April 19, 2016 — Self-organizing networks (SON) have been a theory in the wireless wheelhouse for some time now. However, there has been no real deployment. But the consensus from the industry is that SON will be a key enabling technology for mobile networks, especially 5G and small cells.
Future mobile networks will be too complex and fast moving to manage manually. SONs are automated networks that utilize next-generation technology to optimize, manage, configure, plan and, most importantly, realize the self-healing capability of mobile networks. And, it does it simpler and faster. SONs also promise to bring cost savings while offering real performance enhancements. This is a real leap in technology to address the challenges of tomorrow’s networks.
Why SONs are so important to small cells is because they will be the key element in network densification, hence providing the platform for the higher capacity that will be needed in 5G networks, and beyond.
Proof of concept is turning into reality form some companies. Qualcomm has a line of small cell SON products dubbed “UltraSon,” which have been undergoing field trials and demonstrations in a number of operator scenarios. UltraSON is a suit of self-organizing and management algorithms designed to address these challenges, and enable plug-and-play, self-configuring, self-optimizing hyper-dense networks.
Expect to see some SON come on the scene, although limited, this year. And in 2017 SONs will move into the mainstream.