Future communication networks will exhibit a significant degree of self-organisation. The principal objective of introducing self-organisation, comprising self-optimisation, self-configuration and self-healing, is to effectuate substantial operational expenditure (OPEX) reductions by diminishing human involvement in network operational tasks, while optimising network efficiency and service quality.
The SOCRATES (Self-Optimisation and self-ConfiguRATion in wirelEss networkS) project aims at the development of self-organisation methods to enhance the operations of wireless access networks, by integrating network planning, configuration and optimisation into a single, mostly automated process requiring minimal manual intervention.
Regarding the technological scope, SOCRATES primarily concentrates on wireless access networks, as the wireless segment generally forms the bottleneck in end-to-end communications, both in terms of operational complexity and network costs. As a consequence, the largest gains from self-organisation can be anticipated here. We select the 3GPP LTE (3rd Generation Partnership Project, Long Term Evolution) radio interface as the central radio technology in our studies. The reason for this choice is that 3GPP LTE is the natural, highly promising and widely supported evolution of the world’s most popular cellular networking technologies (GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA).
The SOCRATES project is supported by the European Union under the 7th Framework Program, and will run from January 1, 2008 until December 31, 2010.