Carrier Service Providers (CSPs) are facing challenges stemming from the increased 4G LTE Performance Monitoring complexity. To address these challenges, many CSPs, especially Tier-1 and Tier-2 ones, are partnering with innovative performance monitoring software vendors & integrators.

The biggest challenge a CSP faces is how to improve real-time visibility of the operational status of all of its networks and services given the complexity of its environment.

Real time visibility requires timely collection of performance data, intelligent analytics and insightful dashboards as well as on the spot alerts to help locate, diagnose and quickly fix performance and availability problems.

Let’s see in detail the complexity and challenges of 4G LTE Performance Monitoring.

4G LTE Performance Monitoring Complexity

4G LTE network environment is complex, consisting of

  • the radio access network (RAN) segment with
    • devices for handling data translation and signaling from the wireless infrastructure,
    • high-capacity cell site routers.
  • the backhaul segment with many large, point-to-point routers and some times microwave or millimeter-wave wireless links
  • the packet core where resources such as packet gateways, and authentication and authorization systems are located.
  • the data centers housing resources such as rewalls, load balancers, and internal LAN switches.
  • the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) core, where services like streaming video and visual voice mail reside on large, strategically located server clusters

All these systems and devices are procured from multiple vendors, which means having a single-pane-of-glass to monitor performance is difficult as either multiple NMS systems need to be integrated to a single OSS performance monitoring system or an OSS capable to collect data directly from a great variety of devices needs to be deployed.

The Data Collection Challenges

Due to the complexity of 4G LTE networks, performance monitoring depends on data collection which needs to be :

  • Extensible to collect measurements from a complex mix of vendors across various technology domains – RAN, Backhaul, Core, Data Centers and even IMS
  • Scalable to handle very large networks deployed by Tier-1 and Tier-2 CSPs
  • Agile to easily and quickly include new devices, resources and services
  • Intelligent to be able to cleanse, normalise and aggregate data collected via a variety of interfaces and protocols
  • Diversified to collect not only flow measurements but also logs and whatever needed to provide insightful info on user experience

The Reporting Challenges

Legacy monitoring systems provide simple reports and statistics that are just not enough anymore. What is needed is:

  • Dashboards that are user configurable and customizable
  • Analytics providing network insights with drill-down features to help identify rogue resources and sources of bandwidth congestion
  • Real-time operational status, focusing on high-value sites, resources and services