“A Self-Organizing Network (SON) is an automation technology designed to make the planning, configuration, management, optimization and healing of mobile radio access networks simpler and faster.”
SON has been specified with mobile networks in mind, particularly LTE (Long Term Evolution) but could form a set of objectives for all future communications networks.
As stated in a white paper from Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN),
SON offers tremendous potential and many ways of improving operating efficiency. A few of these are:
- Self-configuration, where plug & play installation and commissioning require nominal human interaction
- Self-optimization, where network performance is improved with actions such as handovers that minimize site visits and drive tests
- Self-healing, where functions detect outages and quickly redress faults
Admittedly, mobile networks have vastly different self-optimisation use cases compared with other comms technologies but these top-level SON objectives are consistent with the aims of advanced OSS.
With advances in Software Defined Networking platforms, the OSS of the future might actually become the network’s SOSS (Self-Optimising Support Systems) layer distributed throughout the network rather than the centralised OSS models of today. Throw in analytics and security built into every network node and we have an intelligent network management platform that looks vastly different to the ones we use now.