Reference: Centralized Network-Management for Vodafone

The number of smartphones has been growing constantly for years, driving demand for ever greater bandwidths in mobile networks. Vodafone is responding to this challenge with MicroNova’s Common Planning & Configuration Manager (CPCM) in order to plan and configure its mobile communications network.

Over 26 million smartphones were sold in Germany in 2015, and sales of around 27.9 million units are expected in 2016. User numbers and data volumes are correspondingly high. 2015 saw almost 115 million registered SIM cards and over 500 million gigabytes of data traffic reaching over 900 million GB in 2016. Hence, mobile network operators are being forced to expand their networks in ever shorter cycles by building additional base stations and implementing more modern technologies, such as LTE, in order to meet the rapidly growing demand from their customers.

Besides dealing with the amount of calls and data, mobile network operators also have to implement changes in their networks quickly and frequently. Major events, vacation periods, and unexpected disasters sometimes require fast changes to network configurations.

Moreover, mobile network operators generally depend on different suppliers to set up and operate their networks, resulting in the need to integrate a large number of components into a large and reliable whole. “Every mobile network is a living organism,” confirms mobile communications expert Professor Mathias Gabrysch, who, among other things, teaches innovation management at The Munich University of Applied Sciences and who used to work in the Network Management Division at Huawei.

Vodafone GmbH faced similar challenges when it invited global tenders for a powerful solution to configure its network.

The Solution – CPCM from MicroNova

MicroNova won the contract against rival bidders with its Common Planning & Configuration Manager. CPCM has been in use in the field of mobile communications for over ten years and has been continuously developed in close collaboration with network operators. The focus has always been on a high degree of practical relevance in order to make the daily work of managers and staff engaged in network planning and configuration easier and more efficient. Vodafone Germany was the first organization within the global telecommunications group to choose MicroNova as its vendor, which led to the introduction of CPCM.

One of the many advantages of CPCM is the speed at which new networks can be integrated into existing infrastructures – a significant competitive advantage when expanding a network. It is irrelevant who manufactures the equipment or which technology is deployed, as CPCM generates the OEM-specific configuration data for all suppliers of GSM, UMTS, and LTE technology. Furthermore, the solution offers a high degree of flexibility and process support.

The Outcome – Centralized Network Management

Vodafone and MicroNova split the introduction of CPCM into two phases. MicroNova was not only responsible for supplying the software components, but it also integrated the solution into Vodafone’s existing processes. The integration of CPCM into the existing mobile communications network – radio access network, or RAN for short – which consisted of equipment from a number of suppliers, was completed in October 2014. Since then, Vodafone has been using CPCM to monitor and optimize the configuration of its active network and to define centralized guidelines.

MicroNova launched the second phase of the project in parallel in October 2014 in order to integrate the CPCM network management solution into Vodafone’s system environment as well as to connect it to planning and optimization tools. This now enables Vodafone to configure RAN planning data from a single system and upload them into the live network via an automated process.

“We are delighted that Vodafone Germany chose our solution,” says Georg Kieferl, Director Telecommunications & Network Management at MicroNova. “Thanks to its cross-vendor approach that covers a range of technologies, CPCM meets the high demands of leading mobile network operators. Reliability and future viability are thus guaranteed.”

Conclusion

Thanks to MicroNova’s Common Planning & Configuration Manager, Vodafone is able to continuously monitor and optimize its mobile communications network in Germany. Network parameters can be configured more easily and uploaded to the live network. The rapid integration of additional network equipment makes a significant contribution to current and future customer satisfaction. Vodafone enjoys all these benefits via a centralized, consolidated solution.