In the 5G deployment, operators are faced with new problems such as technological innovation, complexity and high Capex, which makes them pay more attention to the quality of network deployment. To be accurate and avoid detours at the initial stage of 5G deployment, good wireless network planning has become quite important.
Limited by technical conditions such as tools and algorithms, 2G, 3G and early 4G network planning is chiefly based on network simulation and prediction. However, with the introduction of Massive MIMO in 5G, the traditional network planning has been unable to meet the needs of new technologies, and it is imperative to innovate the wireless network planning. To this end, accurate and efficient network planning and deployment so that the network provides not only conventional area coverage but also excellent three-dimensional performance, has become the goal of the industry.
ZTE has independently developed Smart Hippo, an intelligent platform for wireless network planning that can accurately and efficiently solve the problems of 5G network planning and raise the network planning capability to a new level. Even in more complex 5G scenarios, Smart Hippo can have good applications and achieve the goal of accurate, intelligent and efficient network planning.
Smart Hippo aims at both coverage and capacity, and focuses on planning and analyzing intelligent and accurate multi-site coverage. Based on real measurement report (MR) and network management data, Smart Hippo implements adaptive deployment of macro cells, micro cells and indoor distributed cells through comprehensive coverage and capacity evaluation. In 5G network planning, it takes the particularity of 5G antenna into full consideration. Based on the completion of accurate site planning, combined with 3D electronic map, using the principle of black and white dots, Smart Hippo accurately carries out antenna weight planning, and creates an integrated design concept of combining site planning and antenna planning. As a dynamic and intelligent platform, Smart Hippo provides full process analysis such as coverage evaluation, site planning, MM weight planning and coverage prediction, which forms a double-edged sword with simulation tools in the field of network planning. They can complement each other and innovate to enrich network planning methods.
The rise of innovative technologies such as big data, cloud computing and AI provides a strong support for Smart Hippo. Big data enables network planning to effectively use real mass data, and makes the basis for network evaluation, planning and design richer and more solid. Cloud computing enables more powerful system support and higher resource allocation and utilization. AI provides deep learning to revolutionize traditional network planning methods.
Smart Hippo innovates in hybrid multi-site planning, coverage pre-evaluation, antenna weight planning and anchor point planning to automate the processes based on 5G sites, new sites, site deployment display, site value ranking, planning report and layer output. Smart Hippo provides 5 core applications and 17 main functions for 5G network planning (Fig. 1).
Future 5G deployment will adopt the mode of "accurate area coverage prediction followed by fine key scenario evaluation". The innovative technologies of Smart Hippo will become a strong guarantee for building high-quality, high-performance 5G networks. The improvement of cell-based coordinated planning, granularity aggregation in outdoor weak coverage areas, precise weight planning, and 5G anchor point planning can give full play to 5G innovative technologies and maximize the utility of wireless coverage evaluation. 5G coverage prediction based on 4G MR is a featured application that makes full use of huge data in existing networks to support 5G planning and design. A major principle of future 5G deployment is to focus on key areas, especially the existing network defects, evaluate according to the value dimension, and solve the high-value difficulties in the network.
To make wireless network planning efficient while ensuring the quality of planning, Smart Hippo will continue to improve, so as to better meet operator needs of fast network evaluation and deployment. Smart Hippo will become a powerful tool for operators to plan their networks.