As people moving around society, we’ve learned how to self-organize. Most notably when we’re driving. We maintain certain speeds, give people certain distances to move around, and even though we’re all using vehicles from different manufacturers, we’ve learned how to operate over the same highways safely.
Similarly, but to a far greater level of efficiency, speed, and safety, 4G LTE networks self organize. They have to, because they’re constantly in conflict.
LTE cells are packed together in a tight matrix with each one able to utilize any available licensed frequency. When two adjacent cells pick the same frequency there’s interference.
To solve this problem, LTE networks self organize, making sure no two neighboring cells have the same frequency or color. The self-organizing procedure is known as Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (ICIC).
First step for ICIC is for each cell to pick a frequency or color and see if it’s conflicting with neighboring cells. Those cells that conflict remain uncolored and then negotiate with their neighbors to find non-conflicting frequencies. Each time the topology or Neighbor Relation Table changes, this self-organizing negotiation repeats itself.
The whole procedure is standardized by the 3GPP, and Alcatel-Lucent’s implementation of ICIC maintains the service provider’s LTE network quality with no additional operating expenses.
Additional benefits of ICIC, according to Bell Labs, include:
- Five-fold reduction in Handover Failure
- Thirty percent increase in throughput
- Performance increase in call set up