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Friday, October 11, 2013

SON Roadmap in 3GPP Releases


Multiple SON use cases have been specified by 3GPP for self-configuration, self-optimization and self-healing areas. In general self-configuration use cases are important at earlier phases when providing coverage whereas self-optimization and healing consider quality and capacity and they are more relevant when network usage increases.


The SON use cases are specified by three working groups according to their responsibilities: RAN2, RAN3 and SA5. RAN2 addressed only one use case: Minimization of Drive Tests (MDT) while other cases are defined by RAN3 and SA5.



While self-configuration features are mainly specified in 3GPP Release 8 and include Automated Configuration of Physical Cell Identity (ID) and Automatic Nei hbour Relation Function, self-optimization is the core content of 3GPP Release 9, where focus is on Mobility Load Balancing (MLB), Mobility Robustness Optimization (MRO) and RACH optimization. SA5 deals with self-healing features:


Cell Outage Compensation (COC) is part of Release 10. Release 10 work started in 2010 and provides MRO and MLB enhancements and Minimization of Drive Tests (MDT).

Release 11 SON still focuses mainly on failure scenarios; that is MRO in inter-RAT and HetNet plus minimization of ping-pong events; avoiding ping-pongs will reduce the number of unnecessary mobility events (i.e. signalling) and decrease UE power consumption. The main focus of Release 11 MDT is QoS verification.

Energy Saving (ES) has been specified since Release 9 for Intra-LTE. However, an Energy Saving Release 10 Study Item extends ES to more scenarios, like the multi-RAT one; in addition mechanisms for waking up cells which are in ‘energy saving’ state have also been discussed. The Energy Saving Work Item is in Release 11.

 LTE-Advanced features are introduced in Release 10: those include carrier aggregation, uplink and downlink MIMO enhancements, relay nodes and optimized interworking between cell layers in heterogeneous network. Self-configuration and Automatic Neighbour Relations are specified for relay nodes. While the SON use cases specified for macro apply nicely to small cells as well, SON work Item in Release 11 specifically addresses multi-layer scenarios to tailor SON use cases to heterogeneous networks even further.
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