–A Future Oriented, Cost-Efficient, High Value, Single Coexistent Radio Access Network Solution for Operators Worldwide
As long ago as 2004, based on exceptional experience with leading technologies (CDMA, UMTS, GSM etc), Huawei preempted what is now a growing need for coexistent technology platforms and pioneered R&D.
In turn, this vision and dedication became expressed through development of Huawei’s 4th. Generation BTS, and led directly to the 2009 successes of Huawei’s entailed SingleRAN solution.
Huawei is the only manufacturer that has deployed the latest-generation base station on a large scale. Its SingleRAN solution, which is based on its 4th generation base station platform, supports network multi-mode convergence and evolution while reducing total costs of ownership for operators.
With Huawei’s SingleRAN, one small base station supports two or more technologies. Intelligent networking is supported by one operating system, power demands are reduced, TCO and human resources requirements are reduced, and efficiency is enhanced.
SingleEPC leading the way to a smart network
An overview of the MBB market
A global study of MBB has shown that more than 350 HSPA networks were launched by 2010, and more than 95% of the population in many countries and regions now have access to high-speed mobile data services. In some countries, 4G LTE networks have been launched offering wireless data at speeds of up to 100Mbps. The evolution of networks has enhanced the MBB user experience, and led to the number of subscribers increasing dramatically. According to research firm Informa, the number of MBB subscribers reached 574 million in 2009, and will reach 3.47 billion in 2015, increasing the proportion of MBB users among global subscribers from 12.3% to 51.6%. In early 2010, global data traffic on mobile networks surpassed voice traffic for the first time.
With the launch of the iPhone 4 in June 2010, smartphone sales hit new highs, jumping more than 50% in one year. The shipment of smartphones reached more than 61.6 million units in the second quarter of 2010, and will only continue to increase.
Challenges to the MBB Network
However, the fast-developing MBB network faces numerous challenges. Unprecedented levels of data traffic, the impact of smartphone behavior, low efficiency of bandwidth utilization，and poor user experience threaten to hinder the deployment of MBB.
The use of smartphones and other portable broadband devices has led to a surge in demand for bandwidth, leading to an explosion of data traffic burst. Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, mobile data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network has increased by about 50 times over the past three years. The average data traffic consumption per month for users of mobile devices is forecast to skyrocket. How can networks prepare for this?
Apart from boosting mobile data traffic, the prevalence of smartphones also is also having a serious impact on signaling networks. The smartphone’s behavior, including the fast dormancy and the service heartbeat mechanism, has rapidly increased the signaling load of networks. According to a European operator, 8% of smartphone users were responsible for more than 55% of the signaling load on the network. How can networks cope with the smartphone’s signaling impact?
Also, the distribution of network resources among users is far from balanced. After flat rates were introduced by most operators, a small hard-core minority of users have been using up more than 90% of total traffic, by running bandwidth-exhausting applications like P2P downloads that take up more than 60% of the bandwidth. They are using up bandwidth rapidly and thus skewing the distribution of networks. How can networks cope with bandwidth demands and optimize utilization levels in this case?
The quality of experience when it comes to the mobile Internet still needs to be improved. A recent study found that the satisfaction rate of mobile browsing is 14% lower than fixed-line browsing, due to factors such as slower loading of web pages and the time it takes to download flash media. How can networks enhance user experience?
1) SingleRAN consists of multiple notable”firsts” all of which have been designed to provide operators with ultimate flexibility to improve existing legacy networks while at the same time positioning for a mobile broadband future.
3)Not only capable of operating across a wide range of frequency bands, SingleRAN can also be smoothly upgraded (GSM/UMTS/LTE) with a software only requirement.
4)Advanced Power Amplification Efficiency
5)SingleRAN operates from the industry’s highest efficiency power amplifier: At 45%, Huawei’s SingleRAN exceeds conventional industry efficiency by 15%.
6)Enhanced End User Experiences
7)More reliable service, fewer dropped calls, richer services, fast introduction of new technologies with re la teed applications.
8)2×2 MIMO with only one module: In place of two traditional RF modules,
9)SingleRAN has two transmission channels supporting 2×2 MIMO in a single module.
10)Unique Advantages of Unification
11)Co-feeder & Antenna: SingleRAN enables GSM and UMTS networks via the same antenna and feeder systems.
12)Pioneering the Advantages of Co-Transmission: SingleRAN was the first to afford GSM, UMTS, LTE co-transmission: With Huawei’s SingleRAN, transmission sharing is achievable within the system and allows future service convergence.
13)One Operating System: Allows for Centralized Operation & Maintenance of all technologies.
14)Provides a Unified Platform for Network Construction.
Combines 2G/3G Network Planning, Performance Evaluation, Troubleshooting.
15)Simplfies Network Architecture reduces personnel needs, power demands, and space requirement creates OPEX savings
16)Smart solutions for MBB networks
Considering the challenges faced by MBB networks, operators should focus on implementing scalable, flexible, and smart networks. Huawei’s SingleEPC solution can ensure the transition from a traditional network to a smart MBB network by implementing a series of smart solutions. It analyzes the network, services and smartphone usage to see what’s inside the pipe, makes flexible policies and rules to optimize bandwidth utilization, improves QoE for mobile Internet services, bypasses low-value services with flexible traffic offloading and provides differentiated charging plans to attract and retain customers.
SmartCare to visualize the network
The traditional broadband operation model treats the network as a dumb pipe. But for a mobile broadband network, with the limitations to its spectrum resources, and the expensive cost of wireless access per bit, the operator should employ a differentiated operation model. This requires the network to have a visualization capability, allowing the operator to know what applications, kinds of subscribers and devices are being used on the network. The SmartCare solution helps operators visualize the MBB service based on application, protocols, subscriber characteristics, locations and terminal types. The SmartCare solution analyzes everything from the network level to detailed user behavior, and even lists the top websites, top servers and top applications according to traffic volume and number of visits.
SmartCare also helps operators improve IP network O&M capability, quickly locating and performing troubleshooting of the IP-based network. The report of SmartCare solution is then used in network planning, offering the planner detailed and accurate network information. The visualization of the MBB network is the first step towards implementing a smart MBB network. It enables operators to have a better understanding of services, and set proper policy and rules to manage the bandwidth; it also assists the operator in business analysis and accurate network planning.
Smart Bandwidth Management
As a result of the abuse of bandwidth by a small minority of users, who utilize bandwidth-exhaustive applications like P2P downloading, broadband traffic can affect the network adversely. This forces operators to skew the distribution of bandwidth, and ultimately make investments to ensure that network quality doesn’t suffer.
The Smart Bandwidth Management solution, based on the PCC architecture system, has flexible bandwidth control policies and rules. Through this, Huawei provides more than 12 bandwidth optimization solutions using application/user/quota/terminal/location/time-based policies, like FUP solution, VIP solution, Low-value Service Management and Background Service Management, etc.
The FUP solution helps prevent bandwidth abuse by using a fair usage policy. It restricts access of heavy users according to their accumulated usage of data traffic.
The Low-value Service Management restricts allocation of bandwidth to low-value services, like P2P download applications, and helps reduce low-value service traffic in order to release more resources for high-value services.
The bandwidth management is the key solution for smart MBB networks, as it enables operator to improve network efficiency and enhance end user experience. In Singapore, operator M selected the Low-value Service Management solution to restrict P2P downloading and released almost 600Mbps of bandwidth for other applications.
The smartphone has different behavior compared to feature phones. The smartphone frequently changes state between “idle” and “connected”, its fast dormancy feature forces the terminal to switch to an “idle” state every six to eight seconds in order to save battery power, and the service heartbeat mechanism periodically communicates with the application server. According to signaling statistics of operator S in Singapore, one smartphone creates 14 times the signaling load of a feature phone.
The Smartphone Optimization focuses on the signaling load impact, optimizes the cell-PCH to reduce the frequent changing of user state by the fast dormancy feature, and therefore reduces the signaling load per user. And Huawei’s leading PS products support high-level signaling capacity to maximize network capability to deal with the smartphone’s signaling load impact.
Optimization of resources to cope with the impact of the smartphone enables the operator to cash in on the rapid growth of smartphones, and therefore enhance the mobile broadband experience for customers using these devices.
Smart Content Delivery
The most common mobile Internet activity is web browsing, and about 80% of web browsing involves frequently visited locations like news websites or application stores. Among end users, the majority of complaints relate to the time web pages take to open, and flash media takes to download.
The Smart Content Delivery, using local cache delivery in the Gi interface, reduces the time needed to open web pages and saves the bandwidth required to access the Internet backbone. The local cache delivery improves the web browsing speed, thus reducing the round-trip time of service. The local cache delivery also saves on the bandwidth for Internet access by about 30 to 40% for HTTP web or downloads, about by 50 to 60% for flash and streaming services.
Content delivery is the key issue when it comes to improving the end user experience. It enables operator to focus on customer care and delivering an improved mobile Web experience to attract and retain customers.
Smart Traffic Offload
According to statistics, 90-95% of mobile data traffic is generated indoors, not on the move. The majority of mobile data usage is from dongles on PCs and most is Internet-related traffic. For this type of simple stationary traffic, some offload technology should be selected to deal with low-quality/high-volume traffic and reduce the total cost of the system.
The Smart Traffic Offload solution seeks a flexible rule to offload less valuable traffic as much as possible. Huawei provides a Wi-Fi Offload solution for hotspots and indoor coverage traffic offload, which helps operators select Wi-Fi access to offload low-value internet traffic directly and choose TTG/PDG for authentication and service control. For optimizing traffic routing on the core network, Huawei Lu-offload solution uses intelligent local GGSN to help operators select a local GGSN to bypass the traffic in SGSN and directly access the Internet locally.
The traffic offload optimizes the MBB network architecture. It enables operators to save the cost of throughput per bit and improve the end user experience. In China, operator C selected the Wi-Fi offload solution as a component of its 3G network.
Smart Charging Management
The fast growth of the mobile Internet has resulted in diversified services and complex charging requirements. The traditional duration or volume based charging model no longer works for the different services provided on the mobile Internet. End users also want to know their consumption details and real-time bills.
The Smart Charging Management solution, based on the standard PCC architecture, supports diameter interface to online charging system. It introduces a flexible charging model based on customer, traffic, time and content. The Advice of Charging solution sends the end users detailed consumption records and real-time bills; The Bill Shock Avoidance solution prevents the huge roaming data bills.
The charging management enables operators to have differentiated tariff plans to attract users, and a real-time control mechanism to avoid bill shock. In Russia, operator M selected the Charging Management solution and implemented different charging policies according to customer contracts and service attributes, which enhances its mobile data revenue by 20%.
SingleEPC in a nutshell
Huawei SingleEPC is the total solution for the MBB core network, helping operators implement a smart, broadband and convergent network. In Huawei’s SingleEPC solution, the network visualization gives the operator an “eye” to see inside the pipe, the PCC architecture gives the operator a “brain” to make flexible policies and rules, and the smart solutions are the “body” to execute the policies and charging rules, manage bandwidth, optimize traffic and enhance user experience.
Next generation Home Location Register- ngHLR
Details on HLR function. It stores subscriber information as a service profile, like what services are provisioned to any individual subscriber. In the case of mobile users, it retains information about user location who can be roaming anywhere in the world. HLR also plays a basic role in setting up a call to users, so you can imagine the significance of this network element. If this goes out of service, all subscribers whose data is in HLR will not be able to receive the calls.
Having a Core Network design background, Huawei’s ngHLR or how we call it USC (Unified Subscriber Centre) has really fascinated me. Traditionally HLR used to support from hundreds of thousands to few millions subscribers, and physically comprising of 6 to 8 standards telecomm cabinets. Till few years back operators who had large numbers of subscribers like over 15 millions and some reaching 30 to 40 Millions in ME and especially in Pakistan, had to spend large amounts of CAPEX and OPEX to maintain their subscribers’ data. This included large footprints, high electric and cooling costs, not to mention the cost of system upgrades to support new services and keep operations and maintenance. Whereas Huawei’s ngHLR can support 100 million active subscribers and 200m static subscribers consisting of only two cabinets and covering few square meters of footprint. It offers 100% resilience at many levels, from board to network element level, offering even geo redundancy. For example you can place two identical nodes geographically separated while working as a back-up to each other. We have implemented this solution around the world and have saved operational costs and increased revenue, which were lost due to HLR failures. For example one of the major operators in United Kingdom lost HLR function for 4 hours in 2009 loosing 10s of millions of dollars in revenue.
Huawei’s ngHLR is based on future oriented ATCA (Advanced Telecomm Computing Architecture) standard which is a widely accepted standard for next generation hardware. This gives freedom to software development and adaptation to new services thus securing operators investment for much longer period and reducing service interruptions caused by upgrades and amendments in the HLR nodes. It supports features like high capacity and resilience, multilevel data back-up, distributed structure allowing multiple functional entities, Virtual HLR function which allows HLR to be divided into several logical HLRS giving operators more flexibility to configure their networks, separate data and service processing, smooth data convergence allowing various types of services convergence, standard and open data access interfaces and MNP (Mobile Number portability), the list goes on and on. I hope that was detailed enough for our corporate readers!
All the information are taken from huawei’s website and is only appropriate to reproduce for academic purposes. Hopefully students will find this information useful and care to explore huawei’s website which has more information to share.