In-Building Wireless Management – Why It’s Important to Get it Right

Michelle Collier, RCDD, In-Building Wireless Product Manager
Westell 

Cisco’s 2014 Visual Networking Index (VNI) report indicates that almost half a billion (497 million) mobile devices and connections were added to the global network in 2014. Additionally, a 69 percent growth rate of mobile data traffic was reported by Cisco in 2014, representing nearly 30 times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. Top that with the projected 70 percent of the world’s wireless voice and data activity beginning indoors, it’s suffice to say that meeting the demand for consistent, quality voice and data coverage across the globe remains a challenging task at best.

For starters, many of us know that the traditional macro network is no longer sufficient to attract new customers or keep loyal users content. Improving in-building wireless coverage and capacity is an absolute must.

wirelessThe inevitable increase in mobile voice and data connectivity demand is fueled by new devices and made practical by the networks that connect them. In a perfect world, those networks would just exist, manage and troubleshoot themselves. They’d always work optimally and play nice with other networks. But, it’s not a perfect world and there are a very skilled and relentless group of human beings that make sure you’re able to check a sales price at Target, real-time. Check the Cubs game score while shoe shopping at the mall. And make sure your doctor receives your test results before you’ve had a moment to worry. Their jobs aren’t easy, but technology is helping them, too. Only the ongoing management of these networks will satisfy our insatiable demand for meaningful connectivity.

Some more stats for perspective…

  • 10x growth in mobile data traffic projected to occur between 2013 and 2019. – Ericsson
  • By 2020, it is predicted that 24 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. The vast majority will use some form of wireless for access. – Gigaom

What does Increasing Wireless Demand mean for In-Building Network Management?
With the continued expansion of wireless networks and the demand for a high quality user experience, network managers must have the ability to continually monitor and control their networks anytime from anywhere. Additionally, it’s crucial for network managers to be aware of mobile wireless trends in order to properly execute such a plan. As such, mobile applications are a true and meaningful innovation, much like they are to the average consumer. They allow wireless service providers and integrators to actively monitor and troubleshoot their network POPs from virtually anywhere, significantly reducing site visits and, ultimately, overall operating costs.

The ability to monitor and forward product specific alarming information to operations and NOC personnel; provide critical performance analysis of each point of interface (POI) card; facilitate analysis of key performance metrics; and provide input and output power measurements and spectral graphs to support troubleshooting and root cause discovery – will enhance the user’s performance and avoids costly onsite visits. But these apps don’t exist, or do they?

Recently, Westell Technologies developed the first of its kind, ClearLink Universal DAS Interface Tray (UDIT) mobile app, which provides remote monitoring and control of UDIT sub-rack for single service provider, neutral host, and multicarrier systems. Via the UDIT mobile app, network technicians can monitor the UDIT in real-time, adjust the uplink and downlink RF parameters, and review alarm conditions to improve response time to issues, maintain operating efficiency and improve technician productivity. The increased mobility provided by the application gives technicians another tool to help optimize the network during peak traffic – whether they are in the stands during a major event or off site.

The UDIT mobile application, developed on native iOS and Android operating systems, features the following:

  • Remote access to real-time uplink and downlink test tools including:
    • UL power meters and a spectrum analysis function
    • DL input and output power meters
    • Remote power management via access to UL and DL attenuation settings
    • Event and real-time alarm monitoring

As mobile device users continue to drive demand for quality and reliable voice and data coverage inside venues such as office buildings, airports, malls and stadiums, Westell’s ClearLink UDIT is an ideal solution, offering scalability and flexibility for future expansion as demand rises and network needs evolve.

Watch a video on Westell’s ClearLink UDIT at http://www.youtube.com/user/ClearLinkProducts/videos.

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