types allows evolving traffic demands and existing network issues to be addressed, providing a complete tool box for efficient and integrated network planning and optimization, all in near real time.
First and foremost, by incorporating mobile call trace data from different vendors and geo-locating it with a powerful geo-location algorithm, live mobile network planning enables RF engineers to accurately predict radio propagation through detailed network modeling. Geo-located call trace data gives a remarkably good view of where mobile devices are used, and is an excellent input to small cell planning. All of this can ensure that small cells are placed where they are really required. And, based on call trace data, live mobile network planning also provides a view of indoor vs. outdoor traffic, thus making a huge impact on planning decisions. Lastly, live mobile network planning shows where network upgrades are needed based on the most valuable customers' usage patterns.
Network performance counters, also known as KPIs, offer a good view of the network's quality and traffic. They explain how the network performs, along with what the quality is now and how it has evolved over time, which part of the network works well, and which parts will need some additional attention to perform as expected. By selecting and analyzing KPIs for different times of the day or week, RF engineers really get to know the mobile network and understand its strengths and limitations. But, the integration with a network performance management solution offers even more. At their fingertips, RF engineers get current traffic and LTE cell loads that they can use as input to traffic maps and network analyses. They also have the ability to forecast the traffic development in the mobile network based on the actual traffic during the last few months.
Last, but not least, live mobile network planning projects can be updated with the live network's configuration and parameter settings. Besides keeping planning project data up-to-date, this enables a long row of interesting use cases, such as on-air status and implementation control. It helps RF engineers answer questions like: “Has the network been implemented according to the optimized plan?” and “Have changes and mistakes made to the plan during the implementation phase caused the network to under-perform?”
Interested in learning more about mobile network planning? Check out these helpful resources: