Get your frequency right and the budget stays tight
Accurate RAN Planning Saves Billions says the title of a new report compiled by analyst Mobile Expert (ME), which claims that modelling a 5G RAN (radio access network) could save a mobile network operator $2 billion in 10 years. The savings come from predicting the RSRP (reference signal received power) at each location getting more accuracy, an improvement that is made using sophisticated 3D modelling. According to ME’s figures, raising the precision of mapping by just one decibel (dB) in the RSRP calculations can bring a spectral efficiency dividend of roughly 0.4 bps/Hz overall. Presumably if this is extrapolated, with the same numbers of radios and the same antennas, this is the equivalent of a 24% increase of overall capacity.
No network engineers or RAN experts were available to comment on these extrapolations for infrastructure efficiencies, or whether the savings would indeed be worth £2 billion over ten years. Ten years is a long time in the mobile comm industry. Infovista and ME claimed that the improvement in the allocation network resources could obviate the need for building thousands of 5G-NR (new radio) base stations. The improvements, according to an Infovista release, are within the gift of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) based RAN planning and design optimisation gains.
These efficiency gains are so great they drastically cut number of base stations needed to build a good network without affecting the user experience. Though the improvements sound spectacular and are impossible to verify without a time machine, Joe Madden, founder and lead analyst at Mobile Experts, said the benefits of RAN planning could be seen immediately in the lowering of customer defections. “RAN Planning is instrumental to the quality of experience, which minimises customer churn,” said Madden, “RAN planning tools have evolved into RAN optimisation solutions that use a continuous cycle to deliver maximum return on the CAPEX invested.”
Cut the CAPEX
Mobile Experts believes that most operators will choose to focus on improved RSRP precision for higher capacity, at least in the urban areas, in order to address peak capacity limitations that can be an issue in LTE and 5G networks. Regis Lerbour, VP Product & R&D, RAN Engineering, Infovista said the complexity, cost and scale of the 5G network is only going to get more imposing. increasing. “From deploying nationwide networks beyond initial city deployments to dynamically sharing LTE and NR spectrum, implementing 5G network slicing or building private mobile networks, 5G RAN planning must be built on both accurate real-world data today and predictive models of the future.
Learn not to churn
This research by Mobile Experts clearly shows that there’s not just a business case for accurate RAN planning.” Infovista’s AI-powered RF planning solution, Planet is the driving force of innovation in this space, Lerbour said, and agreed that RAN planning is instrumental to the quality of experience, which minimises customer ‘churn’. At Rakuten Mobile, which is using a cloud-native “on-demand” radio network planner with Infovista. CTO Sharad Sriwastawa is a fan. “Engineers can conduct advanced planning and design features that save time and money in network planning and the extensive automation makes it easier to deploy.”