Objective-Driven Operations of Self-Organizing Networks

Start date: 01.01.2014
Funded by: Universität Augsburg
Local head of project: Christoph Frenzel


Mobile communications are an integral part of modern society. People want to talk to their friends, play on-line games, or watch YouTube videos while they are on the go. This forces Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to continuously upgrade and extend their mobile networks in order to keep up with the ever growing data rate requirements and provide the users with satisfactory Quality of Service (QoS). However, user are not willing to pay more for mobile communications leading to a decrease in the price per data unit. Due to this development, MNOs are faced with a serious pressure to reduce their Operational Expenditure (OPEX). The focus, thereby, lies on the reduction of manual efforts in network operations, i.e., the configuration and control of the Base Stations (BSs) such that the operational objectives by the MNO, defined as target values for network Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), are satisfied.

Self-Organizing Network (SON) is a concept for automating the operation of mobile networks by relieving human operators from repetitive, low-level network operations tasks. In principle, a SON consists of a set of close-loop control functions, referred to as SON functions, which perform specific operations tasks. For instance, Coverage and Capacity Optimization (CCO) improves the network capacity and Mobility Robustness Optimization (MRO) optimizes the handover performance. The introduction of SON lifts the work of human operators from network operations to SON operations: instead of analyzing and configuring all the BSs in the network, the operational personnel has to configure and control the SON functions in order to adapt them to the network environment and specific operational objectives. This is due to the gap between the objectives and the low-level, technical configuration interface of the SON functions. As a result, MNOs ask for a further increase in the level of automation.

This project aims to develop the Objective-Driven SON Operations (ODSO) concept that enables autonomic mobile network operations, i.e., the control of network operations through operational objectives on network KPIs. ODSO is built on top of SON and automates three manual tasks of SON operations: SON management that configures the SON functions, SON coordination that detects and resolves run-time conflicts between the concurrently running SON functions, and SON self-healing that detects and resolves failures in the network and the SON system.