As data consumption surges, mobile network operators (MNOs) are tasked with increasing network bandwidth and capacity demands – which means finding, planning, and bringing more mobile RAN sites on air. Operators know all too well the process of acquiring sites, evaluating candidates, and negotiating leases is cumbersome. When selecting a new site candidate, demographics, access to power supply, the line of sight or a backbone transport network, and contract terms with the property owner – all must be considered.
When a candidate is selected, the planning and procurement of site assets can begin. Due to their complexity, these assets need highly sophisticated rollout management. After all, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of parameters, that must be considered.
Fortunately, software solutions can make it easier to find, plan, and document all facets of the RAN rollout process. Features that will yield the biggest benefits include one central database, GIS-based location intelligence, and analytics.
A Central Database
Rollout project managers must know exactly which sites are available and have access to detailed information about them. FNT Command can provide a verified inventory of all sites, their infrastructure assets, active equipment, passive cabling, power, cooling and configurations. All physical, logical, and virtual resources, along with acquisition data, are stored within a central database and managed holistically. This gives project managers a complete view that can assist with decision making while transport network engineers can concentrate on planning the new backhaul links, POPs and edge datacenters – all using the same database.
Such a database also serves as a digital twin of the network. FNT Command delivers a digital twin by bringing all information together into one consolidated solution. The contents are created by numerous users working with the system as well as via integrations with various workflow and engineering systems, powered by FNT IntegrationCenter. Any relevant data can be integrated into the FNT database, including schematic and georeferenced representations of fiber optic connections and even regulatory documents.
Powered by GIS
A combination of Geographic Information System (GIS) and network infrastructure details can also streamline site selection and management. FNT GeoMaps, a component within in the FNT Command Platform, enables a georeferenced way of working with mobile RAN and its backhaul connections.
Integrating GIS-based location intelligence with the digital twin of the network takes site management to another level by enabling users to visualize sites and site candidates on maps and analyze information about site acquisition status. It’s important to note that, along with RAN site, FTTx POPs and edge datacenters can also be viewed on the same map.
Accurate Reporting and Analytics
Configurable dashboards and reports that provide actual data can help MNOs determine if a site meets certain criteria. Making these determinations is more efficient and accurate when aided by FNT Analytics, which contains various interactive dashlets that analyze theoretical sites and candidates with their relations. These dashlets can take care of the heavy lifting and deliver reliable, objective answers to the evaluator’s most pressing questions.
As every site has an impact on the network and service quality, it’s vital to utilize the right software to improve site selection and RAN rollout processes. Download our Expert Paper for examples on how FNT Command can be used for planning and storing information on site candidates.