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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds In this lesson, we’ll discuss the concept of SON, how it came to be, the different SON architectures, the main SON features, and some use cases. Sit back and relax, the automatic pilot is now engaged. So what exactly is SON? The simplest answer is that SON is a solution that automates specific RAN optimization processes. But why is this necessary? Well, these days, more and more service providers are running multi-technology networks comprising of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies. These networks are very complex in architecture and management. Performing RAN optimization tasks manually on these complex networks is prone to human errors, can be very challenging, and in some scenarios, even not feasible.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds Thus, the industry has pushed for the introduction of automation into the RAN Optimization domain, which was named SON. Looking back a decade or more, the optimization processes were carried out manually by dedicated optimization engineers, with the help of specialized tools. The networks back then were rather simple, with a single technology, mainly 2G. Practices and approaches first learnt on 2G networks were extended to 3G, once these networks were deployed. However, very quickly, the optimization engineers figured out that the day-to-day optimization tasks were getting more challenging to fulfill, due to the sharp increase in the number of base stations that were deployed and the thousands of parameters that had to be configured.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds In 2007, when initial discussions of the future technology began, there was a pivotal moment in which the industry announced “enough is enough”, “we can’t have more of the same with LTE”. This led the standardization bodies to include SON as an inherent part of the LTE standards, and it was part of the first LTE standard released by 3GPP around 2009. As such, SON was an integral part of the LTE infrastructure that was delivered by the network equipment providers, such as Ericsson and Nokia. Initially, only LTE SON was supported. Over the last couple of years, the operators have identified the benefits of running SON and realized that similar functionality can be offered also in 2G and 3G.

Skip to 2 minutes and 46 seconds This opened the market to multi-technology SON use cases, provided mainly by independent providers such as Amdocs, Celwize and others. The importance of SON has led to the creation of several global projects looking into automation of processes in a similar manner to SON.

Skip to 3 minutes and 6 seconds One of these is Semafour: a project that aims to design and develop a unified self-management system, which will enable the network operators to holistically manage and operate their complex heterogeneous mobile networks.

The Ultimate Goal: Self-Organization of Networks

In this first video, we’ll introduce the concept of Self-Organizing Networks (SON), explain how it came to be and discuss why it is the “ultimate optimization goal”.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Radio Network Optimization