A network plan is never static, as traffic grows and moves, the network design needs to be tweaked. This could include changing the configuration of existing sites, adding new ones to plug coverage holes, or increase capacity or deploying small cells for increased capacity and in-building coverage.
As new technologies – such as 5G – are adopted, they need to be deployed on top of existing networks. Using as much of the existing network infrastructure as possible by co-siting new cells is the only cost-effective way to deploy a new technology. This requires careful radio and backhaul network planning and dimensioning, especially if the technology layers are to complement each other.
The ASSET Suite is a market leading and comprehensive planning portfolio designed to deliver cost-effective high performance networks.
The products within the ASSET Suite cover radio, backhaul and capacity planning across a wide range of technologies and provide dedicated functionality for Wi-Fi and small cells. Key to their success is the ability to integrate seamlessly into the wider OSS ecosystem. This allows seamless transfer of data to and from 3rd party systems, improving overall planning efficiency and accuracy.
ASSET is a radio network planning tool providing coverage, capacity, cell parameter and neighbor planning. It is a multi-technology tool allowing GSM, UMTS, LTE, 5G and other technologies to be planned in a single project. It can be customized through a range of productivity packs to add additional functionality.
Radio planning is no longer a standalone activity
Due to ever increasing network complexity, radio network design is no longer a standalone business activity. A design tool needs to connect to the wider OSS/BSS eco-system to leverage the vast amounts of valuable data available; ASSET allows seamless and reliable integration to systems that include:
- Site acquisition
- Site rollout
- Configuration management
- Performance management
This data sharing significantly improves radio planning accuracy, business process efficiency and, ultimately, network performance.
Cost-effectively plan the best network
ASSET successfully assists you through the radio planning, deployment and operation stages of your network. With highly accurate coverage predictions you can achieve maximum population coverage and desired network performance with minimum CAPEX, while ensuring all regulatory requirements are met.
Advanced traffic modeling capabilities allow you to plan current and predict future capacity requirements meaning network upgrade plans can be implemented before service degradation affects customers, and only where required. “What-if” scenarios help to plan where to best deploy hardware and how to best use different technologies to meet the data explosion challenge, which is particularly useful for successfully introducing Wi-Fi offloading.
High data capacity technologies such as HSPA, LTE and 5G place far greater demands on backhaul. When deploying these technologies, backhaul becomes a much more significant proportion of the overall network cost. An optimal backhaul design has a significant effect on network performance and CAPEX.
ASSET Backhaul is a wireless backhaul network planning tool providing microwave link planning, path profiling, frequency and interference analysis and routing and capacity optimization. This complete backhaul network planning solution covers all wireless backhaul technologies, including point-to-multipoint, non-line-of-sight and micro and millimeter wave radio support, so is ideal for small cell backhaul planning.
Backhaul is key to a successful overall network plan
Backhaul is increasingly the bottleneck to meeting the expanding data needs of customers – efficient planning is the only way to manage the technical challenges. In addition transmission is becoming a much higher percentage the overall network cost meaning more focus needs to be placed on its planning to keep CAPEX spend in check. Careful transmission planning is key to the performance and cost-effectiveness of an overall network plan.
Small cell networks pose numerous challenges to backhaul design
Small cells, with their high-capacity and typically dense urban deployment locations, provide numerous transmission planning challenges. A successful transmission plan requires a number of technologies from microwave to copper to fiber and some specialized microwave technologies such as point-to-multi-point links, non-line-of-sight links and microwave and millimeter radios.
An engineer needs to be able to use a multitude of wireless backhaul technologies to achieve the best design possible given the numerous constraints imposed. ASSET Backhaul supports all these technologies, allowing engineers to design all aspects of the backhaul network with a single tool.
As customers consume more and more rich media on their phones network capacity requirements increase and capacity across the network becomes less uniform (pockets of high demand appear).
Accurate planning and forecasting cell and link capacity is required to ensure upgrades are implemented before customers notice congestion and poor quality of service. This, coupled with the fact modern sites often consist of at least 3 technologies (typically GSM, UMTS and LTE) served by a mixture of TDM and IP, wireless and wired connections means capacity planning is no longer a simple exercise. 5G will complicate this even further.
ASSET Capacity is an end-to-end network capacity planning tool providing network visualization, capacity management and scenario planning (what-if analysis and forecasting). It enables operators to model and visualize their entire multi-vendor and multi-layer network topology in one place from RAN to Core and Transmission.
Multiple planners can work simultaneously, understanding network connectivity, identifying capacity bottlenecks, and planning the end-to-end network faster and more accurately. Dimension the capacity resources of base stations and controllers as well as their interfaces, to be seamlessly dimensioned based on historical traffic data. ASSET Capacity allows traffic to be routed both automatically and manually as multiple traffic streams per site on the physical layer and on the various logical layers. It also enables quick what-if analysis and powerful scenario planning capabilities to help you identify the best plan to meet forecast network growth.
Plan for traffic growth
Network upgrades, particularly for transmission, have historically been mostly reactive. With networks carrying larger volumes of data, capacity upgrades have become key to network performance and a much higher proportion of network costs. These two factors mean it is important to accurately dimension and route traffic as well as forecast upgrades and ensure they are implemented before the network congests and customer quality of service is affected.
Scenario planning is a key component of dimensioning exercises that allows engineers to investigate various traffic growth scenarios. ASSET Capacity is able to utilize historical performance management traffic data to accurately forecast future traffic and plan accordingly. Accurately forecasting equipment requirements also ensures CAPEX is optimized and helps with budgeting.
Visualize multi-vendor, multi-domain topologies
Many operators still rely on network diagrams and spreadsheets for topology, capacity planning and traffic routing. This approach is slow, error prone and difficult to maintain. It is also very hard to get a detailed view of the entire multi-vendor network.
ASSET Capacity provides a software-based approach that replaces the slow and error-prone network diagram and spreadsheet method, increasing operational efficiency and reducing OPEX. The ability to visualize multi-vendor and multi-domain network topology and routing information in a single place enables engineers to understand the network and validate recommendations provided, or to plan their own.
Automatic Cell Planning
As networks expand and traffic grows and moves, network designs need constant tweaking to ensure continued high performance. It’s a time-consuming and complex process for engineers to regularly re-plan every site to meet changing customer demands. An automated approach is well suited for testing the millions of configuration possibilities, and has proven to provide solutions that perform 20% to 30% better than those done by an engineer. Additionally, when adding a new network technology, knowing where to deploy the first sites and in what order to expand to maximize return on investment is a lengthy and difficult problem.
ASSET Design incorporates a multi-technology, automatic cell planning tool. It leverages demand predictions, along with drive test and geo-location data, to ensure the richest data source is used for optimization at each stage of the network lifecycle, helping to ensure the best results.
ASSET Design combines radio network information with planning objectives, like coverage, capacity and quality, to automatically find the best network design. It complements existing planning and propagation software and tightly integrates with all leading commercial radio network planning tools.
Periodically optimize your multi-technology network plan
Today’s complex networks, with their multiple technologies, multiple bands and multi-function equipment, mean the options for design optimization are endless. ASSET Design’s automated, multi-technology support and its ability to optimize multiple technology layers to meet a single set of network criteria are critical for networks with more than one technology layer.
Seamlessly add a new technology layer
When adding a new technology to an existing network, ASSET Design is able to consider technical (coverage, capacity and quality) objectives as well as budgetary constraints to determine the best design that meets your objectives, maximizing return on investment. ASSET Design identifies not only which sites to add a new technology, such as LTE, to in order to maximize return on investment, but can also prioritize in what order sites should be built.