LTE: Geodata Requirements Through the Network Lifecycle
Late last month, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) announced there are now 101 firm LTE network deployments in progress or planned for 41 countries. According to the GSA, there are three operational networks with more than 20 expected to be operational by the end of the year. Certainly, operator announcements and claims on the LTE front are at a fever pitch. To date, networks have supported dongles, but the first network to launch with handsets is expected by the end of this year. We expect LTE to drive geodata demand for the telecom sector for the foreseeable future and anticipate a distinct purchasing trend tied to the LTE network lifecycle.
In planning an LTE network, an operator’s requirements for geodata diverge dramatically if they have an existing network or are a new entrant starting up their operations. A company or business venture contemplating a network rollout and related spectrum purchases may choose to buy countrywide data at a lower resolution (i.e.,
data). Once the business case has been proven, this same operator may update clutter for early targeted areas (i.e., population centers) and migrate to an
RF planning for urban areas, where people expect indoor and outdoor smartphone data services, requires the use of higher resolution 3D data. This sub-meter resolution data lets the RF engineer use advanced RF prediction models designed to model propagation phenomena in the vertical and horizontal planes — something impossible to do using traditional 2D data. We are already experiencing a huge increase in demand for 3D data by operators deploying HSPA+ and EVDO networks. While these operators are in the optimization phase of their networks, most will migrate at some point to the more spectrally efficient LTE standard.
Operators building out their networks require geodata based on the latest vintage data. Simulation-based planning using software applications from leading vendors requires geodata that accurately reproduces the physical environment. If not, the resulting RF plans will not operate as expected after implementation. Using a single geodata supplier helps ensure that clutter classes — a favorite subscriber segmentation tool for RF engineers — remain consistent. It also lets an operator’s engineering team confidently apply the same assumptions across their entire network as it expands and evolves.
Of course, service providers operating their network also need to consider vintage of their data. The ComputaMaps Change Detection and Update Service was designed for the needs of the mature 3G network operator undertaking network densification exercises (i.e., optimization of their operating network) to support wireless data proliferation. The service lets an operator assess what parts of their geodata are “stale” and upgrade only those areas. With some industry observers predicting up to 10x more base stations to serve future wireless data needs based on LTE technology, inter-site distances are expected to diminish. To avoid interference and operate these dense networks will require exceptionally accurate and recent geodata.
While the LTE standard includes the concept of self-optimizing networks, it is likely that planning and optimization processes improved in 3G+ network deployments will be employed until software applications and vendor systems can support “plug-and-play” base station deployment. Geodata will continue to have a strong role to play in this environment, likely in the cloud, and this is a strategic focus for ComputaMaps.
At ComputaMaps we have witnessed the 2G and 3G network lifecycles. Our product lines have evolved as computer hardware has progressed and RF planning software has improved to take advantage of increased processing power. Now, as LTE networks start to deploy, we have a full product portfolio, access to leading suppliers of the latest-vintage high-resolution imagery, increased capacity to produce 3D data and the benefit of experience. Let us help you navigate your organization’s geodata requirements through the lifecycle of your LTE network.
News & Events
We’ll be on the road again this quarter evangelizing our products in your region. We’d love to reconnect if you’ll be attending the shows below or would like a personal meeting. Please contact your account manager or use the feedback form and we’ll make the arrangements.
See ComputaMaps at Futurecom in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
from October 25-27. We’ll be in exhibit stand A28.
We’ll also be exhibiting in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area at the LTE North America event in Plano, Texas, November 10-11, 2010, in this growing trade show series. Come by and see us and we’ll demonstrate the impressive list of our 3D projects for the United States.