Mobile networks were planned back in the 20th century for a small number of high-end users making voice calls, with similar usage patterns every day. The same networks today need to handle infinitely more users, consuming a lot of data, mostly indoors, and in wildly unpredictable patterns.
In those early stages, networks were comprised of a single macro layers. Today they consist of a mix of technologies and are massively densified with small cells. To respond to these changes, the Radio Access Network (RAN) needs a new architecture – RAN 2.0. The self-optimizing network (SON) is its cornerstone.
Implementing SON improves and unifies network operation across Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS), Long Term Evolution (LTE), small cells, and Wi-Fi. It is the most efficient method to:
- Automate new cell deployment
- Dynamically balance network load
- Automatically manage neighbor relations
- Plan tracking area
- Assign PCIs
Without SON, service providers simply won’t be able to manage their modern, heterogenous networks.
Cisco SON for LTE
Cisco’s SON executes some of the optimization algorithms in the management layer, others in eNB. In typical LTE deployments, the vendor provides dSON algorithm elements at the eNB with a set of open interfaces, so that the service provider can use cSON at its management layer. The combination is performed in a two-stage control architecture: it monitors dSON functionalities, while reporting on the status of previously implemented automatic recommendations and activities from the cSON.
Crucially, LTE relations are frequency relations and the LTE to UMTS transitions are determined based on a predefined priority of the frequencies. The SON solution dynamically optimizes the frequency list in LTE for iRAT mobility based upon UMTS network status in each frequency. It assigns the best target frequency for each cell in each instant.
Cisco SON on LTE provides
- Faster deployment of LTE sites, with no need for manual configuration of UMTS frequencies
- Zero errors in UMTS frequencies, leading to shorter call setup times in LTE
- Better LTE UE accessibility, by eliminating the need for premature configuration of LTE frequencies during LTE rollout in the network
Cisco SON for Small Cells
The massive deployment of large numbers of small cells occurs without increasing the expenses related to configuration and optimization of the network. This makes SON a critical ingredient in any successful large-scale, small cell deployments
The Cisco holistic, centralized SON addresses all the challenges associated with small cell deployments. It optimizes the macro network for seamless integration of the small cells. It also orchestrates the operation of small cells’ dSON features based on macro and small cells RF scenario, quality of experience, and performance. This is done without increasing the operating expenses related to configuration, optimization, and adaption of the network. With its built-in feedback mechanism, it handles the highly dynamic network conditions that characterize small cells densified networks. It is a hybrid solution, connecting equipment of multiple technologies and vendors.