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Openet's RAN Congestion Manager Optimizes Network Operator Performance

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January 13, 2011

Openet's RAN Congestion Manager Optimizes Network Operator Performance

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

There is an obvious trend occurring in the market that is intensifying demands on network operators. In an environment where it used to be enough to provide consumers with the ability to talk and occasionally text, IP-based services are now in high demand.

Consumers and businesses alike now want smartphones, streaming music, peer-to-peer video, location-based services, downloads and file sharing, social networking, messaging, secure proxies and virtual private networks. Such capabilities are changing the way we communicate, while also causing network congestion.

Network operators are now dealing with congestion during peak periods and without proper congestion management policies in place, subscribers are experiencing a less than satisfying experience. The increase in subscriber applications and the demand for bandwidth are increasing the requirement for congestion management to prevent dropped calls, churn, bad publicity and customer dissatisfaction with services.

To capitalize on congestion management, operators are making investments to increase bandwidth and coverage in the network. They are also accelerating capital investments, including new cell sites, radio network controllers and carriers, and fiber-based Ethernet backhaul to the IP-core.

Overcoming congestion challenges will require that the network operators make changes at a variety of levels. This focus will span the network domains, including RAN connectivity, RAN signaling, and the subscriber data path, or bandwidth. Congestion issues can potentially occur at any time and at any site, increasing the complexity of tackling this challenge and delivering the optimal experience for the customer.

Openet offers a solution to help network operators achieve congestion management to ensure they can meet the demands of the users while also delivering satisfaction. The RAN Congestion Manager is a topology aware tool with a GIS front-end. This tool provides congestion forecast on cell-sites and locations and includes a simulation tool based on the “what if” analysis.

The Openet (News - Alert) Policy Manager is based on IP-based network optimization use cases and proactively pushes policy controls to issues as they arise. The Policy Manager includes test framework to test the impact of rule changes and decisions to manage capacity to keep aware of the subscriber and network state. The Policy Manager also keeps abreast of all activity, profile, device, user history and usage limits.

Effective congestion management demands intelligence and the RAN Congestion Manager maintains a rolling period of network performance and subscriber behavior data. This solution also predicts where congestion may occur, whether by cell site, date, time or weight. When congestion is predicted, it is assigned a congestion metric to indicate a traffic contribution. The solution can also be used to perform “what if” analysis to determine the impact of applying a particular policy.

To address causes and effects of congestion, the Openet congestion management solution determines a busy hour fair usage that assigns each subscriber a usage limit for peak periods; identifies excessive users on a per cell site; tracks and limits the number of subscribers accessing a cell site at one time; gives operators the ability to ensure premium services or plans receive preferred treatment; and shifts large volumes of usage for applications such as peer-to-peer to off-peak periods.

To deliver the optimum experience for all involved, congestion management needs to be proactive. Openet delivers the RAN Congestion Solution to proactive manage congestion problems before they occur.

This solution will track subscriber and network state for congested areas; implement policies to target congested cells and/or devices and services causing congestion; deliver predicted congestion for cells contributing to radio access connectivity and RAN backhaul link congestion; and manage the balance between network growth and CAPEX investment.

In short, Openet delivers the congestion management solutions necessary for the network operator to create a Quality of Service (QoS) differentiator to enhance the overall subscriber Quality of Experience (QoE).

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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