How Route Analytics Can Help Manage LTE Networks

With the number of worldwide mobile subscriptions crossing more than 7 billion, of which LTE makes up close to 2.6 billion subscriptions1, mobile networks are becoming more complex. This is only set to increase over the next few years, with the increase in smartphone usage and IoT devices. While mobile network operators have always relied on IP/MPLS in their mobile backbone networks, the advent of Long Term Evolution (LTE) is driving a shift to IP/MPLS architecture in the mobile backhaul networks too.

Issues with IP/MPLS Networks

The shift to IP/MPLS architecture triggers new problems. For example, IP networks are dynamic in nature, unlike the static nature of ATM over SONET architecture used before the advent of LTE. Thus, while IP networks are inherently resilient and can automatically reroute traffic in case of a link failure, they also can cause delay to the routed traffic. This adversely affects the quality of voice or the broadband experience and can lead to significant customer churn.

The dynamic routing nature of IP networks also results in the creation of an unpredictable routing topology, where it is difficult to predict how traffic will be delivered. This makes it hard to pinpoint the root cause in case of data delivery failures, because now the network engineer does not know the path taken, the devices involved or the links servicing that path. Traditional network management solutions based on technologies such as SNMP, traffic flows or packet analysis are unable to provide in-depth and real-time visibility into dynamic IP routing. They also add to the overhead in large and complex mobile networks.

Route Analytics to Manage LTE Networks

To overcome these challenges, mobile operators like Indonesia’s XL Axiata need a new approach to operations and management of LTE networks. This is where route analytics helps. Route analytics technology can capture the live network topology and provide real-time, network-wide insight into data and metrics such as:

  • How exactly the traffic is being routed across the network
  • The hops taken and the links involved
  • When a path changed and the possible reasons that caused it to change

There are several benefits from using route analytics technology to manage LTE networks. By making it easy to understand the path taken by traffic, it is possible to detect and solve problems faster. And network engineers can go back in time to view historical routing information to understand what caused a change in a routing path and prevent it from recurring.

Managing Layer 2 VPNs, BGP Peering, and more

Route analytics also provides visibility into Layer 2 VPNs, allowing mobile operators to monitor pseudowires that are used in backhaul networks. Further, data from route analytics can be used to simulate network configurations and failure scenarios to find optimal routing paths for delivering data between a source and destination. Additionally, route analytics with traffic data can be used by mobile network operators to analyze BGP peering and make informed decisions about changing existing peering agreements or justifying new peering relationships.

We have covered all this and more in our white paper titled “Managing LTE IP Transport Networks with Route Analytics.” For an in-depth understanding of how route analytics can help you manage LTE core and backhaul networks better, download a free copy here: http://www.packetdesign.com/resources/white-papers/managing-lte-ip-transport-networks-route-analytics/

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