Location services are increasingly prominent and a network that has location capabilities embedded in it is a high value asset for any network operator. We call this “location enabling the network” and that is what our GeoLENs portfolio is all about. Whether it’s for public safety, law enforcement, or sophisticated location-based commercial services, a location-enabled network can deliver the goods.

It’s important to note that this isn’t just about using the inherent capabilities of the network (taking measurements of timing and signal strengths for example) to determine location. It’s also about the network being able to automatically detect the capabilities of connected devices and utilizing those as well. For example, does the device have GPS? Can it provide downlink timing measurements for technologies such as OTDOA?

A fully location-enabled network can take advantage of those capabilities as well.

The GeoLENs portfolio provides all the essential elements to do the heavy lifting when it comes to location-enabling modern GSM, 3G, and LTE networks. These are the gateway mobile location centers (GMLC), and serving mobile location centers (SMLC) for all the different generations of radio network technologies. When it comes to supporting multiple ways of determining location, the GeoLENs portfolio is without peer – supporting all viable location technologies including enhanced Cell-ID, assisted GPS, uplink timing with location measurement units (LMUs), OTDOA, RF pattern matching, indoor proximity sensing, and hybrid technologies. The great thing for operators is that GeoLENs nodes can be added to their network at any time, new technologies added, and capacity increased incrementally and seamlessly and only when the investment is required.

What many operators don’t know, however, is that location-enabling nodes such as GMLC and SMLCs need to interact with other network nodes such mobile switches (MSC), home location registers (HLR), and radio network controllers (RNC) within the core and radio access layers of their network. These interactions occur over standards-defined interfaces to those network nodes and while the functionality is straightforward, turning on these interfaces often requires the payment of additional fees to the core and access network vendors. As I say, the GMLC and SMLC elements do all the heavy lifting when it comes to location-enabling your network but these standard interfaces are essential to letting them do that work.

So, if you’re looking at investing in a new network, extending your existing network, or upgrading to new generations of technology such as LTE, make sure you include these location interfaces in your requirements. It’s much easier to get a good deal on these interfaces when the vendor is competing for new network equipment than it is if you wait until afterwards to ask for them.

Let us know if you have questions or how we can help location-enable your network.

About the Author

Martin Dawson

Martin Dawson is director of CommScope’s Andrew Solutions’ GeoLENs® Mobile Location Center team based in Wollongong, Australia. Previous to Andrew, Mr. Dawson spent 10 years at Nortel involved in the cellular location industry, working on intelligent network services and wireless intelligent networks. He is a member of the North American National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and co-author of the book IP Location.

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