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Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc.. No unauthorised sharing.

DEPLOYING

2013 | www.tmforum.org

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SMALL-CELLS
QUICK INSIGHTS

HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE
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Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc.. No unauthorised sharing.

DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE

SMALL CELLS, BIG ISSUE?
So what’s the big issue about small cells? Operators need to accurately locate small cells where they provide the best customer experience while maximizing return on investment. That means identifying the exact location to place small cells based on experience hotspots. Amdocs provides the means to automate and accelerate complex planning processes required for small cell rollout. Amdocs OSS. Design once, deploy many times.

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org Production Manager: Sarah Wray swray@tmforum. The views and opinions expressed by individual authors and contributors in this publication are provided in the writers’ personal capacities and are their sole responsibility.org Director. TeleManagement Forum. Insights Research: Rob Rich rrich@tmforum.tmforum.org Vice President. Chief Strategy Officer. Research & Publications: Zena Coupé zcoupe@tmforum. mechanical. Report author: Phil Marshall. or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic. TM Forum dbushaus@tmforum.org Business Development Director.marshall@tolaga. NJ 07960-6628 USA www. photocopying.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. TM Forum would like to thank the sponsors and advertisers who have enabled the publication of this fully independently researched report. Publishing and Webinars: Katy Gambino kgambino@tmforum. Events.org Editorial Director: Annie Turner aturner@tmforum. Chairman and CEO.org Report Design: The Page Design Consultancy Ltd Vice President.org Phone: +1 973-944-5100 Fax: +1 973-944-5110 ISBN: 978-1-939303-31-8 Page 4 Page 5 Page 10 Page 13 Page 15 Executive summary Section 1 Advancing network planning tools for small- cell proliferation Section 2 Simplifying small-cell network deployments Section 3 Small-cell success depends on automation and inventory management Section 4 Conclusions and recommendations Page 18 Sponsored feature Amdocs © 2013. PhD Tolaga Research philip.org QUICK INSIGHTS 3 . Marketing: Lacey Caldwell Senko lsenko@tmforum. 10th Floor Morristown. Research & Publications: Mark Bradbury mbradbury@tmforum.com Editor: Dawn Bushaus Editor. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced. TM Forum Published by: TM Forum 240 Headquarters Plaza East Tower. Their publication does not imply that they represent the views or opinions of TeleManagement Forum and must neither be regarded as constituting advice on any matter whatsoever. TM Forum Nik Willetts.org Business Development Manager. The reproduction of advertisements and sponsored features in this publication does not in any way imply endorsement by TeleManagement Forum of products or services referred to therein.org Advisors: Keith Willetts.. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright.org Managing Director. Publications and Content: Rebecca Henderson rhenderson@tmforum. nor be interpreted as such. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE TM Forum’s research reports are free for all employees of our member companies to download by registering on our website. without the prior permission of the publisher. recording or otherwise. No unauthorised sharing. stored in a retrieval system.tmforum. www.

. However. As a result.000 small-cell sites per month. determine the best link for each smallcell site and then configure the backhaul accordingly. In Section 2. We also look at how small-cell deployment will affect inventory-management. self-contained base stations) to address coverage and capacity demands for residential indoor environments. SON algorithms can interrogate available wireless links. they create a variety of operational challenges for service providers: In Section 1 of this report we delve into the network design and planning issues operators need to consider when installing small-cells.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. “The small-cell revolution has been fueled by the success of femto-cells (lowcost. they must address integration with existing networks. We look at the differences between deploying macro-cell networks and smallcell networks. we begin to turn the focus to automation and how self-optimizing networks (SON) are being used in small-cell deployments. backhaul requirements and what kind of role network optimization plays in deploying small-cells. Macro-cells are not well suited to deliver localized capacity and coverage that is increasingly needed for mobile broadband services. In Section 3 we dig deeper into automation and SON with a look at how operators can use it to manage backhaul options. network operators increasingly are turning to small-cell technology to increase coverage and provide better data transmission speeds. service providers have been ramping up small-cell deployments. they have only seen modest market adoption.tmforum. automation will be essential for such an aggressive plan to be economically viable and that includes simplify installation of small-cells so that lower-skilled workers can be hired to install them. Finally in Section 4 we offer some conclusions and recommendations to help network operators transition smoothly to networks that will be dominated by small-cells. No unauthorised sharing. or even increased. To deploy 1. and we look at the planning requirements network operators must consider.org . and happy customers translate to steady. representing just 10 to 15 percent of currently deployed base stations. for example.000 sites per month. As small-cells proliferate.and pico-cells. inventory-management systems must be integrated end-to-end with network planning and workflow functions. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE Executive summary To satisfy mobile users’ seemingly unquenchable desire for bandwidth. which deliver umbrella coverage and capacity across large geographical areas. For example. revenue. The idea is that small-cell coverage can help improve the customer experience. since legacy small-cell network architectures are too expensive and complicated to be applied at mass-market scale. Traditional mobile networks are based primarily on macro-cellular designs.” 4 QUICK INSIGHTS www. When new small-cells are deployed. Small-cell technology has been deployed for several decades under the guise of micro. With network operators planning to roll out 1.

service providers have been ramping up small-cell deployments. since legacy small-cell network architectures are too expensive and complicated to be applied at mass market scale.. Outdoor smallcells. they have only seen modest market adoption. No unauthorised sharing. tend to be more challenging to implement. on the other hand.org QUICK INSIGHTS 5 . Small-cell technology has been deployed for several decades under the guise of micro.and pico-cells. Macro-cells cannot deliver the localized capacity and coverage needed for mobile broadband services Section 1 Advancing network planning tools for small-cell proliferation Traditional mobile networks are based primarily on macro-cellular designs (see Figure 1-1). selfcontained base stations) to address coverage and capacity demands for residential indoor environments. Femto-cells continue to see market adoption. They must be placed carefully relative to macro-cells to coordinate radio resources and maximize capacity without causing undue network interference.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. As a result. which deliver umbrella coverage and capacity across large geographical areas. Macro-cells are not well suited to deliver localized capacity and coverage that is increasingly needed for mobile broadband services. This calls for advanced network design and planning techniques that enable small-cells to be an integral part of the overall network Figure 1-1: Overview of radio network provisioning and management Traditional radio engineering operations Radio Network Provisioning Planning Network Planning Tools Capacity and Coverage Forecasting New Site Deployment Radio Engineering Site Acquisition Architectural Engineering Civil Works Tower Fabrication EF&I Backhaul & Core Integration Technology Overlay Radio Engineering Lease Modification Architectural Engineering Civil Works EF&I Backhaul & Core Integration Site Expansion Radio Network Management Radio Engineering Architectural Engineering Civil Works EF&I Network Parameter Optimization Engineering Review and Analysis Exception Reports Performance Reports Parameter Optimization Algorithms Network Configuration Data Network Measurement Reports Call Traces Other Network and Business Intelligence www. representing just 10 to 15 percent of currently-deployed base stations. and since they’re deployed indoors. However.tmforum. The small-cell revolution has been fueled by the success of femto-cells (low-cost. they benefit from being somewhat isolated from macro-cellular interference.

to ensure that large scale deployments remain economic – In typical network operations. The number of small-cell deployments is likely to dwarf that of macro-cell. it is necessary to lower the cost of backhaul and anticipate that many more connections will be needed. In the case of macro-cells. QUICK INSIGHTS www. The underlying objective for network planning is to evaluate alternative network configurations and expansion strategies and to identify designs that have the most positive impact on overall network performance based on forecasted traffic demands. these lateral connections normally consist of dedicated microwave radio. service providers are likely to have one operational staff member on average for every 50 to 100 macro-cell sites.tmforum. provisioning. service providers are being more opportunistic and 6 are choosing from a wider range of backhaul technologies. and they still incorporate many of the functional capabilities of macro-cell. n Upgrades to inventory management systems to meet the scalability and extensibility demanded by small-cells – Small-cells introduce a variety of inventory management challenges for service providers as a consequence of the massive increase in the number of network elements that must be monitored.and macro-cell – Traditional network planning tools are designed primarily to support macro-cellular implementations. site acquisition. digital subscriber line (DSL) and freespace optics. including point-to-point and point-to-multipoint microwave. the additional information needed to reflect pertinent configuration information and capabilities to enable operational automation. millimeter wave. To achieve the necessary economics. albeit on a smaller scale. While these tools are capable of incorporating small-cells in network designs. n Strategies to ensure small-cell backhaul networks can be efficiently provisioned and deployed – Generally the most challenging and costly backhaul hops are the lateral connections to cell sites. No unauthorised sharing. it is crucial that the operational overhead for small-cells be dramatically reduced. Sophisticated network planning tools are used to identify the location and configuration of cell sites and their associated backhaul requirements. n Solutions for service providers to deploy and provision small-cells without incurring the overhead associated with conventional deployment approaches – These conventional approaches have been refined primarily for macro-cellular deployments. which involve protracted and costly network design. As a consequence. Different approaches are needed to meet the cost structures demanded for small-cells. the optimal integration of small-cells generally requires manual intervention on the part of design engineers. n Introducing processes to ensure that the ongoing operational requirement for small-cells be adequately managed.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. copper or optical fiber point-topoint links. they create a variety of challenges for operators: n How to ensure that network designs are optimized with overlaid and heterogeneous architectures that incorporate both small.org . As small-cells proliferate. In the case of small-cells. integration and optimization activities. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE design and to anticipate interference challenges and isolation strategies between high and low powered sites..

orientation and transmission power. and innovative radio resource-scheduling techniques. site access and acquisition considerations.org measurement data to predict the impact of potential configuration changes and expansions. The modeling resolution of typical radio networks is calibrated for macro-cells that cover several kilometers or more using GIS data with granularity of up to 100 meters. small-cell optimization requires schemas that span broad technical. planning tool providers have begun incorporating high-resolution 3D data with less than 5-meter resolution in their platforms.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. Network configuration data Macro-cells incorporate key radio configuration data. This optimization requires more granular network information. radio performance modeling. Planning tools must enable careful site placement and radio spectrum resource planning for small-cells Most planning tools have been designed primarily for the purposes of macro-cellular network architectures and require extensive enhancements to adequately support smallcell planning requirements. In addition. This granularity comes directly from network measurement data. additional granularity is needed. Radio-performance modeling Modeling algorithms combine geographical information system (GIS) data with sophisticated radio propagation models and www. such as the height. Network integration Integrating small-cell deployments with overlaid and heterogeneous networks is necessary as small-cell technology adoption grows and small-cells carry an increasing proportion of the overall mobile network traffic. there are typically greater trade-offs among individual sites. which depend on advancements in interference management that enable high-powered macrocell sites to coexist in the vicinity of lowpowered small-cells. a technique that changes power and frequency to mitigate interference from neighboring cells. As a result. and antenna patterns to enable engineers to optimize radio network performance. and ease of site installation. and backhaul and Wi-Fi offload options. Small-cell planning tools must address issues surrounding the availability of network configuration data. the proximity relative to utilities. which is inadequate for small-cells. integration with overlaid and heterogeneous networks (HetNets). This is also a key objective for small-cells. Given their closer proximity and the large number of small-cells associated with individual planning processes. In the absence of these enhancements.. Full-fledged HetNet architectures cannot be realized with current 3G and LTE technologies. Interference management advancements include enhanced Inter-cell Interference Coordination (eICIC). which will form an increasingly important role in the overall planning process. such as the configuration and availability of alternative backhaul links. commercial and financial considerations and as a consequence will draw upon inventory information from many organizations within a service provider’s business.tmforum. network planning tools must be capable of enabling careful site placement and radio spectrum resource planning to ensure that small-cells QUICK INSIGHTS 7 . While this high resolution data enables operators to derive first order estimates for small-cell performance using advanced radio propagation techniques such as ray tracing. No unauthorised sharing. but in deploying small-cells service providers are likely to find many more alternative implementation strategies and a broader range of trade-offs to consider.

regarding it as substandard and incapable of meeting the performance demands of mobile broadband. residential and enterprise Wi-Fi access points and Wi-Fienabled small-cells. such as digital subscriber line (DSL). This is particularly the case for small-cells which commonly have dualmode wireless mobile and Wi-Fi technology capabilities. They should pay particular attention to the actual as opposed to theoretical performance improvements enabled by the techniques. point-to-multipoint microwave and gigabit passive optical network (GPON). Network operators should look for planning tools that incorporate enhancements like eICIC.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. While network planning tools will leverage static information regarding the location and configuration of Wi-Fi access “Backhaul is challenging for small-cells because of the large number of links required and the need to capitalize opportunistically on available backhaul technologies”. both from the perspective of integrating versatile backhaul configurations into the network design and incorporating backhaul network considerations as part of the radio network optimization process.. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE can be deployed reliably and optimized with existing macro-cells. The mobile industry generally resisted the insurgence of Wi-Fi into the mobile broadband market. For small-cell designs. However. Some network operators also are offloading to Wi-Fi to manage mobile network traffic.0 to enable the intelligent use of Wi-Fi as part of their overall networks and ultimately integrated as part of HetNet architectures. while at the same time supporting legacy network requirements. which means it has to incorporated in planning strategies. Backhaul and Wi-Fi Backhaul is challenging for small-cells because of the large number of links required and the need to capitalize opportunistically on available backhaul technologies. 8 QUICK INSIGHTS www. Changes on the horizon Over the next 24 to 36 months.org . No unauthorised sharing. they lack functionality needed for small-cell backhaul planning. Since most network planning tools have been designed primarily to address macro-cell deployment. which will require live network measurements so that network planners can calibrate modeling assumptions. it might be necessary to handicap different radio network designs based on the implied backhaul requirements and the associated technical.tmforum. service providers are expecting technologies like Access Network Discovery and Service Function (ANDSF) and Hotspot 2. This can be expected to ultimately span public. commercial and financial implications. Network planning tools must be capable of accounting for Wi-Fi as part of their overall network architecture. in recent years they’ve adopted it.

As small-cells are deployed on a large scale.tmforum.. the financial justification and prioritization of cell sites usually can be made independent of the network-planning process. the roles of planning and optimization are converging as network designs become increasingly dynamic. In addition. it is likely that they will become increasingly reliant on information gleaned from mobile broadband devices to identify and model the availability of available Wi-Fi network resources. small-cells become more widely adopted and advanced interference management techniques become more common. but have different deployment requirements and cost implications. “Software vendors are aggressively advancing their network-planning capabilities to incorporate many of the requirements for small-cells. We will discuss this in more detail in Sections 2 and 3. Planning and optimization are converging as network designs become more dynamic points. These requirements will evolve as small-cells become more popular. It will also be necessary for tools to provide a way to integrate with automated functions such as self-optimizing networks (SON) and create standardized blue-prints to make it easier for lower-skilled workers to install smallcells.org QUICK INSIGHTS 9 . as small-cells drive increased network complexity and advanced architectures such as software-defined networking (SDN) start to gain traction.” www. commercial and financial considerations and that enable analysis of various scenarios. For example.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. While network planning has traditionally been regarded as somewhat distinct from network optimization. it will become necessary for network-planning tools to provide a means of simplifying network complexity to make planning easier. radio traffic expectations and site deployment costs. one relying primarily on DSL backhaul and another that uses wireless links to fiber connections. service providers will be confronted with trade-offs among configurations that achieve comparable radio performance. To enable service providers to adequately assess the trade-offs between solutions requires network planning tools that incorporate optimization algorithms spanning technical. In the case of macro-cell network design. Advancing network planning Software vendors are aggressively advancing their network-planning capabilities to incorporate many of the requirements for small-cells. such as the cost of the wireless links. conventional network planning tools are generally focused toward achieving optimal engineering performance as opposed to optimizing the total cost of ownership of alternative network designs. No unauthorised sharing. commercial and financial factors. which will be required in the future. The relative benefit of each solution depends on a variety of technical. a network operator might consider two comparable network configurations. In addition.

S. state certification is required. are well positioned to capitalize on their established public Wi-Fi access point installations.. No unauthorised sharing. it would be advantageous if landlords and municipalities could create standardized site configurations with pre-provisioned utilities and backhaul to ease the design process. The acquisition process involves a variety of activities including negotiations with landlords (and possibly municipalities in the case of microcells) and in many cases zoning approvals.000 to $10. These technologies will enable Wi-Fi to be integrated as part of the mobile broadband networks (as opposed to an offload technology). such as those with different backhaul or those that require stealth antennas. The remaining costs are associated with deployment activities such as site acquisition.000 for lease amendments on collocated sites. The site acquisition process for small-cells is easier because of the miniaturization and standardization of equipment. but landlord negotiations are still necessary. site acquisition for each macro-cell costs about $30. In some markets like the U. we believe it will be necessary for landlords and municipalities to package suitable sites into clusters or zones under master lease agreements with umbrella zoning approval.. it is likely that many of the pre-provisioned sites will have multiple collocated small-cells.000 to $50. architectural engineering.0 are introduced. radio engineering and design. In a typical North American or Western European market. To reduce the costs of small-cells further. Engineering small-cells In macro-cell networks. Given the small-cell density service providers 10 are contemplating. These design considerations must be incorporated as part of the network planning and design www. Service providers can further reduce these requirements by adopting standardized architectures that conform to specific regional codes. Existing public Wi-Fi sites also provide potential venues for small-cells. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE Section 2 Simplifying small-cell network deployments Electronic infrastructure accounts for 20 to 30 percent of the overall cost of a typical macrocell implementation.org QUICK INSIGHTS . architectural engineers design the physical layout of cell sites to ensure that they meet the engineering code and zoning bylaws of the particular market where the base station is being installed. In addition. Service providers in the U. a variety of alternative small-cell designs will emerge. Site acquisition costs are dramatically reduced in cases where equipment is collocated and in cases where landlords and service providers have master lease agreements in place.S. With streamlined site selection/acquisition and architectural engineering processes. similar to today’s practice of tower outsourcing.tmforum. The mass-market success of small-cells depends on innovation that cuts costs by increasing automation and making it easier for lower-skilled workers to install cell-site equipment. zoning approval might still be necessary. the public Wi-Fi itself will become more strategic as technologies like ANDSF and Hotspot 2. for example.. which can be easily upgraded to support mobile technologies. The architectural engineering requirements for small-cells are dramatically reduced with integrated small-cell equipment installed on existing structures such as lampposts and building walls.000 for a green-field site and $5. civil works. and in the case of outdoor smallcells. and engineering furnish and installation (EF&I). In future.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. so operators must often turn to local engineering companies for help.

This broadens the demand of network planning tools and also increases the scope of inventory management. (A more detailed explanation of how SON supports automation is provided in Section 3. the installer could be equipped with an intelligent handheld spectrum analyzer to refine and optimize the location of the small-cell.000 per site depending on the complexity of the installation and require the specialist support of trained technicians.tmforum. installers commonly face conditions unforeseen in the planning process. the equivalent EF&I operational activities were essentially eliminated with self-optimizing networks (SON). The analyzer might use a color-coding scheme to indicate to the installer whether a location is desirable. When femto-cells were introduced.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. No unauthorised sharing. requiring only equipment mounting and termination of backhaul and utility connections. rather they could be municipal workers who maintain street lighting. but also based on cost and deployment complexity. which results in the potential for significant design changes upon installation.) In many cases. In the case of small-cells. however. Mapping technology could “The mass-market success of small-cells depends on innovation that cuts costs by increasing automation and making it easier for lower-skilled workers to install cell-site equipment.org QUICK INSIGHTS 11 . Tools for unskilled workers A variety of tools are needed to enable unskilled installers to adapt small-cell configurations. In the case of small-cells. For example. meaning the ultimate configurations are generally a relatively close reflection of the original design. for example..000 to $10. market. EF&I activities for a macro-cell cost about $5. which we will discuss further in Section 4. The same tool might account for the placement of the small-cell relative to backhaul network resources. which enables automated ‘plug-andplay’ functionality for femto-cells so that consumers can install the units in their homes. installers may not even be employed by the network operator. and ultimately macro-cells. Operators generally find few surprises when installing macro-cells. The EF&I activities associated with macrocell involve installing electronic equipment. including tools to analyze the deployment location at the time of installation and possibly make adjustments to improve the overall outcome.S. programming site parameters and integrating with the live network. SON enables equipment to be installed by less highly-skilled personnel. In a typical U. Self-optimizing neworks reduce deployment cost by enabling unskilled workers to install small-cells process to ensure that sites are not only optimized based on performance.” www. Today SON is being enhanced to eliminate EF&I activities for both indoor and outdoor small-cells.

particularly in cases where automation eliminates the need for skilled workers. the potential for operational errors increases.. or signal strength measurements could be used to ensure the site has adequate coverage to wireless backhaul connection points. For example. This type of solution has yet to be developed and creates opportunities for testand-measurement equipment vendors. and network operators must keep that in mind when planning rollouts. In addition. each deployment should be packaged with workflow charts summarizing the deployment processes. detailed auditing processes must be developed. millimeter wave and freespace optic systems are used. some operators also are considering camera technology to supervise installations remotely. site access guidelines. Service providers bound by union agreements are likely to be slower to adopt automation and should aim to negotiate solutions that pre-empt conflict. No unauthorised sharing. To reduce the potential for deployment errors. network planning tools.” 12 QUICK INSIGHTS www. Alternative approaches that use SON techniques to automate backhaul configuration and deployment could also be included in the analysis tool. particularly as operators begin ramping up small-cell deployment.
 n Finally.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. and implementation diagrams. The camera could be as simple as a handheld device operated by the installer. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE be used to ensure that the site is located in close proximity to fiber or copper backhaul. A couple of potential trouble spots are worth noting: n In some cases the new operational models may be in conflict with established employee union agreements. n Given the rate at which operators expect to deploy small-cells and the changes in processes and procedures needed.org . While the intention is for small-cell deployments to be handled by lower-skilled workers. health and safety requirements. and inventory management systems will require significant enhancements. in cases where microwave. the operational changes required for small-cell deployments are disruptive to established operational models.tmforum. the video information collected from the site could be tagged to the associated site and stored in network planning and inventory management systems. some operators also are considering camera technology to supervise installations remotely. remote surveillance and supervision solutions. Disruptive changes Overall. (We explore changes to inventory management systems further in the next section. or it could be mounted temporarily at the site (or on the cell itself) and operated remotely by supervising engineers.) “While the intention is for small-cell deployments to be handled by lowerskilled workers. along with photographs and barcode or RF-ID tagging technology to orchestrate the installation process.

rather than defining a strict standard. No unauthorised sharing. For many service providers. they will become refined as the SON capabilities mature. and forecasting and inventory management. While SON is capturing tremendous market attention and is crucial for mass-market smallcell implementations. automation cannot be introduced without phased implementations and change-management initiatives. Self-optimizing nework technology heats up Given the wide variety of service providers’ operational models. Therefore. When new small-cells are being deployed. Automation is necessary for operators to roll out large numbers of small-cells Section 3 Small-cell success depends on automation and inventory management The success of small-cells hinges on automation to ensure that service providers can operate large numbers of them without incurring excessive costs. the SON algorithms interrogate the available wireless links. both during deployment and in failover conditions when self-healing capabilities are needed. site capacity expansions.org for the first time. small-cells are a good opportunity to incubate operational automation based on SON. it essentially provides a framework through which service providers can introduce automation capabilities. service providers are taking a measured approach to its adoption because of the disruptive impact automation can have on organizations within a service provider’s business. It has the potential to be particularly disruptive to existing technical organizations. SON has many potential use cases.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. Backhaul automation Network operators also are using SON to address the complexities of small-cell backhaul. but over time..tmforum. Once the small-cell backhaul connections are established and operational. Here’s how self-configuration works today in many vendor implementations: When a new small-cell is deployed and powered on www. The parameters of the small-cell are also adjusted to include handover relationships and thresholds and radio resource allocations. the network recognizes and registers it. In an effort to standardize. The cells neighboring the small-cell are identified and their parameters adjusted to account for its presence. At first. self-optimization and self-healing aspects of self-optimizing networks (SON). This self-configuring functionality will continue to evolve. particularly as new radio technologies and features are introduced and as vendors roll out their own proprietary features to differentiate their solutions. Many have already used SON to automate the basic configuration of small-cells during deployment by building on solutions that have been developed for the femto-cell market. there likely will be myriad SON use cases. including provisioning and configuration management. determine the best link for each small-cell site and then configure the backhaul accordingly. SON self-healing features enable the smallcells to fail-over and reconfigure their backhaul links to bypass points of failure as necessary. fault management. maintenance. network operators and their vendors are working on the self-configuration. QUICK INSIGHTS 13 . performance monitoring and optimization. Since service providers already have wellestablished operational models. This automation spans all the major operational processes. This self-configuration approach is particularly pertinent to small-cell backhaul networks that have overlapping point-to-multipoint configurations.

detailed information such as site location and conditions.org .000 small-cells a month. No unauthorised sharing. In the world of macro-cell expansion.” 14 QUICK INSIGHTS www. To overcome this challenge. inventorymanagement systems must be integrated with other OSSs. traffic profiles for individual cells are less certain and there are greater variations in how the cells are configured. and installation and configuration guidelines will be needed for SON automation. and network planning tools provide relatively accurate estimates of the network elements needed and their associated configurations. Finally. operators must address inventory forecasting. It is crucial that the underlying data schemas of the inventory management systems are highly extensible and scalable to support this. it is important that service providers establish strategies to phase the adoption of automation and to introduce suitable employee incentives. For the purposes of forecasting. The forecasting of network resources becomes more complicated with the introduction of small-cells because of the alternative network-expansion strategies they offer.000 small-cells a month. physical and logical network design information. their numbers will dwarf macro-cell.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. which is stifling progress. To achieve this. Inventory management Small-cells also place new demands on inventory-management systems in terms of the increased volume and dynamic nature of inventory information that must be stored. It is conceivable that in the near future large Tier 1 operators will be deploying in excess of 1. work-order and field-services functions.. strategies such as cell-splitting are well understood. “It is conceivable that in the near future large Tier 1 operators will be deploying in excess of 1. inventory-management systems also must be integrated end-to-end with network planning and design tools. To achieve this rate of expansion. however. particularly in terms of their backhaul architectures. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE but in many cases these are the groups deciding on its adoption.tmforum. As operators employ more unskilled workers to perform installations. which means that inventory-management systems must be capable of scaling to meet the increased data capacity demanded. service providers require voice and data traffic estimates and the associated radio technologies and spectrum bands used to transport the traffic. and with workflow. Tight integration between inventory management and network planning is important for enabling efficient scenario analyses for small-cell deployment. As small-cells reach mass-market scale. In the case of small-cells. This integration must be streamlined to insure that information integrity can be maintained as small-cell rollout accelerates.

and network operators must supply them with onsite tools and detailed deployment instructions to reduce the likelihood of errors. n Once the physical sites have been installed.tmforum. whose operations are geared primarily to macro-cell implementation. n Site selection and acquisition processes must be streamlined. in conjunction with granular measurement data from the field. widespread deployment of small-cells is finally getting underway and will result in small-cells deployment dramatically outpacing macro-cell deployment in the coming years.org QUICK INSIGHTS 15 . must be simplified so that lower-skilled workers can install sites. with landlords and municipalities pre-packaging sites with utility (and possibly backhaul) resources. particularly when technologies like ANDSF and Hotspot 2. network operators and their vendors are working on the selfconfiguration. but implementing them creates a variety of challenges for mobile service providers. they must enable the efficient modeling of HetNet architectures. Small-cell deployment challenges span all facets of network operations from planning to inventory management. n Radio planning systems must evolve to integrate high-resolution 3D Geographical Information System data with advanced propagation modeling techniques. Network operations n Automation will be necessary for large scale small-cell implementations. self-optimization and selfhealing aspects of SON.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. No unauthorised sharing.0 or their equivalents are introduced. Network planning n Network n Planning tools must explicitly account for the varied backhaul configuration and optimization requirements for small-cells and the implications of Wi-Fi. SON self-configuration management functionality plays an important role in configuring the parameters for the small-cells and their neighboring sites and possibly the backhaul circuits. master lease agreements and umbrella zoning approvals. www.. n Predictions must account for technology advancements in radio resource management and scheduling and interference management techniques such as enhanced inter-cell interference coordination. commercial and financial considerations. This could also be complemented with remote video surveillance and supervision. Following is a brief recap of the some of the major operational impacts of small-cell deployment and our recommendations for how to address them. n In an effort to standardize. Ultimately. Small-cell deployment will outpace that of macro-cells in the near future Section 4 Conclusions and recommendations After much anticipation. Network deployment n Implementation planning systems must evolve to incorporate detailed network configuration and cost estimates to enable alternative small-cell implementations to be evaluated and optimized according to technical. Small-cells are needed to address the relentless growth in mobile data traffic. such as ray tracing.

particularly as heterogeneous networks are adopted. This necessitates tight integration between inventory management and network planning systems to enable efficient scenario analyses. configuration and traffic demands of the cells.org. No unauthorised sharing. In October 2012.org/assetlifecycleman1. and incorporate the added physical and logical inventory that is needed to enable automated operations.tmforum. Although small-cell adoption will be stifled early on in many markets as a consequence of operational complexities. TM Forum is undertaking a program of work in this area (see panel below).000 or more sites per month. Making progress on standards for asset management TM Forum is undertaking work in the area of asset management.tmforum. which is becoming an increasingly important issue as of service providers strive to compete by cutting costs and reducing risk. which outlined a holistic approach to aid communications service providers who are faced with the complex task of managing numerous fixed assets distributed over a vast coverage area. n Small-cells complicate network infrastructure forecasting by creating greater uncertainly in terms of the quantity. Inventory management n Inventory management systems must scale to support the increased data demands for small-cell inventory. so service providers should establish strategies to phase the adoption of automation and to introduce suitable employee incentives. a team led by individuals from Deloitte Consulting developed a Fixed Asset Lifecycle Management Guidebook (GB950) www. 16 QUICK INSIGHTS www. via scotton@tmforum. Inventory management is part of asset management. A nomination has been made for a new project lead to form a team that will get underway in early October 2013. n They must be streamlined to support deployment of at least 1.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. DEPLOYING SMALL-CELLS: HOW TO MAKE ROLLOUT COMMERCIALLY VIABLE n Automation has the potential to be particularly disruptive to existing technical organizations. For more information. without affecting customer service.org . Director.. the ultimate shift in network architecture and operations to embrace them is inevitable. please contact Steve Cotton. there is interest among the TM Forum membership to continue this work and document the impact digital services are having on asset management. And the changes incubated with small-cells will ultimately drive operational automation within macro-cells. Currently. Service providers who aggressively pursue the operational changes needed will reap the long-term benefits of improved network efficiencies. Business Assurance Programs.

.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc.tmforum. No unauthorised sharing.org QUICK INSIGHTS 17 . Extensive IPv6 training programs are needed for all employees Search for “tmforum” www.

High-value customers require a high-quality customer experience.000 small cells per month. to improve customer experience. Many operators are planning aggressive deployment schedules of more than 1. operators recognize that existing back-offices systems and processes are not scalable and in need of significant overhaul. it costs around $7. Operators need network planning and provisioning solutions that industrialize the process. providing high-levels of automation. it’s clear how quickly the proposition breaks down. gains access. network operators have been hard pressed to keep up with the massive explosion in traffic spurred by subscribers using an increasingly diverse set of mobile devices for business and social networking.to 30-fold during the next five years. and by many estimates. it might be needed to negotiate with a third-party provider. Typically there are several backhaul options to get traffic from a small cell site to the aggregation or core network. Today. One North American operator has even said it intends to install up to 10.000 to deploy a small cell. every few hundred meters in areas where high-value users cluster together. Most operators are focusing on public access small cells deployed in high-value ‘hotspot’ areas such as shopping malls. Using an automated system with predefined business rules that can intelligently auto-select the preferred option and/or guide the planning engineer to quickly select the best option based on more mobile data traffic overwhelming current cells 30x 1000s of small cells to deploy per month 10x increase in cell sites www. sends out technicians and arranges thirdparty backhaul agreements. If you multiply that by the thousands of sites operators say they need to deploy monthly. No unauthorised sharing.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc.tmforum. According to research conducted by Rethink Technology Research. wherever there is a concentration of ‘high-value’ users. gets permission to build.and metro-cells. global mobile data traffic is expected to increase 20. it can take weeks to deploy a single cell. which includes the cost of hardware and backhaul from the site.. To keep up.000 to $12. Targeting high-value customers Small cells typically provide coverage that range from just 10 meters in the case of residential femtocells to a few hundred meters for public access pico. If the operator doesn’t have any of its own network infrastructure near the proposed small cell location. and almost twothirds of operators expect to see at least a 10-fold increase in the total number of cell sites by 2017. and operators know they cannot afford to lose such customers by delivering unacceptable quality of service. The operator might need to pull new fiber. It also takes too long to deploy small cells today. apartment buildings and office complexes. mobile operators are increasingly turning to small cells to fill in coverage gaps and provide faster transmission rates. Sponsored feature Planning and process automation crucial for mass small cell deployment In recent years. By the time a network operator identifies the site. With such huge volumes. such as lamp posts.org 18 QUICK INSIGHTS . Overcoming the backhaul challenge Installation of small cells can be an arduous and expensive process.000 small cells per month. more than 80 percent of operators globally believe that small cells will be the first or second most important factor in meeting their capacity needs between 2012 and 2017. Identification of the high-value users and accurate location of the small cells is key to successful deployment. This provides better coverage and higher data rates. Publicaccess small cells supporting 16 to 32 or more simultaneous calls can be installed on buildings or street furniture. use a digital subscriber line (DSL) or install a microwave link. The exponential growth shows no signs of stopping.

Small cells offer a solution but network rollout has to meet stringent time. All Rights Reserved. which direction it should point.. visit: www.org QUICK INSIGHTS 19 . Key to success Ultimately. www. cost and quality targets to make the business case work.amdocs-marketing. weather and site location maps for the technician as well as to track progress and update the project plan in real time. Operators need to move faster to compete effectively in the mobile services market. The key to success is end-to-end process automation in planning. friends and colleagues. The app would synchronize with a workforce management and inventory system in an operator’s back-office to provide upto-date information such as equipment details. time and cost estimates can significantly reduce deployment time. And that means a whole new level of end-to-end management and control. deploy many times. The goal for service providers or professional services companies is to be able to supply contractors with an easyto-follow installation guide for setting up small cells. SMALL CELLS. where to place it. In some instances the operator may supply the contractor with an application that can run on a tablet that gives them a task list to follow with step-by-step instructions for how to install the unit.com/oss/small-cells/ Copyright © 2013 Amdocs. Amdocs OSS. Design once. they will continue to subscribe to existing services and may even buy new services or promote the company with family. Sending out teams of highly trained telecommunications technicians is too expensive.tmforum. project management and small cell network rollout. Who will install small cells? Another challenge for service providers lies in finding the right workforce to install the small cells. often by outsourcing. Amdocs provides the means to automate and accelerate complex planning processes required for small cell rollout. and how it should be secured and powered. Operators know if their high-value customers are happy. BIG ISSUE? So what’s the big issue about small cells? Only that operators will need to shrink conventional cell site rollout costs by up to 5 times to make them viable. These may be local field force for a municipality who are trained to install street lighting or signage.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. No unauthorised sharing. so operators are looking to utilize lower-skilled workers. the decision to deploy small cells is all about improving the customer experience to reduce churn. which could pave the way to more revenue opportunities. To learn more.

the way we communicate. For more information on the TM Forum Digital Initiative visit www. No unauthorised sharing. And that’s just the start. Everything that can be digital will be.org/digital There are five core principles of the Initiative: . consume information and entertainment has been changed forever. And it’s digital. We’ve seen the future.. The Digital Revolution is transforming our personal and professional lives. vibrant digital economy.tmforum. but the complexity behind our interconnected digital lives is only growing. We demand simplicity. enabling an open.Report prepared for Tim King of Ericsson Inc. In just ten years. TM Forum’s Digital Services Initiative focuses on overcoming the end-end management challenges of complex digital services.