053_EETE

EETE APRIL 2013

Publisher André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 153907865 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Nick Flaherty +44 7710236368 nick.flaherty@eetimes.be Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Acounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html european business press European Business Press SA 7 Avenue Reine Astrid 1310 La Hulpe Tel: +32 (0)2 740 00 50 Fax: +32 (0)2 740 00 59 www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437 RPM: Brussels Company Number: 0461357437 © 2013 E.B.P. SA ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2013 by European Business Press SA, 7 Avenue Reine Astrid, 1310 La Hulpe, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. RPM: Nivelles. Volume 15, Issue 4 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe Copyright 2013 by European Business Press SA. All rights reserved. P 304128 Bringing greater Quality-of- Service to small cells By Jon Pelson Mobile devices are wreaking havoc on networks. Computing power and capabilities once possible only through large desktop CPUs have crept into consumers’ pockets. Smartphones and tablets, and their data-rich applications, are driving the surge in today’s data demands and have forced service providers to rethink mobile infrastructures that for years had worked fine. Thanks to innovations like small cells, low-profile nodes that live just about anywhere at the edge of a network, and WiFi-offloading strategies, large carriers now have a way to alleviate the pressure of their core networks. Small cells have come a long way in recent years. Initially used to expand the coverage of mobile networks in remote locations, small cells are now being utilized by service providers to alleviate network congestion in busy urban areas caused by ever increasing consumer data demands. Of note, in highdensity cities, some studies “Throwing more nodes into the network fundamentally changes how operators must ensure their system is running according to indicate that 20% of the cell towers handle 80% of the mobile traffic, reducing network performance for the end user. But, as it is said, with great power comes great responsibility. Throwing more nodes into the network fundamentally changes how operators must ensure their system is running according to plan and consumers are receiving the services for which they’ve paid. A carrier needs visibility into what’s going on with the new cells, which are being deployed in huge numbers at the edge of their networks. Doing this while keeping costs down and performance high will prove a challenge for mobile carriers in coming months and years. There are several ways to achieve this. Operators can get the most out of small cell deployments through the surgical placement of small cells and mastering the interaction between the small cells and the traditional macro network. In addition, small cell site locations must be determined based on actual, localized data traffic demand. Geo-locating customer experience is also key to reveal data hot spots and customer experience black holes to intelligently drive the process of planning small cells and data offload solutions. Efficient planning leads directly to a significant improvement in customer experience, and return on capital investment. Small cells cost a fraction of what macro cells cost, providing the opportunity to scatter many more of these systems. But because there can be so many of them, deployed so widely, testing their effectiveness becomes a cost problem. It’s expensive to send out a field technician in a truck to troubleshoot each cell when there’s a problem, so remote testing plan” strategies will not only make things easier, they’ll become a crucial part of small cell engineering. Software-Defined Networking, which shifts the brains of networking to central software systems from hardware, will also become more prominent for carriers as they work to reduce complexity and increase agility. To dive deeper than the typical “green light means good; red light means bad,” providers must leverage new technologies to quickly and cost effectively solve more complicated service issues and keep customers happy. Since testing is becoming more software-based and allows providers to see much deeper into networks, content-aware testing is the next logical step. Location-based network awareness, which can give service providers a view of their networks down to the individual user, is also becoming more prominent. Jon Pelson is mobile segment lead at JDSU – www.jdsu.com 52 Electronic Engineering Times Europe April 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE APRIL 2013
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