Last week, I was in Johannesburg for the Mobile Network Optimization Africa conference, where I spoke on techniques for removing bottlenecks from wireless networks, specifically in the backhaul part of the network. South Africa is interesting in this regard since if you look at the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) report from February 1st, South Africa is expected to be one of the leading countries (in a few years) when measuring average mobile network connection speeds, which means the mobile network can handle more data, which is good, but may also mean trouble for congestion within the network.
The conference was interesting since it looked at optimization of all aspects of the network, from the backhaul part as I mentioned above, to the optimization of the spectrum, optimization of the antennae technologies, optimization of network performance and coverage, load balancing, WiFi offload, and of the new networks such as LTE. Some of the African operators also went over what they are doing. This conference brought me back to my engineering roots since I saw signal decay equations and many, many, many, many network diagrams, all of which thrilled me to no end. In short, it was about optimization, which is obvious, but which wasn’t obvious to me beforehand was how encompassing this word can be.
In short, I learned a lot and I’m glad I attended. All of the techniques discussed in this conference will be required to meet the ever increasing needs of users of the mobile network, and thus the stresses that will be put upon the mobile network.
By the way, if you want to learn more about the issues and options regarding the mobile backhaul network, you can get an IDC mobile backhaul paper by going here.