Mobile network benchmarking helps network operators, regulators, and consumers monitor and compare the performance of different mobile networks. It can provide valuable insights for network optimisation, quality improvements, and decision-making processes.
Overall, mobile network benchmarking is an essential tool for ensuring the quality and performance of mobile networks and facilitating competition in the telecommunications industry. It helps to drive innovation and improvement in network technologies and services, ultimately benefiting consumers and businesses that rely on mobile connectivity.
Benchmarking of mobile network performance involves conducting tests and measurements in real-world scenarios as well as using specialised benchmarking tools and equipment. Some common metrics and parameters that are measured during the customer benchmarking projects typically include: call success rate, call setup time and voice quality for voice services and data rates (DL & UL) and latency for data services. More technical KPI’s like signal strength / coverage, technology usage, modulation and rank usage, handover success rate etc. are typically also studied. The collected data is then analysed and compared against benchmarks or industry standards to assess the performance of the mobile network and identify areas for improvement.
To drive systematic quality of service improvements in networks, benchmarking results should be used to identify areas that need optimisation and improvement. Network operators can then take targeted actions such as adjusting network configuration including different parameter settings, feature usage and settings, optimising antenna configurations or deploying additional infrastructure to enhance network performance.
Benchmarking can also be used to compare the performance of different 5G networks and identify best practices that can be adopted to improve overall service quality. Regular benchmarking assessments can track the progress of network improvements over time and ensure that quality of service targets are met.
When it comes specifically to 5G benchmarking, the process is similar to benchmarking other mobile networks. However, since 5G is a new generation of wireless technology, there are some specific aspects that need to be evaluated:
- Network speed: 5G promises significantly faster download and upload speeds compared to previous generations. Benchmarking tests assess the actual speeds achieved indifferent locations to ensure that the network is delivering on its promised performance.
- Latency: 5G aims to achieve ultra-low latency, which is crucial for applications like autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, and real-time gaming. Benchmarking tests measure the latency of the network to ensure that it meets the requirements for these latency-sensitive applications.
- Coverage: 5G networks are initially deployed in specific areas, and benchmarking tests should evaluate the coverage and signal strength within these areas. The tests also assess how well the network performs when users are moving between 5Gcoverage zones and transitioning between 5G and previous generations of networks.
- Reliability: A reliable network is essential for 5G's use cases, such as smart cities and industrial automation. Benchmarking tests evaluate the network's reliability by measuring metrics like call drop rates, packet loss, and network availability within defined area.
- Quality of Service (QoS): Quality of Service refers to the overall performance and service level experienced by users on the network. Benchmarking tests evaluate the network's QoS by considering factors like the availability of services, responsiveness, and consistency of performance.
Root cause analysis
Benchmark measurement data can be further utilised to improve network performance by applying root cause analysis to the results. The root cause analysis can reveal various improvement opportunities. Some common improvement areas identified through root cause analysis in benchmarking include:
- Network coverage gaps: Identifying areas where network coverage is weak or nonexistent can help network operators improve the coverage in those areas. This can be achieved through the deployment of additional base stations or optimising the existing infrastructure.
- Capacity constraints: benchmark results may provide an indication that the network is not able to handle the expected traffic volume. Based on further analysis, also including network statistics, network operators can consider upgrading the capacity of the network by adding more resources or using advanced technologies.
- Performance bottlenecks: Benchmarking can identify specific areas or elements within the network where performance is suboptimal. By addressing these bottlenecks, network operators can improve overall network performance and enhance user experience.
- Optimisation of network parameters: Benchmarking can help in fine-tuning network parameters such as feature usage and performance, layer utilisation, mobility and handover thresholds, or resource allocation to optimise network performance. This can result in improved call setup times, reduced dropped calls, improved data performance and enhance the overall quality of the mobile network. It enables the operator to make targeted improvements, adopt best practices and to ensure optimal user experience.
Omnitele as mobile network benchmarking partner
Omnitele has long experience of network benchmarking for operators and regulators. Based on our experience we have the best practices in use for benchmarking campaigns and we can tailor our approach to best fit the need of the client. As Omnitele also designs and optimises RAN networks, we have in-depth knowledge of the various vendor solutions, which enables efficient root cause analysis to complement typical benchmark results. By applying modern data science, we are better able to identify root causes behind issues in the network and provide recommendations on the solutions to fix the issues.
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