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Sep 10 2015

Operators - discover why these three new 3G features should be your top priority

This blog is by Anna-Kaarina Pietilä at Nokia Networks. Twitter: @annapietil

‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.’ This old proverb describes perfectly how seemingly modest improvements in 3G have over the years built the technology into a vast global communications grid that serves close to two billion subscribers and carries most of today’s mobile broadband traffic, with WCDMA annual traffic still doubling over the past two years in many markets.

The latest of these incremental improvements from Nokia include three new WCDMA/HSPA software features added to the Nokia Liquid Radio WCDMA Software Suite. Importantly, the features help operators address demand even more efficiently by providing higher capacity, improving LTE interworking and smartly adapting to device behavior.

Serving 80 more subscribers per cell

First up is the HSPA Subscriber Increase feature that enables a single cell to handle up to 208 subscribers, far more than the 128 subscribers normally possible. This enables operators to cover hotspots more efficiently, reducing capital costs and energy use. Coupled with the existing High Speed Cell FACH software feature that enables a base station to serve smartphones far more efficiently than before, the new HSPA Subscriber Increase feature allows more users per cell in hotspots – thus further enhancing the cell capacity. In addition, it introduces a flexible and operator definable capacity step upgrade capability based on traffic increases.

Protecting LTE networks from overload

The second new software feature ensures that traffic steering does not overload LTE networks. When an LTE cell becomes fully loaded and initiates handover to WCDMA or starts to reject handovers from WCDMA cells, the new WCDMA-LTE Load Balancing feature suspends all traffic steering functions towards LTE. The feature also tells devices which LTE cells are fully loaded, preventing them from trying to redirect onto these cells until they are freed up.

The WCDMA-LTE Load Balancing feature helps operators with a rapidly growing base of LTE subscribers or those with limited LTE bandwidth to ensure that their high-value LTE subscribers always get the best experiences.

Device detection speeds up launch of new capabilities

Nokia 3G networks already intelligently adapt to prevailing conditions such as signaling behavior and interference. Now, with the new Device Detection feature they can also adapt to the capabilities of devices that don’t do what they are supposed to.

When introducing a new network capability, such as Continuous Packet Connectivity (CPC) that uses radio resources more efficiently by allowing signaling only when data is sent, operators can find that some devices do not work properly even though they are claimed to be compatible.

The new feature solves this problem by restricting access to the technology to only those devices known to work properly with the capability. Other devices that have been found to misbehave are identified and blocked from using the capability. This allows an operator to control which devices use a new network capability to test its effectiveness without being distracted by incompatible devices. Trial periods are shortened, enabling operators to quickly realize a network upgrade’s full benefits.

These three new software features extend the already wide range of capabilities available in the Nokia Liquid Radio WCDMA Software Suite to keep 3G as fresh today for most mobile subscribers as it has ever been.

For a deeper dive, please visit our WCDMA/HSPA portfolio page and read our Liquid Radio Software Suites Executive Summary.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – and join the discussion with @nokianetworks on Twitter using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband.

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About Anna-Kaarina Pietilä

Anna-Kaarina Pietilä is responsible for AirScale and AirScale Cloud RAN at Nokia. She enjoys writing blogs about these solutions and about innovative, high-quality software which improve smartphone experience and network capacity. She holds an MA from Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku and is based in Finland.

Tweet me at @annapietil