Small Cell SON and Orchestration from 4G to 5G

Automation is a key goal for most operators deploying next generation networks. With the increasing number of cells being deployed to extend their 4G and 5G networks, the numbers of cells are becoming impractical to manage and optimise manually.

Full end-to-end automation is the ultimate, if distant, goal for many MNOs. SCF is engaged at making steps towards this goal clear and deployable for operators of all kinds. One of the first and most important examples of automation being developed for the RAN is SON (self-organizing or self-optimizing network), which has been a central element of SCF’s work programme and outputs for some years. With the opportunity to accelerate at-scale densification at stake, SCF’s latest SON-related release is a foundational paper entitled ‘Small Cell SON and Orchestration from 4G to 5G’.

This paper offers a valuable set of recommendations for how automation should be baked into 5G standards, products and process.  It also considers how technology changes such as

Virtualization, slicing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and RIC will impact on SON and orchestration in future.

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Precision planning for 5G Era networks with small cells

Accurate planning of the location of small cells has always been important. However, the challenges of planning the best sites to achieve well-targeted, interference-free signals for 4G and 5G, whilst keeping costs under control, have increased significantly in line with the need for very high levels of data usage and truly ubiquitous coverage.

‘Precision planning for 5G Era networks with small cells’, co-authored by SCF and 5G Americas– provides operators with a detailed blueprint for precision planning of small cells, which will enable them to avoid the pitfalls of densification.

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