Self-organizing network (SON) technology is becoming a key ingredient for the effective deployment of LTE and WiMAX networks and could potentially lead to 40 percent in operational expenditure savings for mobile operators, said a new report from Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider.
"SON is generating hype as a key enabling technology for the next generation of mobile networks and, in particular, for LTE," said Claus Hetting, research analyst with Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider and author of the report. "As mobile network complexity increases, SON simplifies everything from network deployment to the complex processes of network planning, optimization and maintenance, enabling operators to cut back on capex and opex."
The network architecture of LTE will be characterized by many smaller cells, a network that will be dense with significant overlap and potential interference. As such, the Third Generation Partnership Project has come up with standards related to SON features. In general terms, SON refers to the ability of an LTE network to configure itself, operate itself and optimize itself through its life cycle.
Hetting said SON will be critical to the success of LTE because rolling out all-IP networks is inherently more complex than the 3G world. "In the long term, if SON development proceeds as expected, network opex savings for mobile broadband operators may reach as much as 40 percent," he said. "Capex reductions arise from reductions in network roll out costs. More complex business modeling may also reveal SON benefits from delays in investments into radio network capacity and reductions in churn."
The report goes on the say that SON is in fact driven by fierce pressure on operators to reduce opex, but the technology faces significant challenges when it comes to interoperability, standardization and use-case complexity.
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