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Effective network deployment improves cross-organisational productivity

European Communications Engineering (ECE) specialises in mobile network design and has worked with customers in more than 50 countries over the past 10 years. ECE has recently developed a unique planning and optimisation tool for assisting operators with their network deployment and maintenance processes. Known as eEPOS, it can help enhance customer service, reporting, and technical planning.
European Communications Engineering Ltd.

The evolution of wireless systems has seen technologies such as GSM, D-AM PS, PHS – P, and CdmaOne, followed by enhanced third-generation systems, such as WCDMA and HSPA, in which speech services are paralleled with multimedia-oriented services relying on QoS management for service assurance.

Single-technology solutions have been replaced by a melting pot, in which technologies from different generations co-exist and evolve. This offers enormous potential for both service providers and system vendors, and will also drive the evolution of next-generation standards, such as TD-SCDMA , and standards targeting even higher data rates, such as LTE.

New tools such as ECE’s eEPOS will help operators enhance their customer service, reporting, and technical planning.

Challenging deployments

The development of technologies beyond thirdgeneration solutions should provide the platform necessary for more successful service differentiation. With increasingly higher data rates, the scene is set for providers to offer services that can really compete with those of traditional Internet providers.

To succeed, however, providers will have to be able to guarantee the quality of their offering, and leverage the merger of traditional circuit-switched services with packet switching. The importance of different planning strategies for different services and combinations of services cannot be overemphasised. It will also be vital to understand the increase in complexity that future technologies pose for base station architecture, and which will call for changes to modulation implementation, base station interface architecture, and radio resource management algorithms.

To address the challenges of future technology deployment, carriers will need to assess their current radio network topology and service structure, and define performance targets in areas such as average user and cell throughput, soft handover overhead, radio environment impact, cell isolation, and signal to interference ratio.

They will also need to define their optimum network topology and service priority strategies, bearing in mind the realities of radio resource management limitations. Measurable performance metrics will have to be defined if verification and monitoring are to be managed successfully.

True mobile access

The trend towards new mobile services accessed via the Internet opens up exciting opportunities to enhance and improve company processes in areas such as cross-organisational communication and information-sharing in ways that were simply not possible earlier. Successful utilisation of the Internet, particularly through things like emerging Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, will allow service providers to achieve greater cost efficiency and reduce their operational costs, while still maintaining overall
quality.

Wider Internet access through enhanced wireless standards will enable technical data to be made available to sales and marketing and customer care personnel, and bring direct cost savings through enhanced communication on areas such as coverage maps and future site implementations. Mobile access to network plans for implementation teams,
for example, will save time and reduce human error significantly when reports can be logged electronically immediately integration is completed. In the case of large geographical areas or multinational operators, virtual teams will become much more of a possibility as well.

A deeper understanding of current and future wireless provisions standards, combined with the growing potential of SaaS solutions, will provide service providers with the ingredients necessary to further boost and secure their future competitiveness.

Systematic evaluation and planning are essential to deployment success.

Global competence

ECE offers customers a comprehensive framework for network planning, from dimensioning through detailed planning to final optimisation, taking account of the challenges not only of the air interface but also the impact on network transmission.

The modularity of ECE’s offering means that the company’s expertise can be applied to any wireless technology and can facilitate the integration of all the components needed for successful network planning.

> Hans Ahnlund
(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)