Small Cell Deployment Monitoring

A major wireless carrier uses streaming analytics to curb small cell deployment projects.


The Problem

A major carrier with a large deployment uses a project management system to track each step of a small cell deployment. The completion of each step gates movement to subsequent steps. Small cell deployment status from the project management system provides feedback on deployment performance and resource management. Inputting data into the project management system is a manual process. Each team is responsible for entering their required data into the system each step of the way. Unfortunately, inaccurate data and delays in updating the project management system has led to increased site visits and schedule delays. Costs for the deployment have increased significantly.

Background

Small cells are mini base stations that are important to a carrier's network strategy to improve coverage and capacity. Small cells augment an existing macro base station network to efficiently use existing spectrum, offload traffic, and improve indoor coverage. Forecasts for small cell deployment worldwide show tremendous growth with enterprise small cell shipments leading the way with 270% growth rate. Small cell revenue is expected to grow to $6.7 billion for 2016.

Desired Outcome

  • Get a better solution for tracking small cell deployment progress.
  • Reduce site-visits to small cells caused by misinformation in the current project management system.
  • Manage resources and meet tight schedules more easily in small-cell deployment projects.

Forecasts for small cell deployment worldwide show tremendous growth with enterprise small cell shipments leading the way with 270% growth rate. Small cell revenue is expected to grow to $6.7 billion for 2016. Deploying small cells and integrating them into a carrier's existing network is a challenging operation involving many steps and teams.


The Solution

Fortunately, the ExtraHop platform was deployed by the carrier to automatically track deployment progress by analyzing wire data on the small cell backhaul. Deployment processes already send data to core systems such as the DHCP server for IP assignment, the EMS (Element Management System) systems for configuration and management. ExtraHop is able to track these transactions and the deployment progress in real-time on the wire. Additionally, ExtraHop is able to update the carrier's project management system automatically with accurate, real-time data through the use of ExtraHop's Open Data Stream.

User Impact

The carrier was able to significantly improve the deployment performance. With real-time analysis, the carrier was able to deploy teams quickly with just-in-time performance which improved scheduling performance significantly. They also reduced site visits due to errors which brought costs under control.

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