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Wataniya looks to boost GPRS reliability

Wataniya Telecom is currently revamping its network monitoring system in a bid to boost the reliability of its GPRS infrastructure in Kuwait.

Wataniya Telecom is currently revamping its network monitoring system in a bid to boost the reliability of its GPRS infrastructure in Kuwait.

The mobile operator has recruited Denmark-based vendor, NetTest, to implement a specialised monitoring node in the backbone section of its mobile network by the first quarter of next year.

Through it, the operator hopes to improve its view of how multimedia services are performing. Wataniya also hopes to cut down on the need for field tests of the radio stretch of its network, which are the main way the operator currently investigates traffic travelling between subscribers and its base stations across Kuwait.

“The solution will allow us to reduce the time we spend driving around and allow our customer base to do our testing for us,” says Ali Al Ostath, planning and engineering manager, Wataniya Kuwait.

“If we have a difficulty and someone complains, sometimes we go to that area but cannot simulate the problem. Instead, the testing tool will be connected 24 hours per day, produce information constantly and provide statistics the next day. Also, if something catastrophic goes wrong, it will send out alarms immediately,” he adds.

Sitting between the network’s base station controllers (BSCs) and GSM Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), the solution will oversee the reliability of internet connections and GPRS-based services that are requested by the mobile operator’s subscribers.

“We would like to make our network telco standard, rather than internet standard,” says Al Ostath. “The monitoring solution will oversee all the traffic running inside our network. If something goes wrong in our base stations, we already have the resources to find it. The issue is when the traffic reaches between our SGSN and BSCs — those are the problems we would like to catch,” he adds.

On a wider scope, the move also comes as Wataniya is expanding its portfolio of value added services (VAS) and aiming to increase the amount of data traffic running across its network. It is also looking to target new, under-served areas in Kuwait and launch additional multimedia applications that would require GPRS’ packet-switching functionality.

"If we want to have a good network for data services, then we have to have visibility," says Al Ostath. "We have [recently] launched a wireless development centre and a video streaming solution, and we anticipate that data traffic will pick up. At the same time, there are newly developed areas in Kuwait without landlines and those are really being targeted [by Wataniya] to drive traffic. Then there will be other applications that require GPRS without specifically needing the internet, such as push to talk and unified communications," he adds.

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