The most qualifying objective of STORMS (Software Tools for the Optimisation of Resources in Mobile Systems) consists in the definition, implementation and validation of a software tool assisting Mobile Operators in the planning of the UMTS network. The validity domain of the reference model, and the consequent applicability of the tool itself, will be very extended so that potential new services, not yet consolidated in the UMTS context, as well the innovative features (advanced radio access schemes, new network functionality) can be easily incorporated into and dealt with the software product. STORMS is designed and implemented as an open software platform capable of hosting external modules and proprietary procedures tailored to the specific needs of the potential users.
Upon the initial modelling and analytical studies, STORMS entered the software specification and development phase. At the moment, some preliminary software prototypes are ready to be demonstrated. In particular, it is worth mentioning the traffic and mobility module that handles information related to the demographic and geographic characteristics thus providing the data necessary for the traffic density estimates.
Streets and geographic information:
On the radio coverage engineering, an appropriate Topographical and Geographical Information System (TGIS) has been developed. The TGIS encapsulates the propagation modules allowing access to the geographical data and providing the interface with other parts of the STORMS software suite. The current version is suitable for use with two dimensional ray-tracing (micro-cell) and quasi two dimensional macro-cell (irregular terrain) propagation.
Radio coverage prediction:
Following the evaluation of the coverage pattern associated to each single cell, the radio coverage optimisation module has been developed as well. It allows to optimise the number of radio base stations necessary to ensure a given coverage percentage with a certain confidence degree. The optimisation model is grounded on the graph theory while the software code implementation is based on a heuristic (genetic) approach.
The radio resource dimensioning (based on CDMA and ATDMA) has been duly modelled and typical UMTS features, like hierarchical cell structures and Dynamic Channel Allocation, will be taken into account. The software module, dedicated to the resources optimisation on the fixed infrastructure (links between the UMTS network nodes), considers the wide variety of UMTS network architectures tailored to the environment constraints (Public, Business, Domestic).
Finally, the evaluation software module has been released as a preliminary prototype that allows to check the proposed network arrangement performances.
STORMS is expected to support third generation mobile Operators in the network planning issues. An attractive feature of STORMS is its flexibility allowing potential users to upgrade the software tool as soon as the UMTS specifications will become stable.
STORMS results may also supply some interesting guidelines to the manufactures that will enter the UMTS market; as a matter of fact, some network devices capacities and capabilities will be definitely assumed by STORMS in order to meet the expected Project objectives.
Finally, STORMS will contribute to the definition of appropriate guidelines aiming at identifying the UMTS impact on the Broadband Access Network: sharing the fixed infrastructure with other high speed networks (PON) might result in an overall decrease of the deployment costs.
Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Development of a novel network planning methodology tailored to the specific functionality exhibited by third generation mobile systems and UMTS in particular. At the conclusion of the work STORMS demonstrated the complete set of software applications developed and covering every layer in the mobile network architecture.
Contribution to the programme:
Valuable contributions through the evaluation of advantages and constraints imposed by the introduction of novel technologies (such W-CDMA, adaptive antennas, hierarchical cell structures) in future mobile communications networks.
The first task undertaken by STORMS has been focused on the comprehensive definition of the categories of the UMTS environments (Public, Business, Domestic) with the corresponding identification of the most appropriate propagation and traffic/mobility models.
To determine the Traffic Statistics (in terms of spatial distribution) that characterize the selected UMTS environments, it is necessary to assess suitable models for the subscribers density, voice activity and mobility patterns of mobile customers throughout the coverage area taking also into account the wide variety of services provided. The resolution in the assessment of traffic data will change depending on the specific environment (indoor to rural) and will ensure the necessary accuracy degree avoiding, at the same time, a waste of computing resources. User interfaces have been designed in order to facilitate as much as possible the data visualisation filtered from the geographic and demographic databases.
The Propagation activities in STORMS are addressed towards advanced deterministic and statistical models for the prediction of both coverage and interference including multi-path contributions. Furthermore, some effort will be dedicated to the research in the area of propagation computational methodology and in the development of new deterministic solution techniques and models. An appropriate Topographical and Geographical Information System (TGIS) will be adapted and used to optimise the access to geographical information and to provide very efficient procedures for carrying out the sort of geometrical operations required by the more advanced propagation models.
The combined electromagnetic and traffic description will be the result of a translation phase, able to convert raw data and service features into a global radio and traffic model, e.g. the starting point of the dimensioning and engineering process for the cellular structure; such a process will also take into account those UMTS specific features (e.g. handover strategies, macro-diversity) that imply a particular usage of radio and network resources.
The result of the Engineering phase will be essentially in terms of:
- definition of an optimised radio coverage (number, position of radio base stations and associated field strength) for the considered area;
- dimensioning of radio (traffic and signalling) resources and fixed infrastructure;
- identification of the satellite system role in the overall network.
The Validation module completes the network planning process by providing a simulation package capable of checking the overall network performance against the initial QoS constraints. A Software Integration activity, crosswise the whole Project, will support the software development by providing guidelines and tools to ensure a common software design and coding approach thus facilitating the final assembly of different packages into the ultimate prototype.
Summary of Trial:
Owing to the inherent network planning nature of STORMS, no National Host seems to be able of providing the services necessary for running appropriate field trials. Nevertheless, since the beginning of the ACTS Programme, STORMS established some relationships with other ACTS Projects. Such collaborations are expected to provide useful information about third generation mobile systems architectures, newly introduced radio access schemes and innovative technological features as, for instance, adaptive antennas.
The main issue of STORMS is the achievement of an effective software package able to assist and support Operators to design and plan the UMTS network. It is conceived as an open software platform where external or newly developed modules can be easily plugged.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts