December 5, 2022
What are some of the challenges our customers face with regards to their network?
Nawab: A lot of the customers we’re dealing with are using out of date processes or do not have robust processes that completely address the evolving technology trends. Case in point, we’re working now with a Tier 1 Customer where one of the areas we’re really focusing on is automating some of the more redundant, repetitive, time-consuming processes. So, by KGP demonstrating some of the tools that we are bringing in and some of the capabilities that can be automated, it really is opening new doors for us. By improving existing processes and introducing automation, our clients realize marked network performance improvement in the form of KPI’s, spectral utilization efficiency, as well as improved user experience.
What is the ultimate end benefit of automating these processes?
Nawab: By automating some of the processes we’re speaking about, it allows a client to get a site on air within days instead of weeks. For example, an SSV, (Single Site Verification) is usually a long laborious process where drive routes must be created, data collection teams would have to go out, collect the data, bring it back to post process, and analyze before engineers would be able to approve a site to go live. One of the tools we’re presenting automates almost this entire process. The drive routes are created and entered, but for the team that is doing the driving, all the data is being analyzed in real time so that once the drive is complete the report is automatically generated. It will tell you if it passed or failed and is sent automatically to the engineers so the site can be turned on the same day as opposed to a week for that process to take place.
Simasiku: What sets us apart as a solution provider is the unique perspective we have as a vendor agnostic team. Leveraging off our exposure to global tier 1 operators gives us unique insights some of the different challenges MNO’s face with introduction of new technologies & SW releases. In most cases the client will work with OEMs. The OEMs provide this service turnkey as a part of equipment sales. But the OEMs primary objective is to sell clients more hardware, so they end up policing themselves. The operators we serve say they do not want OEMs to police themselves. So, we come in post-integration and then, in a way, validate or invalidate whatever the OEM or integrator is saying the equipment is supposed to do. We offer a vendor-agnostic solution that provides checks and balances for the operator once they acquire the gear from the OEMs.
Nawab: Most often when the OEMs or equipment vendors are in there, their primary goal is to sell equipment. Service is a secondary focus for them. So, if there’s a problem with network performance, if there’s poor coverage for example, they may tell a client that they need to build another site, or need to put more radios, or purchase radios with higher transmit power. The benefit that KGP’s Assure Services brings is we’re not there to sell equipment first. Our first goal is to provide service enhancement. So, it becomes a focus on performance rather than a focus on selling product.
Simasiku: The beauty of working with KGP, though, is that we also sell product, so we can do both. This is even more represented in the way we would audit an Operators existing network deployment. We would then offer suggestions in what would benefit any expansions and/or additions in terms of antenna types, Radio specifications among other things based on forecasted network expansion plans.
When you say design validation, you’re saying that we will go in and look at their existing network rather than building out a new one?
Nawab: We can do both. We can come in green field, where we’re starting with initial maps identifying design / coverage objectives, OEM products to be used, where a cell site should be placed based on coverage, morphology, and demographics. We can determine how tall that site should be, what spectrums would need to be used, what the power output should be, what equipment must be installed – our team does all of that, too. But our first objective is to listen to the customer and understand their needs.
We take a holistic view of their existing network and identify where tweaks must be made to the network. It could be just KPIs, it could be actual site placement, it could be change of antennas or hardware, but we look at the performance of the existing network. That includes looking at the design, we look at the spectrum that’s being used, the equipment that’s being used, the azimuth, link budget to validate output power and many other factors. Those are the kinds of things we look at that impact system performance and make improvements upon.
Here’s where we’re coming from, here’s our service capability, if you will: We know you can buy your antennas and everything you need from us – but let us design your site so you know exactly what you’re getting. For those who have existing networks, let us bring a different perspective. If you have your engineers and your OEMs, let us be a third-party evaluator and show you exactly what’s happening with your network. We won’t try to sell you anything product-wise or replace your engineers, we’re just going to give you a holistic view of what your network is doing and where we’d make recommendations for improvement, if required.
For example, if you tweak these KPIs, here’s how your network will improve. If you make this change to this site, here’s the reduction in interference you’re going to see and by the way, that’s going to help a lot of the trouble tickets your subscribers are raising because they can’t get service. By reducing that interference or clearing up that signal, now your subscribers are going to be served a lot more evenly and you’re not going to have the trouble tickets, subscriber churn and all the other pain points that go with it.
What markets can benefit from this service?
Nawab: Any wireless carrier, and Utilities companies are getting into this as well. So, Utilities, any wireless carrier, Tier 1, 2, or 3, and the cable companies that are going into wireless communications. The list is long, and we’re just talking about the wireless aspect of it. If we look at wireline – a whole new set of services along the same line of service along performance improvement, things of that nature can apply to the wireline service providers as well.
How does KGP differentiate itself from other companies who do the same thing?
Nawab: Each company that comes in has their own specialty. The thing that makes KGP different is that we don’t come in focused on a single capability. We’re not a staffing company that’s just bringing bodies that you direct. We’re not a company who comes in and tells you, “Here’s our specialty and we’ll tell you exactly what we’ll do.” We’re different because we will work with the client to develop a scope of work specific to their need. What we do for Company ABC may be very different than what we do for Company 123. It depends on the specific requirement for that market or location. That’s what makes us different.
If our differentiator is creating a scope of work specific to our customers’ needs what do others do?
Nawab: Fair question. If you look at Company ABC, for example, primarily they may be a staffing agency that will provide candidate engineers who may or may not have the required skillset and wait for direction to conduct an assigned task. If you look at Company 123, their service is based around their specific software capability only, tie the work to a service plan and do not to look at everything that’s happening on your network. KGP brings a unique set of tools and experienced staff that work with you to understand where your need is, develop a mutually reviewed scope of work and provide a proof of concept to ensure our understanding of clients’ expectations are in line. Others may not look at trouble tickets or system performance, or drive data. We do. We look at drive data, OSS data and crowd source data, so our approach is very different.
What is drive data?
Nawab: A drive route is a designated route area around a sector, a site, or a cluster of sites where a data collection drives the designated route and collects data from the target site(s). We have scanners, routers, and phones in the vehicle where data collect team captures the interaction between the phone/router/scanner and the cell site. We can analyze that data so that we have a clear understanding of all the communication that happens between each device, the cell site, and determine why it’s not handing off, why a call is being dropped, and where the sources of interference are occurring. All that knowledge can be derived from the drive data that we collect.
Simasiku: We collect drive test logs to complement our analysis of network data to provide a full and complete picture of the network performance. So, the data collection is a key component as it gives us a true reflection of user experience. The drive test scenario is such that we mimic user behavior in the field so we can then have a change impact analysis that relies on network (OSS) & User experience data. This allows us to quantify the improvements our changes have on the network. We have the customer at the core of our recommendation.
Whether you are a wireless or wireline provider, KGP is a partner you can trust to evaluate your situation and make recommendations based on your specific needs in hours not weeks.