Planet Cloud 5G Cloud Native Network

Why 5G needs a new cloud-native network planning approach

Gavin Hayhurst
Apr. 18 2023

An already complicated planning process is going to become a whole lot harder. That’s the big takeaway for operators faced with the complexity, cost and scale of planning 5G networks.

Dynamically sharing LTE and NR spectrum, implementing 5G slicing, building private mobile networks, planning nationwide coverage with a mix of low, mid and high-band spectrum, modeling inbuilding and outdoor coverage… the list of challenges faced by RF planners goes on.

The reality of RAN planning for 5G means integrating multiple data sources; mapping, geodata, call trace, crowdsourced data, social media data and more to make effective planning happen. It requires AI and ML to manage and interpret such a vast quantity of data and combine multiple inputs to accurately predict wireless coverage, remove manual complexities and, importantly, automate RF planning workflows and processes.

Traditional single desktop-based approaches were perfectly adequate for the (relatively!) simple task of planning a 2G, 3G or even 4G network. But the reality is that if you want to design a 5G network that manages the growing complexity of its components and use cases – and optimizes the revenue-earning potential of both – you need a new solution.

The new RF generation needs a next-generation network planning approach. This is a subject we look at in-depth in our latest whitepaper – The evolution of 5G network planning.

The complexity of 5G means that intuitive, automated use case-centric workflows become key for efficient planning of 5G networks. The single desktop-based approach is no longer fit-for-purpose. Today, a cloud-native architecture is key to streamlining 5G planning.

What are the benefits of cloud-native 5G planning?

By evolving network planning and optimization away from a single desktop and towards a cloud-native application that delivers performance, scalability and efficiency, your RF experts can define workflows for a nationwide team of RAN planners utilizing dedicated use case-based web interfaces.

It is these use case-based web interfaces which transform the efficiency, accuracy and accessibility of your 5G RAN planning process.

What this means in practice is:

Improved speed and accuracy in your RF planning

The new 5G network design use cases enable your extended RF planning team to run 5G analyses using consistent templates, parameters and propagation models, accelerating the RF design process and improving the accuracy of network planning across a nationwide network. RAN planners are abstracted away from the configuration complexity and can quickly get to work using intuitive web interfaces and pre-set models.

Dedicated interfaces for your RF experts, planning teams and senior management

While the national design team and RF expert users rely on advanced tools to handle complex preparatory work, these are unnecessary and overly complex for the RAN planning team. Instead, dedicated web UIs now provide the ability to perform their RF design tasks, such as site placement and configuration of physical sector parameters, while leveraging templates and workflows centrally defined by the national design team. Automated reporting generates reports and analyses for stakeholders across the business, from the C-suite to the marketing team, that are customized to their specific requirements.

Retain control of the network plan with consistent, centralized data

Information must be stored and updated at the same centralized location, with the RF experts able to retain control, irrespective of how many RF planners are accessing and updating the central database. This means the wider RF planning team can quickly and accurately complete their projects, safe in the knowledge that all their site creation will be done from a consistent template with the right power amplifier, the right carriers, the right antenna and the right propagation model.

Cloud-native automation unlocks scale and flexibility

From scaling planning to cover a nationwide network to delivering new cross-cycle use cases, a cloud-native architecture underpins the 5G network lifecycle – particularly when high availability and disaster recovery are business-critical to planning your 5G network. A cloud-native architecture, deployed into any public, private or hybrid cloud environment, optimizes the use of resources and improves maintenance.

What are the use cases for cloud-native network planning?

Planet Cloud’s use case-centric approach to RF planning and optimization delivers at the radio planning capabilities above, at scale.

Planet Cloud is being used today by tier 1 operators to plan and deploy 5G networks in the USA and Asia for use cases such as:

  • Use case-specific user interfaces to streamline operations and increase efficiency
  • Automated cell optimization to reduce network design time by avoiding any regulatory infringements
  • Network-wide visualization and KPIs to enable ROI optimization across their entire deployed network with resource autoscaling
  • Nationwide coverage automated optimization and site selection scenarios to optimize CAPEX across the entire network

Powered by our cloud-native NLA Cloud Platform, Planet Cloud means you can unify network planning, testing, and automated assurance and operations by using telco-specific functions such as automation, analytics, and data correlation engines to break the limitation of traditional siloed-solution approaches.

As respected industry analyst Joe Madden, founder and lead analyst at Mobile Experts succinctly put it:

“In our years of experience with mobile radio networks, we have rarely seen any product that has such a big impact on the financial performance of the network. Any mobile network operator will benefit from cloud-native, efficient and integrated planning solutions, whether they are launching a brand new 5G network or preparing for new Network Slicing business offerings on the existing network.”

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