Network rollouts have always been challenging. World-weary technicians often compare it to assembling a 1000-piece puzzle blindfolded. 5G network rollouts elevate the complexity to near absurd levels – sort of like assembling a puzzle in the dark while on a trampoline surrounded by half a dozen hopping mad kangaroos.
Today’s network rollouts come with countless technical and logistical challenges, from chip shortages to supply chain issues, to tumultuous geopolitical turmoil. Add to that the increasing number of spectrum parameters to be monitored, the demands of cell site densification, the vast variety and volume of hardware, software, and network elements required, as well as modern multi-vendor configurations that need to work together seamlessly. It all culminates in a storm of chaos that makes the task of on-time, on-budget network rollout nearly insurmountable.
Back in My Day…
Network rollouts have traditionally been a series of ‘run and done’ sequential phases. We would start with design and planning and then move on to engineering. Installation involved teams of trained onsite technicians that would be dispatched to various link sites. Once the initial installation was done, they would document and photograph all the elements and then return to headquarters to fill out all the necessary forms.
Completed documents, images, and supporting material would still need to be attached, all in the correct size and format, and then submitted to various stakeholders for final approval. Navigating the entire process was tedious and time-consuming but once the installation and acceptance phases were done you could consider the task complete. That’s not how it works in the world of 5G and endless optimization.
It’s a 5G World...
The ‘set it and forget it’ days of network rollouts are gone. Modern 5G networks require continuous monitoring, maintenance, and management to realize optimal performance potential. Telecom industry leaders and outsourced Network Service Providers (NSPs) have begun employing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in order to utilize Predictive Network Analytics (PNA).
Put plainly, PNA leverages AI’s ability to assess massive amounts of data points to look for patterns and predict temporary and long-term infrastructure reallocation needs. It’s a lot easier to avoid dropped calls or service outages caused by sudden spikes in demand from large sporting events, concerts, or
national holidays if your network’s AI can automatically reroute the resources required for temporary network changes caused by predictable traffic surges.
If certain areas in the network are not performing optimally the PNA can automatically run a series of tests to accurately assess any issue and make appropriate recommendations for next steps.
The potential OPEX and CAPEX savings associated with AI implementation are enormous. With human resources already being stretched to capacity, AI functioning in an advisory role or even autonomously in certain situations, can vastly increase efficiency across the board and have a significant positive impact on the end user’s Quality of Experience (QoE).
Common AI applications today include everything from security and surveillance to manufacturing and production. In the telecom world, AI is often used to assist with configuration management and the maintenance of network integrity by automating the monitoring, updating, and reporting on cell site configurations. Well-utilized AI provides an immediate Return on Investment (RoI) and efficiency improvement. It liberates skilled workers from repetitive and routine data retrieval tasks with effortless automation performed at near instantaneous speeds.
The Right Resources for Rollout...
Putting a scalable deployment process in place capable of handling whatever challenges rollout can put in your path comes down to three key components:
Work with a team of experts that can provide years of hands-on experience planning, deploying, operating, and maintaining mobile transport networks
Employ innovative methodologies and proven techniques that deliver real-world value and can easily integrate with your existing processes.
Leverage the latest software tools and AI advancements that enable precise data-driven actions and automation and efficiency upgrades.
Unfortunately, not every operator has the resources in place to quickly scale up for demanding deployments. Many operators were forced to reduce the size of their teams during the pandemic in an effort to cut OPEX costs. While the bottom-line benefits were immediate, the personnel deficit quickly impacted operators’ ability to meet the increasing demands of challenging deployment scenarios.
Sue Marek, contributing editor for Fierce Wireless put it simply “wireless operators are reducing head counts so that they can cut costs. But on the other hand, they are desperately trying to hire in areas where they lack expertise… finding qualified workers is an issue for every part of the wireless industry.”
For many operators, the simplest and most affordable way to meet rollout resource requirements is partnering with an outsourced service provider that has the on-demand Team, Technique, and Technology needed.
Ceragon is Your Rollout Partner...
If you start from the understanding that the industry average for first-time-right rollouts is 50% and compare that to the 80% average of Ceragon, you immediately recognize the massive benefit of working with experienced professionals.
The unique combination of Team, Technique, and Technology is the key differentiator that sets Ceragon apart from other Network Service Providers. With more than a quarter of a century of hands-on experience planning, deploying, operating, and maintaining mobile transport networks, Ceragon’s team is flexible and quick to adapt, navigating around challenges that might otherwise knock out a network novice. Ceragon’s transport network planning and deployment services are comprised of tried and tested methodologies that easily integrate with Communications Service Provider (CSP) existing processes.
Ceragon’s suite of proprietary in-house software tools feature unique predictive and preventive analytics capabilities that leverage the latest AI technology. If you are looking for a fast, affordable way to cut through the chaos and complexity of network rollouts Ceragon’s experience as a service provider makes them an invaluable option.
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