Optimising the performance of mobile telecommunications networks by sso10360


									         Collaborative Research and Development: Information and communications technology

         Optimising the performance
         of mobile telecommunications
         By researching the potential of enabling mobile telecommunications
         networks to measure and react to changing traffic patterns in real time,
         a consortium led by Multiple Access Communications (MAC) Ltd is
         seeking a streamlined and efficient network optimisation solution to
         replace the existing slow and labour-intensive techniques. The team
         believes that this will allow network operators in future to provide better
         services at a reduced cost.

Key benefits                                                 availability of network services for users,
                                                             maximising the number of people who can use
•   creating a faster and more efficient optimisation        them at any one time. It also enables network
    model to deliver substantial performance                 operators to minimise the instances of dropped
    improvement in 3G mobile networks                        and blocked calls (network access being denied),
•   automating network optimisation for reduced costs        key indicators against which they measure their
•   delivering commercial opportunities by enabling          performance.
    network operators to meet their key performance
    indicators more easily                                   Before the introduction of 3G, the process
                                                             involved was significantly more straightforward
                                                             and predictable than it is today. Then, the great
         The Third Generation (3G) mobile networks,          majority of calls were voice-only and peaks in
         capable of carrying heavy loads of data including   user traffic were largely restricted to well-defined
         video and other intensive media, are highly         times during the day.
         complex and sophisticated installations. Based
         on a range of parameters programmed into the        Now the picture is very different. Not only are
         networks that control the processes involved,       new media-based services significantly more
         optimisation enables the better quality and         data-intensive, including video calls, downloads
                                                             and streaming, but user patterns too are more
                                                             fluid and less predictable. After all, there is no
                                                             set time of day when a user is more likely to
                                                             download a movie clip than any other. Another
                                                             of the challenges faced by operators is managing
                                                             the seamless ‘handover’ of services from one
                                                             base station to the next. This needs to happen
                                                             both as the service user moves and as peaks in
                                                             network traffic require calls to be transferred from
                                                             a fully loaded base station to an under-utilised
                                                             one. The need is therefore emerging for more
                                                             rapid and responsive reconfiguration than is
                                                             possible with existing ‘manual’ network
                                                             management techniques.

                                                             Southampton-based MAC Ltd created a
                                                             consortium to run the Mobile Network
                                                             Optimisation through Advanced Simulation
project. Launched in December 2005, this £1.06-         liaison with key stakeholders, including network
million, two-year project is part-funded by the         operators and equipment vendors. The next stage
government under the Technology Programme.              will be to research these areas in very fine detail,
The project aims to research the potential              particularly with a view to managing the risk
of creating self-analytical networks that can           involved in changing network parameters without
automatically reconfigure themselves in near            human intervention.
real time to optimise traffic flows, through
sophisticated simulation models.                        Results

MAC Ltd is leading the project in partnership           According to project leader Peter Gould, Technical
with Vodafone Group Services Ltd and Nortel.            Director of MAC Ltd, the early days have run
                                                        smoothly with a successful outcome at the end
Objectives                                              of the first quarter. “We have managed to define
                                                        the areas on which we should focus most
The project will allow the assessment of a                     ”
                                                        closely, he says.
number of ‘what if’ scenarios, based on changes
that take place in a mobile network from hour-to-       “Ultimately, the challenge will be to undertake a
hour or even minute-to-minute. This is a significant    trial in a real network situation, but in establishing
departure from current processes that rely on           that there is a clear need for new network
historic performance to assess likely changes, and      optimisation processes in a 3G environment,
will allow an immediate response to actual events.      we are already confident that the work has
                                                        substantial commercial potential.   ”
The networks resulting from this work will
therefore require less drive-testing and optimisation
effort, ultimately reducing the cost of network
management to allow lower-cost, higher quality
mobile services.

Solutions                                                Project contacts

To date, the project team has concentrated on            Peter Gould
identifying the areas of greatest likely return to       Technical Director
ensure a pragmatic, commercially driven focus.           MAC Ltd
This has involved much communication and                 Delta House
                                                         Chilworth Science Park
                                                         Hampshire SO16 7NS

                                                         Tel: 02380 767808
                                                         Email: peter.gould@macltd.com

                                                         Collaborative Research & Development

                                                         Collaborative Research & Development is
                                                         one of two business support solutions within
                                                         the Technology Programme, the other being
                                                         Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs). Its
                                                         primary objective is to enable the industry and
                                                         research communities to work together in
                                                         strategically important areas of science,
                                                         engineering and technology in order to develop
                                                         successful new products, processes and
                                                         services. It also enables the latest thinking and
                                                         understanding to flow between universities,
                                                         other research centres and business.


                                                         URN 06/1116

To top