LG U+ provides cell phone, international phone, internet phone, and IP TV services, as well as Web cards and photo technologies to more than 10 million subscribers in the Republic of Korea. It was formed in 2010 from three communication companies, LG Telecom, LG Dacom, and LG Powercom, with the aim of building the world’s first 100 megabytes-per-second internet protocol (IP) fixed-line and wireless network. Its objective is to become a market leader in 4G technologies and increase customer satisfaction by offering new smart services that aren’t limited by traditional telecommunications networks.
In 2011, LG U+ established the Republic of Korea’s most extensive wireless network and launched its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network. The company needed an integrated, flexible network resource management system (NRMS) and operations support system (OSS) to support its increasing complex telecommunications network infrastructure.
LG U+ implemented Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management, Oracle Communications Network Discovery, and Oracle Communications Network Integrity Reconciliation Manager to manage its system and equipment network configuration data, more efficiently, operate and maintain its network resources, and gain a competitive edge in the telecommunications market. It has reduced the risk of network failure; lowered repair, maintenance, and operational costs; and increased the rate of consistency between various LTE data configuration to around 99%.
To achieve its “Beyond Telecom” goal to provide 4G LTE network services across the Republic of Korea and become a market leader in next-generation technologies, LG U+ needed an integrated NRMS and a flexible OSS that would improve the accuracy and consistency of network configuration data, and adapt to rapidly evolving network equipment and environments.
“We needed to replace multiple, inefficient, in-house systems with a fast, intuitive, and self-managed NRMS and OSS,” said Han Yeong-geun, team leader, NMS technology team, NW technology, LG U+ Corp. “The previous systems required duplicate, time-consuming, and error-prone manual data entry processes. Network administrators struggled to quickly detect inaccurate or inconsistent data, and correctly identify errors in network equipment. This led to engineers being dispatched to troubleshoot problems unnecessarily.
“We wanted to reduce the time needed to detect and correct inaccuracies and standardize network equipment inventory and configuration information across the country to ensure maintenance and repairs were carried out correctly,” he said. “We also needed to launch the 4G LTE and all-IP fixed-line and wireless networks as quickly as possible.”
LG U+ developed its NRMS using Oracle Communications Network Integrity Reconciliation Manager and Oracle Communications Network Discovery. The NRMS is integrated with an element management system (used to manage network equipment and operating systems) and a network management system (used to monitor the wireless network). The NRMS accurately monitors and manages network configuration data, such as physical cell identity data (used to identify the location of cell phones, synchronize channels, and transmit data) and root sequence index (used to set up calls).
The company also implemented Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management to underpin a flexible, integrated OSS that can quickly respond to business expansion and the evolution of the network and new smart services.
The NRMS ensures the accuracy of LG U+’s network configuration information by collecting data values generated from physical resources and onsite equipment around the network and automatically comparing it with database entries in near real time.
“The system batch processes configuration data immediately and provides matching data to the integrated element management and network management systems,” said Han. “This allows network administrators to instantly identify and correct inaccurate or inconsistent data.”
The NRMS has improved consistency rates for the LTE’s physical cell identity data and root sequence index from 61% to 99%. It has also improved the consistency of configuration data from the LTE’s remote radio heads (radio equipment used to extend network coverage) from 94% to 99.6%.
By monitoring network equipment configuration data in real time to ensure consistency, LG U+ has reduced the risk of network failure.
“By ensuring configuration data entered in the NRMS is consistent with configuration values from the physical equipment, we have improved the efficiency of fault monitoring and equipment management,” said Han. “We can now maintain a high level of service operation by extracting accurate and consistent network configuration data daily to check for actual network anomalies.
“When an anomaly is detected we can improve the status of the network equipment immediately by working with the equipment operation department to fix the problem,” he said.
LG U+ implemented Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management to simplify the OSS interface and standardize inventory and configuration information for network equipment distributed across the country. This has reduced the number of equipment incidents that engineers are required to respond to by around 20% per day.
“We have dramatically reduced the number of times operation engineers are dispatched unnecessarily after inaccurate or inconsistent configuration data has been mistaken for a network issue,” said Han. “This has saved on troubleshooting and maintenance costs.”
Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management also allows network administrators to access, monitor, and manage network equipment information in a more precise and accurate way. This cut the time needed to check and coordinate network equipment data in the system by 20%, reducing the overall operational costs for system data improvement tasks.
The Oracle applications are also helping staff and managers to make timelier decisions by providing access to integrated network information about service orders, resources, and activations in near real time, rather than taking up to an hour, previously.
“We can collect and disseminate previously unmanaged configuration data, which has further enhanced data integrity and transparency,” said Han. “Network administrators now have access to reliable, relevant data for next-generation network services as well as conventional network management.”
With the help of the NRMS, the LTE network is now accessible from anywhere in the Republic of Korea, with complete service coverage reaching 99.9% of the population. The NRMS supported the network implementation by providing fast, accurate, and consistent configuration data, which is needed to monitor and manage the network, and quickly register network configurations onsite.
“The NRMS was deployed in just eight months,” said Han. “Implementing a nationwide network in such a short period of time is considered unprecedented.”
In May 2012, LG U+ upgraded to Oracle Communications Network Integrity Reconciliation Manager 7.1, Oracle Communications Network Discovery 7.1, and Oracle Communications Unified Inventory 7.1 to establish a unified fixed-line and wireless network management system that would support new, fixed-line and wireless network equipment.
“We wanted to provide more satisfying services to customers, so we decided to expand our existing NRMS-managed equipment and fully integrate our fixed-line and wireless networks,” said Han. “We have now deployed new equipment, such as LG Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks for the 4G LTE and Utrans-1665 for the fixed-line network.
By upgrading to Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management 7.1, LG U+ has also expanded the scope of the equipment modeling to include channels as well as ports.
“This improves the accuracy of the modeling and enables us to enhance network quality management by determining the capacity and status of the network in more detail,” said Han.
After completing detailed industry analysis and evaluating several products, LG U+ selected Oracle Communications applications based on their functionality, maintenance, and cost-effectiveness. The Oracle products provided superior support and features for a number of LG U+’s services and business processes, including IPTV, cell phone, broadband, order management, and service activation.
“We chose Oracle because the flexible communication applications enable us to quickly respond to business expansion by supporting a standards-based developmental approach and integrating disparate systems,” said Han. “It also fully supports the standard shared-data modeling that is promoted by the world’s largest industrial standardization body, the TM Forum.”
LG U+ was also attracted by the system implementation support offered by Oracle Consulting, including workshops and training sessions.
LG U+ engaged Oracle Consulting to help it deploy Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management 7.0, Oracle Communications Network Discovery 7.0, and Oracle Communications Network Integrity Reconciliation Manager 7.0 in April 2011. The first phase of the NRMS began in July 2011 and went live in March 2012.
In December 2011, LG U+ engaged Oracle Partner ABACUS to upgrade the system with Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management 7.1, Oracle Communications Network Discovery 7.1, and Oracle Communications Network Integrity Reconciliation Manager 7.1. The new NRMS went live in May 2012.
Advice from LG U+
To implement a network resource management system quickly and efficiently, you need to define the scope of the system and equipment before you start, as carrying out modeling tasks after the system implementation can create difficulties.
The right network is the basis of a telecommunication companies’ competitive strength, so the project needs to be conducted with long-term goals rather than short-term benefits in mind. It also requires great support and efforts from executives and technical staff.
During the upgrade, ABACUS developed functionalities for modeling and Web service development. It also helped with system porting tasks, including new server porting and data conversion.
“Thanks to ABACUS’s swift and accurate technical and operational support, we’ve deployed an NRMS to integrate our fixed-line and wireless networks and help us lead the 4G LTE market,” said Kim Tae-ho, section leader, NMS technology team, NW technology, LG U+ Corp. “In the future, we’ll continue our partnership to grow together and set benchmarks for network management systems.”