WiMAX Operators Maximising Opportunities with LTE

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At the end of this blog, we answer the following frequently asked questions in addition to other topics:

Q1. What is LTE?

Q2. What is 5G NR?

How Much Better Is LTE Than WiMAX?

With its promise of high-speed bandwidth and ubiquitous reach, LTE is stealing the limelight from WiMAX. Operators are shifting from WiMAX to LTE as it provides them with an option to utilize both the technologies with co-existence to fulfil the customer’s ever-increasing demands. This is where implementation of next-generation ready LTE BSS can play a vital role in terms of helping WiMAX operators seamlessly migrate to LTE, while at the same time optimizing their existing network resources.

How Can Operators Transition From WiMAX to LTE?

Hence, operators can achieve complete WiMAX-to-LTE transformation by upgrading the existing WiMAX platform to support LTE + WiMAX components through cost-effective integration with existing/3rd party components. The biggest pain area for the WiMAX operators is quick time to market. Since the Product catalogue and OCS are not seamlessly integrated into their legacy network, it takes a longer time to launch offers because of multi-vendor involvement and integration time. Also, legacy IT systems are not capable of handling multiple next-generation services on a single platform affecting overall revenue opportunities.

To accommodate these requirements, it is essential that the BSS/OSS architecture is an agile, plug and play system comprising Convergent Billing, Customer Management, OCS, PCRF, Provisioning, Business Analytics and Selfcare Portals that will enable operators to launch new LTE data and voice services quickly to the market.

How Do Operators Stand to Gain From Embracing LTE?

Without a single service disruption, operators can maximize revenue opportunities through service innovation on a single platform, achieving faster integration with the existing network, performance optimization and operational efficiencies at minimum CAPEX. Evolving their network to embrace LTE, operators should opt for a 3GPP & TM Forum Standard-based pre-integrated platform of complete fulfilment, assurance and billing capabilities or with only a few modules such as OCS and PCRF leveraging their legacy IT system to launch new LTE services, achieving minimal system changes and reduced TCO.

With this innovative approach, operators can promote advanced service plans (for ex- family plans, Facebook free) around specific consumer activities and behaviours, deliver on data plan innovations, utilize balance network resources with customer experience, while at the same time increase customer engagement and loyalty through a contextual offering. Network migration is a complex process that needs careful planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is LTE?

LTE or commonly known as long-term evolution is a global open interoperable standard for wireless high-speed cellular data and is the technology behind today’s 4G cellular networks. LTE provides high-speed mobile broadband data, telephone services like VoLTE ie Voice over LTE, Multimedia video support, public safety functions such as secure database access, computer-aided design, mapping, remote management systems, and non-mission critical push to talk service. This standard is developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

An LTE network has four major components: Core Network (Often called the brain of the subsystem, it consists of gateways and servers that control access, quality of service, billing, and network policies), Radio Access Network (These are the cell sites/towers and consists of transceiver equipment eNodeB and antennas that provides wireless coverage to the device), backhaul network(It consists of fibre & microwave connections and it connects the radio access network to the core network), User Equipment (It consists of mobile devices, routers etc. and it helps connect directly to the radio access network).

Four major features of LTE are:

a) Exclusive Spectrum – Better spectrum allocation with the division between commercial and mission-critical services

b) High Speed – LTE networks are typically designed with three sectors on each site and each sector supports the same amount of data. Each sector usually supports 40Mbps of data.

c) Priority and Preemption – It allows the network operator to make sure that the most important traffic always gets allocated to the priority user even if the network gets busy.

d) Self Organising Networks (SON) – It allows the network to automatically self-heal itself during outages ie temporarily one cell site can compensate for the non-functional site avoiding a communication blackout. This allows the users in the sector to access the service but the throughput may vary because more users get added to the specific sector.

Q2. What is 5G NR?

“5G typically refers to the fifth generation of wireless technology and NR or commonly known as New Radio is a set standard developed by the 3GPP Group (Release 15 being the first version introduced back in 2018) outlining the technology required to harness the newly-available millimetre-wave frequencies. The two frequency bands in which 5GNR operates are Frequency Range 1 ie Sub 6GHz band (410 MHz to 7125 MHz) and Frequency Range 2 ie millimetre-wave (24.25 GHz to 52.6 GHz). Over 4G LTE, 5G NR provides better spectrum utilization, faster data rates, hardware efficiency, and improved signal processing.

From a deployment standpoint, we have Non-Standalone Mode(NSA), Dynamic Spectrum Sharing(DSS), and Standalone Mode (SA). The initial deployments of 5G NR are based on NSA standards, meaning the existing 4G LTE network will operate on the control plane, and 5G NR will be introduced to the user plane. This particular standard was introduced by 3GPP keeping in mind the industry’s push to faster 5G services rollout while utilising the existing 4G LTE infrastructure, currently in place. On the other hand, operators are also implementing Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) for accelerating the deployment cycle, reducing costs, and improving spectrum utilisation. In this standard same spectrum is shared between the 5G NR and 4G LTE, while being multiplexed over time as per the user demands. Lastly, we have the Standalone Mode (SA) which is moving towards a complete 5G based network where both signalling and the information transfer are driven by a 5G cell.  

Going forward, 5G will enable new services, connect new industries and devices, empower new experiences, and much more, providing mission-critical services, enhanced mobile broadband, and a massive number of things.

a) Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) Applications: High device connectivity, High mobile data rates, and Mobile AR & VR applications

b) Ultra-reliable, low-latency communications (uRLLC)Applications: Autonomous vehicles, Drones, Data monitoring, Smart mfg.

c) Massive machine-type communications (mMTC) Applications: Healthcare, Industry 4.0, Logistics, Environmental monitoring, Smart farming, Smart grids.

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