Spotlight on Tech

How Rakuten Mobile network performance strategy is assured via Symworld™

Mahmoud Elsakhawy
Vice Division Manager, E2E Performance & Capacity Division
Rakuten Mobile
March 22, 2023
minute read

A well-thought-out network performance strategy is necessary for all mobile operators to provide comprehensive services on their mobile network.  

For the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan, the world-first virtualized, cloud-native mobile network*, the performance strategy follows a specific plan. Its strategy has been designed to be intelligent and automated, correlate the performance of both application and cloud layers, and deliver exceptional customer experience.

The main pillars of the network performance strategy and how Symworld™ modules achieve this include:

1) Detailed Analysis: Network performance can only be improved with a detailed analysis and deep knowledge of statistics; the more detailed studies are done, the more findings we can get to improve the performance. 

One of the main advantages of the Symworld Performance Monitor module is the built-in statistical modules which can represent the highest-level network functions KPIs (key performance indicators) with a different set of customized aggregations down to the lowest level of detail in one dashboard with a broad set of visualization options. 

2) Data accessibility and integrity: How fast we can get the data, clean it, parse it and organize it in a readable format is crucial in ensuring fast issue detection and the necessary actions to be taken. It needs a complete end-to-end automated process that is smart enough to be continuously improving and integrated with a different set of tools that can be used to generate the data.  

Rakuten Symphony OBF (observability framework) is a vendor-agnostic Element Management System (EMS) that can be integrated with any vendor. It extracts statistical files/raw data, cleans, and feeds in almost real-time. 

3) Service and Capacity: Correlation between service and capacity is mandatory since KPIs can be impacted due to crossing the capacity limits.  

  • The performance and capacity manager needs to identify the factors of each node and determine the healthy thresholds. 
  • Do not use only vendor recommendations.
  • Must have operator's experience based on KPIs trends tracking, targeting to define early flags to expand capacity resources before impacting network performance.

Symworld Watchtower allows automated alarming based on the correlative analysis between a particular set of KPIs based on customized thresholds, which can be performance KPIs and capacity ones. 

4) Automation: A self-monitored network from a performance point of view is vital and must support the following: 

  • Automated anomaly detection and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and raising of tickets.  
  • Ensure a completely automatic process avoiding human error. 
  • Minimize detection/analysis to escalation time to seconds.  

Symworld anomalies detection/RCA modules ensure a complete automated process avoiding human error, minimizing detection/analysis to escalation time to a few seconds.   

5) Culture Change: A paradigm shift from node to customer-based KPIs is needed.  

a. The culture and mindset of the people who own performance analysis must change to represent the voice of the customer. 

b. The tools also need to change to include both Network and Customer experience KPIs.  

Rakuten Symphony's Sympulse module provides customer-based KPIs and complete analytical dashboards showing the performance of each test sample in terms of coverage, throughput, latency, quality, etc. These customer-based KPIs correlate with network-based KPIs, complete visibility and performance assurance. 

Finally, Rakuten Mobile network performance strategy has been built with all these features and modules in Symworld, ensuring the highest network performance and delivering the best customer experience. 

In a future blog, we will detail how Symworld Sympulse completes the performance picture from both network and user perspectives and how it gives the users the power to assess their network's performance. 

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* For a large scale commercial mobile network (as of October 1, 2019). Research: Stella Associa

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