Wireless carriers are spending billions of dollars to build out 4G networks that are purported to be able to deliver data, including video, 10 times faster than 3G networks. 4G network expansion is occurring on a global scale.
More than 150 carriers across 60 countries are committed to 4G deployments and trials, according to Deloitte. For its part, China Mobile is planning to spend $6.7 billion this year alone on its 4G networks, according to this article in AppleInsider.
With access, speed, and reliability top of mind for mobile consumers, combined with the amount of investment that’s being poured into network upgrades, it’s imperative for telecom carriers to be able to quickly identify and act on network performance disruptions as they arise.
Preparedness begins with the ability to anticipate potential points of failure on a network based on load and simulation testing, and then having the ability to respond quickly.
Carriers can use predictive analytics to analyze network traffic patterns to determine how and whether surges in traffic volumes might overwhelm specific locations or pieces of equipment used on the grid.
Business leaders and technicians for carriers can then use these insights to identify areas for investing in equipment/system redundancy or to determine how and where to enact failover measures.
With the rise in machine-to-machine communications, including intelligent sensors that can route information about equipment anomalies such as heat dissipation or atypical vibrations, wireless carriers can more effectively predict when a component in a wireless network is about to break down or needs to be replaced.
Carriers can further apply analytics to determine locations on their regional or national wireless networks where speed-enhancing technologies can be added to boost performance.
Additionally, analytics can potentially help carriers troubleshoot existing vulnerabilities with high-bandwidth mobile network technology LTE (long-term evolution).
MIT Technology Review has reported that LTE networks are vulnerable to a simple jamming technique that can block service across most of a city. And researchers at Virginia Tech have determined that a battery-operated transmitter aimed at tiny portions of a LTE signal could knock out a large LTE base station serving thousands of people.
Doing this would be pretty easy, but defending against it would be difficult, Virginia Tech researcher Jeff Reed tells MIT Technology Review.
Just as researchers and hackers are able to identify different techniques that can jam or block a radio frequency, researchers and carrier network technicians can apply analytics to identify different ways to use technology or route signals to either circumvent or protect against this type of interference.
Likewise, wireless carriers can lean on analytics to help identify areas of vulnerability across different points of their LTE networks and determine the types of security technologies or approaches that are best suited for insulating their networks against certain types of attacks.
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