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LTE Self-Organising Networks (SON): Network Management Automation for Operational Efficiency by Cinzia Sartori, Henning Sanneck, Seppo Hämäläinen

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Foreword

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When we designed the first generation of digital mobile networks, the concept of a self-organising network (SON) was not in focus. Now, with hindsight we can say that a lot of self-organising features already exist such as power control, handover between cells and efficient customer management based on central administration of SIM cards.

Why has the vision of self-organising networks gained importance in our industry? There are two obvious drivers: cost reduction and increasing complexity. Network operators urgently need much more automation in order to efficiently manage large networks consisting of tens of thousands of base stations with hundreds of settings each. Optimising several network layers providing a multitude of customer services with high service quality would be highly complex and labour intensive, and therefore would be very costly without the mechanisms and intelligence in our networks to ‘organise themselves’.

While it was common practice in the early years with much smaller mobile networks to execute many tasks manually on site, now network operators are able to handle all operational activities remotely from one or few central locations. This trend was enabled to a large extent by the significant progress in the IT industry.

In order to guide the industry in developing automation functionality that is relevant for operators Deutsche Telekom together ...

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