SON stands for Self Organizing Networks. It is one of the key advantages of the LTE and is being standardized by 3GPP in Release8, Release 9 and beyond. LTE SON will leverage on the network intelligence, automation and network management features in order to automate the configuration and optimization of wireless networks, thereby lowering costs and improving network performance and flexibility.
Newer and better classes of mobile devices are coming out to the market thereby providing a push to the total wireless data usage. Consequently, the wireless service providers are forced to offer support to a growing number of higher-bandwidth data applications and services on their networks,while simultaneously keeping the delivery cost as low as possible. This growth in wireless data demand is so rapid that it is also expected to increase Radio Access Network complexity through additions of femtocells, picocells, as well as WiFi access points in order to drive increases in coverage and capacity. All these demands put a lot of pressure upon service providers in the areas of network performance and operations. The traditional network management has been proved to be quite inadequate for managing the growing data volume and network complexity in a cost-effective manner.
Self-Configuration by itself is quite a broad concept.It involves several distinct functions that are covered through specific features like the Automatic Software Management,Self Test and Automatic Neighbor Relation configuration. Self-Configuration of networks are expected to reduce the amount of manual processes involved in the planning, integration and configuration of new eNodeBs. This helps in faster network deployment and also paves way for reduced costs for the operator. SON provides a more integral inventory management system that has lesser volume of human errors. The Self - Configuration actions takes place after the eNodeB is installed, and plugged to the power line and to the transport link.On power on, it will boot and perform a Self Test, followed by a set of self-discovery functions. After the self-discovery,auto-configuration of the transport link happens and connections are established with the corresponding servers. After the node is self-configured one more self-test covering all hardware and software functions is run and report is presented to the network management node.
Current LTE standards do incorporate functionality related to the self- configuration, including Automatic Software Management Self Test, Automatic Neighbor Relation and Automatic Inventory Management.3GPP has not fully specified a standardized self-configuration functionality as of now. So it is natural that the first versions of the eNodeB self-configuration functionality will be basically having vendor dependent aspects, as .