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Managing HetNets: Strategies for heterogeneous networks
TM Forum, June 2012, Pages: 25
Mobile broadband demand is growing at a tremendous rate, buoyed by the rise of smartphones and vast application developer communities. Cautious estimates predict a 20 to 30-fold increase in network traffic over the next five years, far greater than the two to four times capacity improvements that communications service providers can expect from new spectrum resources and advanced technologies like long-term evolution (LTE).
Delivering cost-effective mobile broadband services while facing this extraordinary traffic growth, means service providers must evolve their network architectures and associated operational models. Network designs, operators and their technology vendors are turning to heterogeneous network (hetnet) architectures to address the capacity crunch.
Inside this report, we probe and research the following ideas and issues:
- Service providers are coming under increasing pressure to embrace small cells and Wi-Fi network traffic offload strategies. This will place tremendous strain on them to transform legacy network design and management philosophies, and embrace automation and real-time radio network optimization.
- Hetnet architectures are being standardized by the mobile industry to address the future proliferation of small cells. We include a look at how TM Forum members are developing the Information Framework element of the Forum’s Frameworx suite of standards to facilitate this.
- As hetnets are introduced into the market and the idea of fully-fledged solutions becomes a reality, what are the challenges service providers must deal with?
- When the necessary self-organizing network (SON) capabilities become available, what will the adoption process look like?
- As Wi-Fi enabled devices become more widely available, the proportion of mobile broadband traffic carried over Wi-Fi is increasing at an astonishing rate and is set to be very much larger than the amount of traffic carried over the mobile broadband networks. What are the different approaches to optimization and management of hetnet architectures?
The issues covered in this report are big and important. They could slow down the progress of hetnets and fail to deliver their full potential in helping service providers address the capacity crunch. Certainly the development of standards, whether in a TM Forum Framework or otherwise, seems a crucial element. In conclusion, we ask whether hetnet performance enhancements are enough to satisfy the insatiable market appetite for mobile data services.
This report is free to TM Forum members.
Facing the capacity crunch
Heterogeneous networks bring a new paradigm to small cells
The importance of self-organizing networks
Wi-Fi is a critical weapon in the mobile armory
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