NSN to showcase HetNet, Wi-Fi steering developments at MWC 2014

Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) is gearing up to demonstrate new approaches to Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets) planning and Wi-Fi steering at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress.

The vendor said a new three dimensional (3D) HetNet mapping technique will simplify deployments by cutting the amount of drive testing and site visits required when planning the networks, which combine macro and small cells to optimise traffic loads. NSN said operators using the method would be able to cut microwave backhaul planning time by a third, and avoid costly changes after sites are installed.

NSN's technique enhances radio and microwave backhaul simulations for urban areas that are used by operators to decide where to locate base stations. NSN said the 3D method is more accurate than conventional approaches using flat and low resolution maps, particularly for base stations lacking direct line of site for the microwave backhaul to the core network.

"Conventional simulations using 2D maps often fail to fully take into account the complexity of the urban landscape, such as the height of surrounding buildings which can obscure microwave paths and impact the propagation of radio signals. This leads to operators paying for costly and time-consuming site surveys," explained Lorenzo Minelli, head of radio service solutions at NSN's Network Planning and Optimization division. "3D based simulation is able to spot potential issues and reduce site visits markedly while also improving the first-time success rates of small cell location and the chosen backhaul."

Keith Mallinson, founder of consulting firm WiseHarbor, recently wrote in a FierceWireless:Europe column that HetNets are vital to accommodate growing data traffic.

NSN plans to make the service available during the current calendar quarter.

The vendor separately detailed two developments in Wi-Fi steering that it said would improve load balancing, and enable real-time steering respectively.

A traffic steering analysis service uses network traffic and billing data trends to automatically generate and update rules covering how devices choose between cellular or Wi-Fi access. NSN notes the automated service removes the need for operators to manually create the steering rules, and can adapt the rules to match the current network conditions.

The second element is mobile device software that allows operators to steer the device to the strongest connection, depending on network congestion.

Randy Cox, head of Small Cells product management at NSN, said the company is "introducing a more efficient, time-saving way to create different traffic steering rules," which will enable operators to "fully exploit Wi-Fi as a fourth radio access technology."

For more:
- see NSN's HetNet announcement
- see the NSN release on Wi-Fi steering

Related Articles:
Mallinson: Carriers need to deploy LTE Advanced HetNets – and fast
Deutsche Telekom questions WiFi's use as an offload solution
Ericsson, NSN maintain Asia-Pacific progress with LTE tests
Wi-Fi innovations focus on dense data networks
Installed base of small cells to hit 40m in 2018

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