Mobile operators have well-established standard software for network monitoring, network optimization, and service monitoring. However, there is usually a glaring omission when it comes to network configuration. Yet this forms the basis for both an efficient network structure and expansion, and for the integration of new technologies – and therefore for a high-quality and profitable network. The reason for this is the complexity and versatility of network configuration, which is very difficult for standard software to depict. The challenge is illustrated by a few figures: The 3GPP standard includes around 100 to 150 parameters, meaning that several thousand settings are required for the practical implementation of the specific configuration of the vendor-specific network elements.
The configuration of a mobile network and the RAN in particular is steadily becoming more complex for network operators due to the introduction of
new technologies. Open solutions are therefore essential, since they can be flexibly adapted to new circumstances while also taking into account the main management indicators such as time-to-market, quality, and efficiency. With COM5.Mobile (formerly CPCM), MicroNova has developed a versatile, flexible best-practice solution, which is independent of the network equipment provider. The solution combines the view of the often heterogeneous regional network and management structures and allows for expansion to a central database for overarching comparisons. As a second product line, COM5.SDN addresses the transfer of existing technologies to the new structures, especially based around 5G. This enables valuable integration of innovative network and service technologies into the network operators' ecosystem.
MicroNova has designed its tried-and-tested COM5.Mobile to address the myriad challenges: The COM5.Mobile product portfolio includes COM5.Mobile Audit for monitoring and reviewing network consistency, COM5.Mobile Optimizer for optimizing the radio access network and COM5.Mobile Integrator for automated support of roll-out and integration processes, for example as part of the introduction of 5G. The entire product range can be customized to the growing needs
and network sizes of mobile operators and is ideally equipped for the integration of future mobile communications generations (5G). Investments can be quickly integrated into the live network, which has a direct positive effect on sales. COM5.Mobile makes network expansion much more efficient for operators, as the maintenance effort remains low even for larger networks.
Network equipment providers have already tried to close the various gaps with different approaches. However, as soon as system boundaries between different vendors have to be taken into account (multi-vendor capability), the corresponding concepts usually reached their limits. As a result, network operators sometimes take action themselves by developing their own, often complicated, tools. However, the solutions that have emerged over the years are not only complex and expensive, they are also becoming increasingly obsolete. This is all the more true when looking at the rapid development of mobile technologies. New functions and network technologies, software updates, switching to another network supplier – all of these are difficult to implement with concepts of this kind.
What's more, these kinds of in-house creations are often pure one-way street solutions: the live network can be configured, but it is not possible to return data from the live network to the planning network. This functionality, however, is invaluable for network operators in quality assurance, since reliable network auditing is only possible by comparing it with planning data. A complete view of the network is essential for MNOs to both plan investments in the network and comply with quality guidelines.
The entire COM5.Mobile product range is based on the framework developed by MicroNova. This already provides a powerful platform for parameter planning and configuration management of mobile networks or related radio networks (GSM-R).
Automated mechanisms to transfer the mobile communications supplier/vendor are already part of the framework (Framework Designer). The database model and the associated interfaces and import mechanisms are automatically generated based on the information supplied by the respective vendor (NBI specification). This applies both to the planning systems and for the live network systems.
The carrier-specific adjustments or mapping rules (engineering rules and parameter templates) are passed to or populated in the framework in the form of configuration data.
The modular design of the COM5.Mobile framework supports integration into the carrier-specific processes and implementation of the respective logic. Examples include the graphical representation and the mapping of the special operations to plug-ins, workflows, and specific filters (e.g. administration, planning data editor, planning data management, configuration data management, and vendor-neutral neighborhood planning, etc.).
- Security and user management
- Interface administration with the corresponding management of access rights to neighboring systems
- Scheduler for automated processes such as imports, live network reconciliations, etc.
- Parameter editor including parameter class management
- Planning data editor
- Management of templates for Network-wide Parameters (NWPs)
- Rules editor for consistency checking
- Standard configuration plug-ins for GSM / UMTS / LTE / 5G - BSC, RNC, NodeB, neighborhoods, eNodeB, BS/TRX, frequency planning, etc.
COM5.SDN forms the basis for various tools and products – starting with COM5.SDN Mediator, which offers an entry point into the SDN world. The strategic roadmap continues with COM5.SDN Radio Controller and COM5.SDN Radio Intelligence Controller, a non-real-time radio controller (or non-RT-RIC for short).
With the product line for SDN, MicroNova has extended its COM5 portfolio to meet the challenges faced by MNOs in terms of rapid implementation and short time-to-market for innovative services to support new business models. By partnering with highstreet technologies, and through its membership in 5G Berlin e. V., MicroNova has access to a complete 5G system environment for researching, developing and testing new functions from which mobile network operators and ultimately their customers benefit. Based on proven solutions, COM5.SDN Mediator ensures the secure transfer of legacy networks into an SDN architecture. COM5.SDN Radio Controller and COM5.SDN Radio Intelligence Controller are solutions for future issues of mobile telephony – with a powerful 5G network.
O-RAN or Open-RAN, lays the foundation for a standardized, open network architecture and hence for flexible, agile networks and innovative business models. SDN and NFV provide the basis for Open-RAN architecture. One of the biggest challenges in implementing an open radio access network is developing the necessary virtual network functions, where the focus is on indicators such as scalability and performance. Compared to closed, proprietary systems, O-RAN offers significant advantages for the development and operation of increasingly complex mobile radio networks due to its openness.
The powerful trend towards professional platforms such as O-RAN, developed by the open source community and freely available, provides the basis for function-oriented solutions and apps. Standardizing these apps allows them to interact seamlessly within their platform, thereby ensuring that specialist companies can develop cost-effective, highly flexible "partial" solutions. With over 15 years of experience in automating the configuration and optimization process for the radio access network, MicroNova is making a significant contribution to the standardization of the O-RAN-O1 interface. This Open RAN management standard forms the basis for the development of the COM5.SDN product family, and is already integrated into the first COM5 applications.