With the introduction of LTE and small cells, the mobile backhaul challenges have multiplied. Number of mobile backhaul links is expected to increase dramatically due to the corresponding cells increase.
Reduction of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile backhaul is essential to enable the successful establishment of the various technologies. This reduction can be realized, providing new methods and tools that could dramatically simplify procedures and time constraints. The Self Organized Networks (SON) concept can be applied on mobile backhaul and together with smart devices (smart phones, tablets) it can achieve the goals of simplification, automation, as well as cost reduction.
Is SON really important in the mobile backhaul?
The answer is yes.
Self Configuration is the basic building block of SON that requires integration of the traditional Network Management System (NMS) with RF planning tools, in order to achieve:
• Pre-planning of network and services.
• Automatic discovery of the network.
• Automatic software update of devices.
• Automatic configuration of the network.
• Automatic provisioning of services.
Self-Optimization is the second building block of SON, which can be implemented when KPIs and thresholds are defined and monitored based on the planning and collected data. With Self-Optimization, the following capabilities are enabled regarding the wireless mobile backhaul:
• Pre-launch optimization to deliver a carrier-grade network through link connectivity fine-tuning and RF plan revisions.
• Continuous radio quality monitoring for interference, in case of wireless backhaul
• Correlation of radio performance with weather data to identify rain fading.
• Misalignment identification and correction.
• LOS condition monitoring to propose re-location of equipment if needed.
• Automatic testing to enable fine-tuning of radio parameters.
• Power consumption optimization and reduction through identification of idle hours.
Summarizing the benefits of applying SON on mobile backhaul:
Are the vendors there yet? There are only few vendors that have already implemented SON mobile backhaul solutions commercially such as Ericsson,Tellabs and Intracom Telecom.
Are operators interested into SON for Backhaul? The answer is yes, but it has to be proven through specific business cases and trials that the benefits are measurable and quantifiable.