Top 10 Challenges Now Facing Network Carriers

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2013-05-21 Print this article Print

Like all other sectors of IT, the mobile telecommunications business has experienced a huge evolutionary change in the last five years, thanks largely to unprecedented technical innovation in infrastructure, software and hardware. Ericsson, the world's largest supplier of mobile networking equipment, has performed in-depth data traffic research since the early days of mobile broadband. Its research shows that at the end of 2012, mobile subscriptions totaled approximately 6.6 billion; it estimates that by 2018 that number will balloon to 9.3 billion. In its annual Mobility Report (November 2012), the Sweden-based company also reported that data traffic has doubled in the last 12 months and is expected to grow by a factor of 12 by 2018. Driving all of this is the mobile application market—the growth of which is hard to fathom. Since the first mobile application was launched in 2008, the market has grown so much that it is predicted to be worth $37 billion by 2015. To accommodate the staggering demand for data and mobile applications, the network carriers certainly have their work cut out for them. eWEEK and Ericsson came up with this slide show to identify the top 10 challenges and opportunities facing the world's network carriers.

  • Top 10 Challenges Now Facing Network Carriers

    by Chris Preimesberger
    1 - Top 10 Challenges Now Facing Network Carriers
  • Expectations

    When a smartphone does not work, the user blames the network, not the phone or the server or the application. Users expect the network to "just work," but the network needs to be more than just working to deliver superior user experience; it is performance via a number of different criteria.
    2 - Expectations
  • App Coverage

    Being able to run your apps is the new "Can You Hear Me Now?" issue. Voice coverage is no longer enough; data now greatly outpaces voice in network traffic. Apps require an exponential increase in bandwidth, latency and signaling capacity to deliver the full application experience to the user.
    3 - App Coverage
  • Signaling Scale

    Many network interruptions associated with smartphones are related to signaling overload, not bandwidth overload. It is critical to understand and be able to scale and optimize the signaling capacity in the network, ensuring that the vast number of devices and applications are not causing unnecessary congestion.
    4 - Signaling Scale
  • Spectrum

    This is the most valuable asset in the telecom world. Spectrum increases are critical to app coverage and to scalability to meet the ever-expanding number of subscribers and bandwidth demands. This is true throughout the world. Increased and well-utilized spectrum will deliver better user experience.
    5 - Spectrum
  • Small-Cell Coordinated Spectrum

    On the technical side, small cells increase both app coverage and radio performance in dense areas. Small cells are low-powered radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10 meters to 1 or 2 kilometers, compared with a mobile macrocell, which might have a range of a few tens of kilometers. However, to get the most performance and to utilize spectrum, it is critical to coordinate the spectrum between the macrocells and the small cells, and to use small cells where appropriate as a complement to macrocells and microcells.
    6 - Small-Cell Coordinated Spectrum
  • Radio Performance

    Measured performance of the radio network is critical to the user experience. Network planning and tuning can deliver up to 3X improvement in bandwidth in the same markets. Fine-tuning the network through professional services is just as important as the hardware.
    7 - Radio Performance
  • Quick Network Configuration

    Service providers will soon be able to reconfigure their networks quickly (using virtualization and a software-defined networking approach) to quickly test new services; if it works, they can quickly scale it to millions. There is no longer the need to invest months of operational configuring to trial and offer a service.
    8 - Quick Network Configuration
  • Application Deployment Using APIs

    Using network application programming interfaces, developers will be able to build in the configuration of the network to their development process, using hitherto unavailable network features to improve user experience.
    9 - Application Deployment Using APIs
  • Open-Source Development

    The OpenDaylight project is aimed at providing an open-source platform where members collaborate to build common software-defined networking infrastructure. Ericsson's contribution to the collaboration is focused on expanding this intelligence from the data center into the network—providing a more integrated and simpler development environment.
    10 - Open-Source Development
  • Infrastructure Revolution

    There is a network infrastructure revolution under way that will accelerate the development and deployment of applications for the enterprise and consumer markets. Telecom providers, OEMs and developers alike need to remain aware of this and to keep abreast of new use cases and trends.
    11 - Infrastructure Revolution

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