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Grid-locked: How to optimise your network for LTE

Joe Lipscombe | May 23, 2013
Operators are at their wits' end in an attempt to provide their customers with the maximum network resources due to an unprecedented volume of data demand. Mobile apps such as instant messaging, video messaging, picture sharing, social media, and Web-based games are guzzling bandwidth, expanding the demand and adding weight to the operator's job.

Operators are at their wits' end in an attempt to provide their customers with the maximum network resources due to an unprecedented volume of data demand. Mobile apps such as instant messaging, video messaging, picture sharing, social media, and Web-based games are guzzling bandwidth, expanding the demand and adding weight to the operator's job.

"Network optimisation is a comprehensive set of processes and technologies used to enhance customer experience and utilisation," says Saleem AlBalooshi, Executive Vice President, Customer Operations, du.

"They are used at different layers of the network from radio access to transport, core, and IP. The objective of network optimisation is to enhance radio coverage, relieve network congestion, and ensure that customer traffic traverses the network with the least possible latency and delay variation. All of these factors contribute to an optimal customer experience for all customer applications such as voice, video, browsing, and download."

Cisco has predicted that, by the year 2016, there will be 6.6 zettabytes of global data traffic. This exponential growth only adds to the importance of the initial design and optimisation phase of the network.

"Network optimisation is as important as network design itself. This is due to the fact that people are now carrying their office on the mobile gadgets they carry, while at the same time, increasingly using real-time data applications," says Anurag Verma, Telecom Operations and Managed Services Lead, Smartworld.

"Network performance degradation can result in dropped calls, which is the lack of bandwidth causing phones to reduce the audio bandwidth and tardy response times for data downloads. Good customer experience in the use of mobile is critical for the success of an operator. Optimisation leads to efficient use of spectrum and enables better service quality across the network, thereby reducing churn, which is inimical in the mobile industry. In a way, it is an enabler to reduce operating costs for the cellular network and gain market share."

Karl Osswald, General Manager,  Aviat Networks, agrees that reducing churn and cost is crucial.

"Networks cost money, and lots of it. The rising operational costs of mobile networks coupled with revenue pressures faced by mobile operators, mean network optimisation techniques are key in ensuring that operators keep their networks efficient to avoid customer churn," he says.

Both external factors and internal configuration changes or addition of subscribers or traffic can continuously impact the network as well as the customer experience. Fady Younes, Client Director, Cisco, says that these elements weigh heavy on the shoulders of operators in the region.

"Real-time dynamic optimisation is critical as it ensures a high quality of the network, reduced drop calls, and therefore enhanced customer satisfaction, brand image, and reduced churn rate," he explains.

 

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