3 Keys to Transforming Mobile Network Optimization

By: Bernard Breton

To mobile users, the rollout of next-generation networks has meant a drastic improvement in the performance of mobile services. As of September, 2014, 373 million people have discovered the benefits of high-speed LTE connections, and for each one of these users, turning back to a network standard 3G or lower probably seems unfathomable.

Behind the scenes, this technology evolution has produced an equivalent rise in customers’ performance expectations, and pushed mobile operators to redouble their efforts to deliver around-the-clock, consistently high quality of service (QoS). Anything less has come to be seen as simply unacceptable to subscribers.

The problem that mobile operators now face with this "new normal" is that subscribers now expect to consume even the most data-intensive content, like videos, without delay. Yet, delivery of this heavier content exhausts more network capacity, making it difficult for mobile operators to promise consistent service performance to all subscribers, at all times. The fact that video traffic will account for 79 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2018 means that this is more than just a short-term challenge.

How can mobile operators keep QoS consistent and deliver an optimal quality of experience (QoE) to their customers, while minimizing OPEX and CAPEX for these new networks? Given that 4G/LTE networks are still being deployed, there is an opportunity for mobile operators to get it right the first time – all it takes is a careful transformation of their mobile network performance and network optimization processes, beginning with the inclusion of three best practices.

1. Centralize mobile network performance information

Since the introduction of service assurance, mobile operators have required highly-detailed network performance and usage reports, as well as enhanced network visualization tools, to provide them with the data they need to understand and optimize the customer experience. This wasn't a problem when end users all worked off the same technologies and vendor networks – mobile operators could easily measure performance and processes, spot service problems, and address them quickly.

But today’s network landscape spans increasingly complex, dynamic networks that include 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE technology. There’s also the exponential data traffic growth driven by new connected devices beyond smartphones and tablets.

The continued application of this form of network performance management would mean mobile operators having to sift through data from multiple, siloed sources to fix performance issues, which could be an inefficient process, especially for complex, multi-technology and multi-vendor environments. It’s now much harder to put these puzzle pieces together.

Instead, mobile operators now require a centralized dashboard that can intelligently sort, post-process and analyze complex mobile network performance data source, such as call trace and drive test data. This will allow mobile network optimization engineers to see all network activities over a specific period of time, and efficiently discover and visualize which individual subscribers are being affected by any recurring network issues, as well as where they’re located. Engineers can thus focus on first solving the network problems that subscribers are most impacted by, before it affects customers’ satisfaction levels and the operator’s business.


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