AIS is a leading mobile operator in Thailand, with over 46 million subscribers nationwide. In the digital era, the rapid development of the information and communication industry has dramatically changed people's production and life styles. As an industry leader, AIS is committed to providing high-quality mobile communications services for users in Thailand.
ZTE, as the world's leading provider of integrated communications and information technology solutions, has been assisting AIS in building the 3G network since as early as 2010. ZTE also helped AIS in deploying its 4G network on a large scale, which was put into commercial use in 2015. In early 2020, AIS began to build its 5G network, which has basically achieved full 5G coverage in urban areas and is actively promoting the maturity of the end-to-end 5G industry. However, the coexistence of multiple 2/3/4/5G frequency bands in AIS’s network has made the equipment type and network architecture complicated, posing great challenges to 5G network construction and O&M.
As a strategic partner of AIS, ZTE has developed an end-to-end intelligent solution for AIS in network construction and O&M. This solution covers single-domain precision planning, automatic AAPC antenna weight optimization, VDT, NQI, cross-domain complaint handling supported by VMAX-S big data platform, and self-intelligence implementation. It effectively improves network delivery efficiency, reduces network maintenance difficulties, and reduces network O&M costs.
Value-Based Guidance, Precision Planning
In the initial stage of 5G network construction and during the operation phase of in-service networks, operators face the important goal of improving network utilization and obtaining a timely return on investment. However, traditional network planning is inefficient and inaccurate. To address this, ZTE has launched the precision planning solution, which utilizes the VMAX-R wireless network precision planning platform to identify high-value areas from multiple dimensions, such as coverage and capacity, and multiple space granularities.
In addition, the platform incorporates intelligent identification of weak-coverage areas and the latest functions, including the analysis of 5G inter-frequency weak-coverage in comparison with competitors. This allows more efficient identification of weak-coverage areas and more accurate placement of new sites. The VMAX-R precision planning platform has been deployed in 25 provinces in the northeast and east districts of AIS coverage. It effectively reduces the difficulty of network planning for the customer and quickly and precisely identifies value areas for expansion.
Intelligent Optimization of Antenna Weight for Automatic Adjustment of Antenna Coverage
With the large-scale deployment of 5G, ensuring network quality has become increasingly important in order to maintain service operation and enhance user experience. ZTE’s adaptive antenna pattern control (AAPC) tool automatically calculates the optimal weight of AAU’s subbeams based on measurement reports collected from commercial users and ZTE's self-developed AI algorithm. This ensures that the network coverage aligns with the user model to the maximum extent.
The AAPC tool not only automatically adjusts the antenna weight, but also self-adapts the antenna coverage model over different time periods based on the changing user model to meet user requirements. All of these optimization operations are performed at the back end, which significantly reduces network O&M costs. It enables a fully automated process of data collection, analysis, and self-optimization.
Currently, ZTE has deployed periodical AAPC tasks in 25 provinces in AIS coverage in Thailand, optimizing more than 3,000 sites. The optimization results have shown an average increase of 4 dB in RSRP and 2 dB in SINR, effectively improving user experience and reducing optimization costs during the engineering phase.
VMAX-S+BigDNA Accurately Locates Cross-Domain Bearer Problems
When it comes to handling user complaints, on-site teams typically have extensive experience in handling wireless single-domain problems. However, they may find it difficult to solve cross-domain transmission problems, requiring the involvement of a specialized team. In addition, traditional manual analysis is time-consuming and costly, making it difficult to ensure the timely resolution of complaints. Therefore, cross-domain delimiting analysis of transmission problems is a major pain point in improving complaint handling efficiency.
To address this, ZTE has implemented the one-click cross-domain problem delimiting through the customer complaint handling (CCH) function, utilizing the VMAX-S big data platform and the bearer BigDNA cross-domain capability (Fig. 1). The on-site team only needs to click “Query” to obtain the cross-domain root cause analysis results for both wireless and transmission problems. This assists the complaint handling team in quickly locating problems and solving related faults, significantly improving the operator's complaint handling capability.
VMAX-S+AAX Implements Cross-Domain Fault Self-Diagnosis
In the traditional network optimization process, alarm problems have the most direct impact on user perception, and are also common causes for user complaints. However, solving alarm problems can be difficult. For example, when there are a large number of alarms in the network, it is challenging to manually analyze and associate different alarm, as well as accurately locate their root causes. This often leads to a reactive approach of addressing the symptoms rather than the underlying issues. Even if the root cause is located, dealing with the problem in face of the complicated network environment requires a professional team, which is labor and time-consuming. Therefore, improving the efficiency of alarm handling is a major pain point in current network O&M.
ZTE addresses this issue with the CCH function of its VMAX-S big data platform, along with the single-domain alarm automation eXpert (AAX) capability of the wireless network. With just one click, the customer can quickly delimit and locate user complaints caused by alarm problems and automatically obtain the root cause diagnosis results and alarm handling suggestions. This allows the onsite complaint handling team to respond to alarms quickly and resolve faults quickly in accordance with handling suggestions. There is no longer a need for manual troubleshooting of alarms and analyzing root causes in a single domain, thus greatly improving troubleshooting efficiency and saving O&M manpower. According to the TMF standards for autonomous networks, the VMAX+AAX solution has reached L3 cross-domain capability and is close to L4 autonomous capability, greatly improving operators’ complaint handling capability.
In the digital economy era, the use of digital and intelligent tools provides a more diversified and efficient solution for predicting and analyzing problems in the AIS network. In the 2023 Q1 Network Assessment organized by AIS, ZTE ranked first in cross-region network performance.
As new scenarios and services continue to emerge, efficient, simplified, and intelligent communication networks are required. AIS is committed to building a 5G network benchmark. With the full support of ZTE, AIS has achieved single-domain autonomy across the wireless network, wired network and core network, reaching the L3 capability at the tool side. At the same time, with the deployment of VMAX-S, the single-domain tools can be used to implement cross-domain workflows, laying a solid foundation for the customer’s autonomous network. With continuous and in-depth cooperation, ZTE will assist AIS in moving toward a higher-level autonomous network.