Operators (and vendors) face a very challenging and interesting situation related to the emerged technology of millimeter wave (mmWave) wireless networks.
The high capacity connections that can be created with mmWave wireless links can fully satisfy the bandwidth demands of residential customers. But as residential access networks are highly dynamic, the effort and cost required to manage and optimize mmWave wireless networks needs to be optimized in order operators to decide to deploy them.
At the same time, the same mmWave radio links can successfully cover the mobile backhaul needs of small cells, used by mobile operators in urban (high density) city areas. But as these backhaul networks are very operator-specific and heterogeneous, mmWave must compete with other backhaul technologies including point-to-point microwave, copper and optical fiber in terms of cost and deployment efficiency.
In this article, I describe a possible solution to these challenges that vendors and operators are facing. The solution is automating the Wireless Network Planning & Design tools to improve efficiency and lower cost, as well as unifying them with Network Management and Monitoring.
Automating the Network Planning function
Operators typically use a waterfall approach when deploying networks, that involves multiple autonomous tools used in different phases of deployment. One of the first phases in the deployment is Network Planning.