Keeping your networks as efficient as possible is the best way to increase capacity without the need to purchase additional equipment. Antenna beamforming or beamtilting allows for better utilization of existing sites and antennas.
Today’s digital cellular systems require specific qualities for their RF system to provide high quality services. That includes tight RF containment and precise pattern control to control interference and improve the SNR (signal to noise ratio) and with that, the network quality and data rates. Additionally PIM (Passive Intermodulation) gets more and more important since it directly influences the SNR as well, and with that limiting high data rates.
Agility and flexibility in real time is a crucial part of every data network in order to effectively provide sufficient capacity for a high quality network.
Network traffic is neither static nor chaotic but is dynamic and predictable during the day and throughout the week. For example the daytime traffic on weekends is very low in business areas while it is very high during the week. Traffic during the night is mostly in residential and city areas and some on highways. That results in dynamic noise and dynamic SNRs.
Knowing these dynamic patterns for a network allows an agile network to cover the peaks and redirect the capacity to the right subscribers instead of raising the bar for the whole network. An agile network is as flexible as the subscribers movements.
One way is to raise the bar. Operators could increase the capacity for their network statically to cover the peaks by adding sites or adding radios to existing sites, not considering any dynamic, but by planning for the worst case scenario any time during the day. But that is expensive and inefficient. It provides peak capacity all around the clock and means low capacity efficiency of expensive equipment.
Operators could also improve on capacity by improving the signal to noise ratio by optimizing the network, increasing the signal and reducing the noise. But that too is expensive to implement if crews need to go to a site to optimize it.
One way to meet the capacity challenge is to increase the capacity efficiency of existing sites and equipment by redirecting and/or shaping the antenna beam based on customer movements. With this dynamic load balancing, traffic peaks are covered and purchase of expensive new equipment is delayed. Existing equipment and sites are utilized to the highest extent, which is their highest capacity efficiency.