This post is by Lars Lagerström from Nokia Solutions and Networks.
The buzz about HetNets and small cells at Mobile World Congress was hardly a surprise to anybody. This year, however, the discussion had clearly moved from hype to actual implementation considerations. Operators have concluded they need more than just radio access network features to make the most of these exciting technologies – and this is where traffic steering comes into play.
Many operators find it hard to get a grip on traffic steering mainly because it involves so many different technology domains. It is virtually impossible to find a person who can master all possible radio technologies, self-organizing networks (SON), network-, service- and customer experience management (CEM)… The list of functionalities relevant to traffic steering is huge. It calls first and foremost for increased cooperation between the CTO and CIO since reference architecture isn’t the sole domain of IT departments any more.
To solve this dilemma and help you navigate your traffic steering journey, we have created easy-to-understand reference architecture diagrams for each of the four use cases we highlighted at Mobile World Congress 2014.
Starting with our NOC/SOC (network operations center/service operations center) reference architecture, we first consider the functionality needed for traffic steering in general and then we can zoom in on each individual use case. This traffic steering reference architecture follows the proven principle of Data – Insight – Action – Result with a strong emphasis on well-controlled closed-loop automation. It provides a common ground where your radio, operations, CEM, policy management and other experts can meet to agree on what functionality is needed to fulfill your particular needs.
A clear benefit is that this first step can be taken with an open mind, irrespective of any product or legacy system considerations. Once the scope and functionality have been agreed, then you can map existing systems and start identifying gaps. Reference architecture allows you to focus on your most urgent requirements without losing sight of the big picture and avoid many costly mistakes that can otherwise result from a piecemeal approach.
Just remember that traffic steering is not a one-size-fits-all product, but rather a solution that factors in all your existing assets.
Did you miss Mobile World Congress?
No worries. We will be hosting Mobile World Congress re-visited events as we’ve done in the past, and we’re happy to arrange one-on-one sessions to show how reference architecture can help you get a grip on traffic steering.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts on what traffic steering means to you and how the big picture helps guide your next move.
For more on Reference Architecture, check out our earlier postings on the topic: