The effectiveness of a CSPs RAN capacity management program can be a significant differentiator in terms of network quality and profitability. Network traffic continues to grow exponentially. Yet for most CSPs revenue growth is flat or almost flat. To maintain profit margins requires CAPEX spent on network capacity upgrades to be aligned with revenues and not traffic.
Around 25% of capacity is underutilized
In a recent strategy report, Analysys Mason highlighted a further issue: “Around 25% of the capacity of most operators is underutilized at any one time, which is very costly.” They identified a lack of planning and optimization agility, uncertainty about required capacity and difficulty moving capacity around as key causes of this. Yet even with 25% of excess capacity in the network, pockets of serious congestion still exist and these damage subscriber experience.
A predictive analytics approach is required
All this points to the fact that traditional capacity management approaches are no longer good enough, a new predictive analytics approach is required.
Our approach is based on a combination of subject matter experts and our ASSET Capacity tool. Using rich data inputs, advanced forecasting algorithms, network optimization expertise and automated ‘what-if’ analysis we deliver significantly more accurate capacity dimensioning. This helps identify network bottlenecks and resolve them, optimize network resource utilization and expand your network intelligently to cater for growth.
RAN capacity management – how we do it
We optimize RAN capacity across 3 distinct time periods addressing the short, medium and long-term needs of the network:
- 0-3 months: Bottlenecks are identified and resolved with parameter optimization, load balancing, equipment features and extra licenses.
- 3-12 months: Network expansion requirements to cater for growth are determined, including adding hardware, carriers, sites and rehoming if necessary.
- 1-5 years: Long term strategic planning is undertaken. This is a vitally important step to ensure your network maintains its competitiveness and considers aspects such as spectrum refarming, small cell deployments, new architectures, new technologies even network sharing.
Irrespective of how good it looks on paper, the value of any approach needs to be validated in the field. We trialed our approach against the traditional methods of two of our long time customers and these were the results:
Case Study 1: Annual 3G capacity expansion for an 8000 cell network.
Leveraging rich data inputs, the advanced forecasting algorithms and automated optimization within ASSET Capacity we were able to reduce the existing network overloading by 64% in the first 3 months with only tilt and parameter changes. To cater for the next 12 months of growth our solution resulted in a network expansion budget with 30% fewer new sites required and a 10% saving in the overall annual upgrade budget.
Case Study 2: Annual 2G/3G capacity expansion for a major metro region (1370 sites)
For this case study short-term optimization was not in scope. However our ASSET Capacity based approach was used to determine the expansion requirements for the next 12 months. The result was a solution with 30% fewer BTS upgrades and 39% fewer NodeB upgrades than the operator’s traditional approach. At the end of the year in question analysis showed that our traffic prediction ended up being 8% above the actual versus 35% above actual for the operator’s prediction.
To learn more about ASSET Capacity, visit our ASSET Capacity webpage. To learn more about how we can help you with your RAN capacity management please contact us.