Network Design/Planning & Implementation

 Detailed design and planning is carried out to deliver parameter planning, frequency planning, traffic planning, neighbor planning and creation of data build.

 

CW Test and model tuning 

Model Tuning, one of the important modules of Radio Network Planning & Design, simulates the propagation of the RF signal on the air in order to obtain accurate radio coverage and interference predictions in the service area.

The model tuning is usually accomplished through elaborate and costly tests based on CW Test measurements. The measurements are performed in the different areas of the planned network. Collected data is used to tune the propagation model parameters in planning and stimulation tools.

 

Coverage, Capacity & Nominal Cell Plan

Coverage Planning: The target for coverage planning is to find optimal locations for base stations to build continuous coverage according to the planning requirements. Especially in the case of a coverage limited network the BTS location is critical. With a capacity limited network the capacity requirements also need to be considered. Coverage planning is performed with a planning tool including a digital map with topography and morthography information. The propagation model is selected and customized with model tuning measurements before the coverage planning phase has been started. The model selection is done according to the planning parameters, e.g. frequency, macro/micro cell environment, BTS antenna height. The coverage prediction is based on the map and the model and therefore the accuracy is dependent on those as well.

Capacity Planning: The preliminary capacity planning has already been done in the dimensioning phase of the network planning process. In the capacity planning phase a detailed capacity per cell level is estimated. The prior task was to select the base station locations and calculate the coverage area using actual BTS parameters. The capacity allocation is based on these coverage maps and traffic estimates, which can be a separate layer on the map of the planning tool. The coverage dominance map provides the information for the cell borders.

Nominal cell planning: Using the information specifying the coverage and capacity requirements for voice and data services of the radio network being planned creates the Nominal Cell Plan. Planning tools (viz. Atoll, Planet EV, ASSET3G etc) help perform Nominal cell planning activities using the propagation loss model as generated by model tuning and other relevant marketing inputs.

 

Site survey and candidate identification

The radio planner, based on the coverage plans, starts identifying specific areas for prospective sites. Radio planners in conjunction with the transmission planners, installation engineers and civil engineers try to make this process faster by inspecting the site candidates according to their criteria and coming to a collective decision on whether the candidate site can be used as a cell site or not.

 

Frequency and neighbour planning

Frequency planning: As the number of channels available is less than the capacity likely to be demanded, frequency planning becomes a crucial task. As frequency re-use becomes lower, the quality (and hence throughput) becomes lower.

Neighbour planning is done with the coverage planning tool using the frequency plan information. The basic rule is to take the neighbouring cells from the first two tiers of the surrounding BTSs: all cells from the first circle and cells pointing to the target cell from the second circle.

 

Interference analysis

Co-channel interference arises when same radio resources are used in different cells (nearby each other) at the same time. In cellular networks there is always co-channel interference. By using various radio resource reuse techniques the impact of interference can be removed. Yet, the cost of such resource reuse is usually lower overall capacity in the system. 

 

Parameter planning

Parameter planning is actually a very short phase before the launch of the radio network because the radio network parameter values are typically fixed and because their values are based on the measurements from the other networks and thus on precedence. Typically parameter is divided into subgroups like signaling, radio resource management, mobility management, neighbour base station measurements, handover and power control.

 

Field measurement and acceptance testing

After the planning phase has been finished the aim of the prelaunch optimization phase is to ensure optimal operation of the network. In addition to fine-tuning a search is made for possible mistakes that might have occurred during the installation. Pre-launch optimization is high level optimization but does not go into detail. Network optimization continues after the launch and goes into a more detailed level. At that point the detailed level is easier to reach due to growing traffic.

The quality of service requirements for the cellular network, i.e. coverage, capacity and quality requirements, are the basis for dimensioning. The targets are specified with key performance indicators (KPIs), which show the target to meet before network acceptance. Drive testing is used as the testing method for the network functionality verification. During the verification the functionality of different services agreed with the operator has to be tested.

 

Supporting the installations and commissioning

Planning and implementing a comprehensive plan of action for installation & commissioning with turnkey ease and full performance and functionality. With specialized testing equipment and procedures, the system will not only operate effectively, but will be efficiently installed with standardized solutions. Future maintenance costs can therefore be minimized. The services include BTS installations and commissioning, microwave link head alignment, antenna, power unit, rectifier & battery bank installation, wiring, grounding, shelter erection.

 

Final Network Plan & Documentation

The output of the network dimensioning phase is a network master plan with details of all required network elements, subscriber capacity, traffic capacity and transmission requirements. The master plan also provides other important information regarding the network architecture and phases of network. The master plan is an important input to the next phase of planning that is detailed network planning.

Detailed network planning is the phase where documents necessary to prepare source data for network element implementation are prepared. The implementation documents are based on the master plan prepared in the previous module and other inputs provided by the operator. After the detailed network planning documents, the other important task in detailed network planning is to produce the source data necessary to integrate for each network element.

 

Pre-launch optimization

The service includes finding and solving any discrepancies between the design and the real network. It’s mainly related to site installation problems, database checks, coverage problems and handover, neighbour list problems.

Pre-launch optimization could be performed in four steps:

1. Collection of information about the network planning and definition of test areas & routes of drive tests.

2. Performing drive tests in existing network, collecting data of network performance by use of RF field measurement tools.

3. Evaluation of measurement results, analysis and reporting.

4. Final tuning and optimization of network by evaluation of test measurement results (coverage optimization, parameter adjusting).

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