Ericsson and Nokia are Raising SONs Differently

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I have never read this book although I probably should, but it was funny in context of Self Optimizing Networks (SONs) and there you go. Ericsson and Nokia made announcements at this years MWC that were carefully crafted to be as different from each other as possible, yet when digging deeper into what details they provide publicly they are very close. 

Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) went first and announced they are extending their iSON (intelligent Self Optimizing Networks) platform with SON for Core. As 3GPP SON standards go, the use cases they defined are currently mostly applicable to items like Radio Resource Management and so on, mostly applying eNB (radio) side. NSN is touting core optimization, which I guess in the LTE context would be sGW/pGW/MME. There are a few optimizations that you could probably make but note, elements like MME already have load sharing defined…There’s not many details of what gets optimized but I guess they could do things like automate provisioning, power down unused HW during low traffic, implement overhead load reduction strategies during peaks, change IP settings during peak times, maybe do some caching in control and user plane and maybe have per route IP settings. It’s not clear from their announcement. I’m not sure how the PCRF factors into this strategy either. Overall their iSON strategy claims 3G network integration and multivendor control capability too so obviously you have to be a 3GPP network to get this full benefit, so in the US T-Mobile (recently announced LTE plans) and ATT would be able to deploy. Their executive summary on iSON is here.

On the other hand, we have Ericsson that has announced that their approach to raising SON’s is to focus the sale on the SON Optimization Manager. Is it just me or is that circular/redundant logic? Anyway, their approach is to use this platform to control 3G and 4G radio resources. Since Ericsson acquired Nortel, I’m not sure if this platform is 3GPP only or if it extends into 3GPP2 (CDMA) land. Ericsson also mentions HetNets although they don’t say this is a small cell controller or coordinator per se, just a mention which is a bonus point for them. Here is a link to their white paper describing their SON.

In summary the Ericsson approach is about the simplicity of dropping in the SON Manager platform whereas the NSN approach is more about extending their iSON portfolio (NetAct) to the core. Either way these companies are entertaining with their high energy press release and MWC demos with lots of hype but a lack of detail that keeps us guessing. BTW if you were wondering, the iSON and Ericsson SON Optimization platform are not necessarily unique, the smaller vendors (market share) have this much capability and more. Just my $0.02. 

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