Key take-aways for successfully managing SON

While there is no doubt about the overall necessity for operators to introduce automation in their networks for OPEX reduction for instance, it cannot be done without visibility on the impact of its introduction and the appropriate solutions to control them. It is critical when introducing this new technology in a network to have an independent visibility on the effects on network QoS and subscribers’ QoE.
Astellia has thorough expertise based on extensive field experience in helping operators manage their Self-Organizing Network, from the early stages of deployment (evaluating a SON solution, selecting a provider) to SON optimization (fine-tuning multiple SON features). Being vendor independent, Astellia supports any self-organizing network architecture (centralized, distributed or hybrid) and any SON feature that concerns network optimization (ANR, automatic PCI allocation, MRO, MLB, etc.). By correlating SON activity with network QoS, Astellia brings unique capabilities to identify and troubleshoot SON dysfunctions. Equally, Astellia can measure SON efficiency by evaluating its impact on network performance and subscribers’ QoE.
1. Analyzing SON activity
The first step when deploying a SON feature is to understand how it impacts network configuration. This can be done by measuring SON activity. Depending on the SON solution, activity can be monitored either at the OMC (Centralized SON) or on the signalling interface (Distributed SON: example on 4G: X2 interface). Astellia supports both solutions and provides for each one a full range of KPIs dedicated to each SON feature (ANR, MLB, MRO, etc), allowing identification of abnormal Self-Organizing Network behaviour. 
2. Troubleshooting SON dysfunctions
As with any new complex system, SON is likely to suffer from software bugs, dysfunctions and wrong parameter settings. SON features are quite recent, not completely standardized nor can they be tested in a lab environment. Therefore it is of utmost importance to identify abnormal behaviour and to be able to investigate deeply and find the root cause of failure. Astellia proposes a complete troubleshooting solution, including a library of KPIs dedicated to SON, the ability to drill-down to call data records and call flow analysis on any RAN interface (Iub, Abis, X2, LTE RRC). Furthermore, Astellia’s solution gives mobile operators the means to investigate multiple dimensions: network, handset and subscriber.
3. Measuring SON efficiency
Besides validating the different SON features, it is important to guarantee the stability and timely convergence of algorithms. Because they are impacting live parameters of the network, operators need to have a clear visibility on trends, timing and amplitude of SON actions. Correlating QoS with SON reconfiguration orders in one single graph makes it possible to measure their positive or negative effect over time on customer experience and network performance. The user can start the evaluation at cluster level and drill down intuitively to the cells that have been impacted by SON.