Network densification vs network experience. Can you have it both ways?
Addressing hotspots with small cells and an effective NxM strategy resolves congestion
As macro networks approach their limits in capacity and performance, it’s important to consider the role small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS) can play in densifying your networks and boosting network performance around mobile “hotspots”. But finding the best solution for these networks is far from straightforward. What’s needed are strategies that not only solve congestion, but also maintain a focus on customer experience.
In most cases, pursuing network-wide densification is simply overkill. Why waste resources when you can target specific hotspots that have high levels of mobile traffic, such as public venues, transport hubs, downtown centers and business parks? But the planning, deployment and management of potentially hundreds of small cells in a local area creates new challenges too, since you need to ensure that higher cell density also delivers significant improvements in user experience.
Cost-effective approach maximizes ROI
To achieve maximum ROI, small cells need to be accurately placed and configured so that they provide your customers with the best coverage and throughput, while minimizing interference. But this can often be much more complex than it first appears, since many factors need to be taken into consideration.
For example, environmental and planning restrictions may dictate exactly where small cells can be mounted such as on street lighting, buildings and bus stops. In addition, small cells require power, which may need to be supplied by a public utility, private landlord or solar/battery equipment. Then, they need to be connected to the network through one of a number of possible backhaul technologies such as wireless, cable or fiber, any of which may involve a third-party network provider.
But all this is missing the main point. To provide real value, logistical and technical aspects to network densification must remain secondary to network experience. This new powerful strategic approach is what Amdocs calls “network experience management” – or NxM – a cost-effective, end-to-end approach to addressing network-relevant challenges. NxM uses both technical and commercial criteria to resolve problems while focusing on what actually matters, the customer experience of the network and not just the network itself.
With an NxM approach to determine the most strategic locations for adding small cells, you can increase capacity where it’s needed through spectrum reuse and network densification, while maintaining the emphasis on what really counts: how your customer is experiencing your service.
Essentially, it comes down to the right strategy, tools and expertise. But getting it right makes all the difference between “chaotic capacity” and an accurately planned, managed and well optimized network.
Learn more about the critical role NxM plays in customer experience management and how it can help improve your return on network investment.