RAN World

Interview with Jarno Niemelä

How have Elisa’s SON solutions developed over time? And what were the drivers behind it?

Elisa has been building its' own SON solution (called Elisa SON) now for roughly two years. It has been operational for 1.5 years with currently more than 15 use cases in the production network. Elisa uses this optimization solution for its' networks in Finland and Estonia. Meanwhile, Elisa Finland has also been using Nokia Eden-NET for automated optimization of their Ericsson 3G network (roughly 10% of total 3G coverage). The main drivers behind utilization of SON is to increase the level of automation actions in the network in order to achieve better network quality and more efficient utilization of radio resources.

What challenges are you facing through developing this solution?

Even though one of the biggest enablers for successful SON deployment has been seamless collaboration between radio and software engineers, this still tends to be the biggest challenge as well. This is chancing also the culture how networks are been operated and optimized.

How has this solution impacted overall network performance and the business?

The solution has provided better quality of the network in terms of less drop calls, better call setup success ratios and higher utilization of LTE network. The last item, especially, has been business-wise important for Elisa Finland due to high utilization of networks (currently 18 GB/subscriber/month).

How does this fit in to Elisa’s 5G strategy?

Elisa has been performing pre-5G pilots with Nokia and Huawei in order to understand networking requirements with higher bit rates and lower latencies. Preparations for 5G era has been started from core network perspective, and actual implementations will need to be performed during the coming few years. What we can identify already at this stage is that SON will play a crucial role in the 5G era as well. In general, Elisa has been using automation in its operations for a long time already (SON is only a part of this automation story), and we can see the role of automation becoming even stronger in next generation networks.

What technologies would you like to know more about?

One of the interesting aspects at the moment would be to hear more on the similarities of NFV/SDN and SON. It seems that RAN (radio access network) people talk in the context of SON automation on similar aspects and methodologies as core network people in the frame of NFV/SDN.

What are you hoping to gain by attending RAN World?

Fruitful discussion with other telecom technical and business experts.
  

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