Self-Optimisation & self-ConfiguRATion in wirelEss networkS

Expected Gains from Self-Organisation

The key gains from employing self-organisation in wireless access networks are in the form of operational expenditure (OPEX) reductions and performance enhancements.

OPEX reductions

Reductions in OPEX are expected by reducing human involvement in the areas of drive testing, network planning, monitoring and optimisation:

• Reduction of drive testing - Drive tests are currently performed to check the performance of the network. This labour-intensive task can be replaced by measurements from user terminals and base stations. Using measurements from user terminals also has the advantage that measurements are obtained from additional locations, such as inside buildings.

• Reduction of manual effort in planning - For a large number of cells, the manual effort in setting configuration parameters is significant, and this effort will be reduced by self-organisation.

• Reduction of manual effort for network monitoring and optimisation - If a network is not performing as expected, considerable manual effort is required to identify the problem. Self-organisation will reduce this effort.

• Simplified deployment of femto-cells - Research has shown that large-scale deployment of femto-cells results in cost savings of up to € 128 million per year, due to reduced spending on macro-cell networks (based on an operator with 15 million customers). However, the same report also indicates that there are still issues to be resolved regarding integration with the macro network – issues which can be solved by self-organisation.

Performance enhancements

Self-organisation features also enhance network performance and experienced service quality by better adapting to specific characteristics and requirements. Some key improvements to be expected are in the following areas:

• Many services require a high bandwidth, and to provide this to a large number of users requires highly optimised networks. Self-organisation will make this a reality.

• Traditionally, it has been difficult for network operators to provide good coverage and high data throughput in indoor locations such as home and offices. Self-configuration means that end-users will be able to install their own base stations in these locations (femto-cells), without any manual support from an operator or vendor. The resulting improvements in coverage and capacity will be beneficial to both operators and customers.

• By using self-organisation, the process of rolling out new base stations and technological features is simpler, as less manual configuration is required. This will speed up network roll-out/upgrades, while still ensuring network reliability.