Ericsson took a step to simplify carrier mobile networks on Tuesday, during a Mobile World Congress show where infrastructure is getting more complex.
This week's show has seen the advent of numerous products for heterogeneous networks, or "hetnets," which can combine traditional macro cells with femtocells, other small cells and Wi-Fi access points. The Wi-Fi radios are even being integrated with small cellular radios in the same unit. Heterogeneous networks can help carriers offer broader coverage and higher data capacity inside buildings and in crowded areas, with lower costs and quicker deployment than with existing systems.
Vendors are also unveiling platforms to manage those networks and to automate the process of making them perform at their best. Ericsson, the biggest vendor of mobile networks to carriers, announced an entry of its own in that area on Tuesday.
The company's SON Optimisation Manager is designed to automate the optimisation of self-organising networks, so called because they don't require as much planning for a given deployment. SON Optimisation Manager takes functions included in the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard and extends them to non-LTE networks, including existing ones that use 2G and 3G technologies, and to heterogeneous networks.
Thanks to standards developed by the mobile governing body 3GPP (Third-Generation Partnership Project), the new software can manage equipment from multiple vendors, according to Ericsson.
Optimising cellular networks traditionally has been an expensive, repeated process that requires skilled personnel. SON Optimisation Manager can take information about performance all over the network and take steps to ensure the best possible performance on an ongoing basis, Ericsson said. Carriers can set optimisation to take place daily or hourly, the company said.