The number of 4G (LTE) network deployments is steadily increasing. In January, Korea Telecom announced the launch of its LTE network, hot on the heels of in-country rivals SK Telecom. A similar pattern is emerging in other markets, as one operator launches LTE another follows suit. However, LTE is breaking new ground and operators have limited historical references to measure the performance of their new data-focused networks against.
The transformation to LTE will require a complete network overhaul. According to Infonetics research, the spend on network improvements will top $250 billion over the next five years (2011-2015); while LTE spend alone will be 46% on a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the same period. Carriers are investing heavily in network infrastructure to find the most efficient and cost-effective solutions for upgrading their networks.
LTE represents an enormous opportunity for the operators, but the network will need constant adjustment to ensure it performs at an optimum level. Apart from network equipment and upgrades to core infrastructure, operators require a reliable, and accurate, network visualization and optimization application that will enable them to refine their LTE proposition.
This is the view of Warren Dumanski, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Newfield Wireless. According to Dumanski, carriers are operating ‘in the dark’ when it comes to LTE, simply because there are limited precedents for how to maximise the output of a wireless data network of this magnitude.
“Internally questions are being asked by RF and network performance engineers about coverage, traffic patterns and data throughput,” says Dumanski. “To find the answers to these questions, and have visibility of the data rates their subscribers are actually experiencing, operators can adopt ‘network visualisation applications’ developed specifically for LTE. By adopting next-generation visualisation and optimisation technology operators will have the means to understand the performance of their LTE network in real time.
“They will be able to pinpoint where throughput rates are good, and in some cases bad, and then have the ability to optimise the level of data throughput for subscribers no matter what their status, or location. Operators will be able to measure the impact of new devices on their network, evaluating how different devices are behaving and if certain devices are causing issues. This level of granular network intelligence is powerful information for engineering, marketing, customer care and other disciplines within a wireless operator,” added Dumanski.