Thursday, 28 September 2017 03:31

Vodafone: AI increases 'network optimisation speed by over 45,000%' Featured

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Vodafone is using AI-enabled augmented engineering technology to help its networks continually stay optimised, serving its customers vastly better – and faster.

"As the task of managing networks becomes more complex," says Vodafone's head of Network Strategy and Architecture, Santiago Tenorio, "our engineers can use machine learning to release themselves from routine tasks that are very time consuming to focus their effort on more critical and strategic projects."

Tenorio posted details on this development in an official Vodafone blog post

He reports that, "Vodafone Germany and Huawei recently trialled machine learning in a Centralised Self-Organising Network (C-SON), to identify the optimal settings to deliver voice over LTE services across 450 mobile cells chosen at random".

"The algorithm completed the task in four hours. The same task would have taken an engineer about 2.5 months to do manually."

Tenorio then tells us that "Vodafone Ireland and Cisco are also leveraging automation and undertaking what we believe to be the world’s first trial using machine-learning algorithms in a C-SON to predict locations where 3G traffic will peak in the following hour".

"The technology works by monitoring network traffic trends. This monitoring complies with Vodafone’s strict commitment to customer privacy and no data is involved that could be used to identify individuals."

With network optimisation speed increased by a whopping 45,000%, Tenorio says the programme "predicts future network traffic behaviour based on data processing and pattern recognition".

He continues, stating that to date, "all high traffic predictions have been correct. The predictions enable the network to self-configure itself automatically to balance the traffic load among neighbouring cells and improve the customer experience.

"Initial results confirmed an average 6% improvement in the mobile download speed and lower interference at the cell sites (the cause of dropped calls, problems connecting and higher device battery drain)."

Tenorio notes that: "Vodafone customers could experience significant benefits from the use of machine learning in our networks".

"For instance, the network could identify if there is high traffic at a mobile cell site every Thursday at 8pm — perhaps generated by weekly concerts at a popular music venue — and automatically increase the cell’s capacity before people arrive, returning to normal after they go home.

"Customers would benefit from the uninterrupted ability to call, message or share videos and photos on social media throughout the night."

He says "further machine learning trials [are] planned and he expects to "begin utilising the technology in our commercial networks during the 2018/19 financial year".

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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