The benefits of self-organizing backhaul networks

The concept of self-organizing backhaul networks is not yet as widespread as the concept of SON in the context of radio-access networks. There are, however, ways in which backhaul networks can benefit from SON technology and delay investment in new architecture.

Figure 2: Key operational areas for SON concepts

Authors: Shahryar Khan, Jonas Edstam, Balázs Varga, Jonas Rosenberg, John Volkering and Martin Stümpert

As networks become densely packed with base stations, the task of installing and configuring backhaul network nodes becomes more complex and more time-consuming. Similar to the way that SON techniques that have been applied successfully to radio-access networks, SON methods can be applied to backhaul – getting more out of networks and delaying investment in next-generation architecture.

Automation in configuration of nodes is not a new idea, but as the number of nodes in backhaul networks continues to rise dramatically, adopting a zero-touch approach to installation and configuration will help to reduce rollout time, free up skilled technicians for other tasks, and keep operational costs under control.

The application of SON techniques in the backhaul are not limited to configuration, SON methods can be applied to advantage in planning stages, during operation as well as optimization. For example, by automatically gathering and correlating performance data from both the radio and backhaul domains, performance issues in the mobile network can be immediately associated with a specific part of the backhaul network.

This Ericsson Review article discusses the application of SON techniques to the backhaul network and some of the benefits that can be gained.

The benefits of self-organizing backhaul networks