"SON has been available within the standards for quite some time, yet with the new techniques and capabilities available from vendors, it has an opportunity to be even more important to wireless carriers' overall network strategy in the years ahead," remarked
LTE is being rapidly deployed throughout the world, with 209 commercial networks (http://4gamericas.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&pageid=939) today and 250 commercial LTE networks anticipated by the end of the year. The density of wireless networks is increasing rapidly to cope with the exponential growth of user traffic, mostly driven by smartphones, tablets, connected applications and video streaming. LTE and small cells enable Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) architecture, mixing macro cells and small cells for extended coverage and capacity. However, this can increase the complexity of network operation activities in an industry working to improve and streamline efficiencies. To tackle this challenge, most, if not all, major mobile operators worldwide have or are planning to deploy SON features.
SON is a promising feature defined by 3GPP to help operators automate several recurring tasks required for activities such as cell deployment and performance optimization for LTE, as well as a solution to manage network complexity while reducing operational expenses (OPEX).
SON focuses on three main areas:
* Self-Configuration functions: the ability for the network to reconfigure itself automatically when nodes are added, deleted or modified, such as Automatic Neighbor Relation (ANR)
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