iBwave: Designing Networks to Deliver Great in-Building Wireless Experience

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TelecomDrive.com Spotlight on Small Cell

As global operators look towards deployment of in-building wireless solutions such as Small Cell – it is very important to design their networks to future-proof growth and move ahead on delivering great customer experience.

Powering global deployments on in-building wireless segment, iBwave is enabling billions of end users and devices to connect inside a wide range of venues.

As part our Spotlight on Small Cells – Benoit Fleury, VP Product Line Management, iBwave Solutions interacts with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com on the growing importance of small cells and what innovations are being driven by iBwave to realize the full potential of this segment.

What is the small cell strategy adopted by iBwave today? How can telecoms future-proof their network with the help of small cell deployments?

iBwave’s software solutions enable end-to-end planning, design and deployment of in-building wireless networks. We support all types of technologies and network architectures including small cells, DAS, Wi-Fi, LTE, Public Safety and IoT.

As small cells become more mainstream, we aim to provide greater support for this type architecture; for example, our tablet-based iBwave Mobile Planner product is increasingly used to conduct site surveys while at the same time performing small cell based designs.

When it comes to future proofing a network, it is important to understand that it all starts with proper design practices and using proper tools. Make sure you have detailed as-built documentation and room for future upgrades in terms of capacity etc.

You can do that with the help of a professional tool like iBwave Design or iBwave Mobile. Its prediction capabilities help you design the network right the first time plus you can easily increment and adjust your design if needed in the future. Our cloud connected collaboration platform – iBwave Unity, allows your designs and projects to be stored in a central repository, so if down the road you need to make adjustments to your design you can do that easily and quickly.

Small cells promise to boost capacity and throughput in areas of high usage more cheaply than macro cell deployments – what more can be done with small cell deployment today?

In addition to capacity and throughput, because small cells can be multi-technology there is also great potential to improve end-user experience. For example both Wi-Fi and LTE technologies can be deployed within a single infrastructure thus improving user experience and saving costs at the same time.  And because we support all of these technologies in an integrated way with our tools help you design your network with true end user KPIs in mind.

Even though small cells are becoming important for telecoms – there are concerns such as tackling interference issues, hotspot identification and backhaul provision etc. – how can such issues be addressed with next gen technology?

Proper design practices play a key role in addressing these issues. If you want to have great end user experience then you need to start with a good design process that takes into account key KPIs. Having a proper design tool along with training on how to best optimize your tool makes the process more streamlined and organized. For example, iBwave Mobile and iBwave Design do take into account hotspots, interference and cabling, thus predicting and resolving these issues in the design phase leading to hassle free efficient deployment.

Today’s operators have multi-vendor network environment – in such scenario how can they best manage small cells and enable seamless handover between the macro network and small cell sites?

When you do a proper design, one of the KPIs is to optimize where the handover zones are between small cell sites and macro sites. It’s one of the challenges to visualize the zones, but with a tool like iBwave Design and iBwave Mobile you have access to handover zone output maps that can help you visualize and place these zones properly to make better design decisions. 

What kind of product innovations are being driven by iBwave in this space of small cells today?

Our entire portfolio is constantly being evolved to keep up with changing industry demands and best practices. One of our key innovations is in changing the way site surveys are conducted.

With the latest release of iBwave Mobile the process has been further simplified and streamlined that it now allows non-RF experts such as IT professionals and technicians to not only perform a site survey on their Android device but also complete a design while on site. It takes the guess work out of designing and makes it so simple that you don’t need to be an RF engineer to design these venues.