5G technology enables mobile network operators to deliver broadband internet connectivity to subscribers fast and at low cost, offering a competitive alternative to fixed-line services. Employing 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) requires small deployments closer to end users, so carriers need purpose-built planning tools to balance capital expenditures and the demand for network density. Our client, a booming US startup, came up with an exquisite combination of software and hardware to easily plan, implement, and maintain wireless networks.
Our client’s product ecosystem included a 5G outdoor network repeater, a 5G indoor subscriber repeater, and software for efficiently modeling and managing the placement of devices. Because of lengthy, semi-manual, and resource-intensive operations, the existing solution didn’t completely satisfy users’ needs, so it needed to be upgraded. Our client chose Intellias as a seasoned telecom engineering partner to actualize their software by employing established SDLC practices in developing a wireless network planning tool. The modernized solution provides enhanced usability and functionality for telecom customers by eliminating inefficiencies and time-consuming manual tasks.
Full-cycle product development
When making a wireless network planning software solution to accompany their smart 5G repeaters, our client first came up with a proof of concept to verify their idea. This was a working instrument that allowed carriers to plan their mmWave networks to qualify for FWA and to evaluate the physical and economic impact of each network component. Despite providing usable functionality, this solution still involved many repeated operations using a complex toolset of various libraries, graphical editors, conversion scripts, and so on.
We helped our client transform their concept into a full-fledged product by employing full-cycle development processes, from UI/UX design, implementation, and testing to deployment. Following industry standards and best practices, Intellias engineers effectively engaged with our client’s in-house teams to create a tool for wireless network planning that allows telcos to accelerate 5G network extensions. The revamped solution provided high integrity, fast operations, advanced visualization, and near-infinite scalability.
Location-based features for modeling
Using topology information as an input, the network planning tool integrated with popular third-party services such as ATOLL to visualize spectrum propagation and thus explore different deployment strategies. Modeling features relied on location-based services and GIS mapping and used high-resolution data to make accurate projections in specific areas when defining the optimal placement of network elements in terms of economic feasibility and performance.
The tool allowed for placing our client’s outdoor and indoor repeaters on a map and adjusting their orientation or position to generate scenarios of signal distribution outside and inside a building. 3D visualizations based on point-cloud technology allowed modeling even more targeted coverage, which helped streamline 5G network configurations for single- and multi-story buildings.
A wide range of capabilities, such as side-by-side comparison, editing, and backward and forward options streamlined the usability of the network planning tool, boosting positive user feedback. Once validated, the signal projection is converted into comprehensive coverage heatmaps to inform carriers’ decisions regarding network extensions.
Smart automation with integrated tools
The key optimization we delivered when developing a wireless network planning tool for our client was automating their product pipeline to allow users to do all required work with the click of a button. Instead of tedious operations and manual interventions, we employed automation to speed up output production, enable batch processing, and increase efficiency. Additionally, the use of a cloud-native architecture guaranteed the flexibility, resilience, and expandability of developed applications.
What initially was a set of technical concepts we turned into a comprehensive tool that improved the user journey and accurately addressed customer needs. We reinforced our client’s hardware with enriched software capabilities, forming a unified ecosystem of products to help our client achieve their business goals and strategies. This shift toward an integrated solution for telecom providers allowed our client to move up the value chain, opening broad opportunities for growth at the enterprise level.
The innovative suite of tools we are developing for our client enables telecom operators to extend and maintain 5G networks faster and with better economic outcomes than using traditional network equipment. The combination of innovative software and hardware provides high accuracy and predictability during network planning and maintenance, resulting in practical value:
- Enhanced digital transformation with high-fidelity map visualizations and deployment scenarios at users’ fingertips
- Easy scalability and agility of network configurations using software tools to define the optimal placement of equipment
- Lightweight flexible infrastructure that allows carriers to fine-tune network coverage to specific areas and buildings
- Reduced in-field operations thanks to optimized 2D and 3D modeling and realistic projections of spectrum propagation for network extensions
- Automated product pipelines instead of semi-manual scripts for pre- and post-processing to provide 10x economy of time
- Enriched software functionality that reinforces the performance and productivity of smart network devices as part of the entire product ecosystem
After building a web tool that helps plan wireless network extensions, our client wants to modernize another software component used for the remote management and optimization of their smart 5G repeaters. Thanks to our IoT expertise, we are ready to implement the necessary capabilities for their connected devices, ranging from real-time monitoring and custom metrics to automatic firmware upgrades.