Friday, June 21, 2024

Smart taps US tech firm to reduce RF interference in its network

Smart Communications and Spectrum Effect announced on Friday, Feb. 24, that the PLDT wireless subsidiary has reached a new standard of network performance for its customers with the deployment of Spectrum-NET.

Photo from Smart

Smart deployed Spectrum-NET nationwide in 2022, enabling it to reduce in half the interference impacting its network, making Smart the cleanest network in the region.

According to data from Spectrum Effect, Smart now performs better than other operators in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America, putting Smart’s performance at par with North American and European countries.

Smart is presently in the process of turning up Spectrum-NET’s new auto-mitigation capability, immediately increasing network capacity and improving service quality for subscribers affected by remaining interference sources.  

“Radio frequency interference has a severe impact on our customers’ quality of experience, as it can lead to slower connections and choppy calls. As such, it has been a priority for Smart to take on this challenge head-on,” said Eric Santiago, network head at PLDT and Smart.

“By partnering with Spectrum Effect and adopting their industry-leading Spectrum-NET solution, Smart has overcome the formidable RF interference environment in the Philippines, delivering topnotch experience to our subscribers across the country. This is also proof of PLDT and Smart’s commitment to continue investing in automating our network and making our operations more efficient.”

Smart launched the Spectrum Interference Extraction Detection (SIED) Program driven by Spectrum-NET as a game-changer in managing and mitigating the impact of RF Interference.

The SIED program analyzed Smart’s entire cellular network and removed 60% of Passive Intermodulation (PIM) interfered cells and 65% of RAN-Generated Interference (RGI) impacted cells to normal levels as of January 2023.

To stem the continued increase in External Interference sources (e.g., substandard repeaters or “boosters”), especially in urban areas, Smart has been working with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“With the SIED program, Smart has been collaborating with Spectrum Effect on the development of solutions that automatically mitigate the impact of all types of interference, including boosters,” said Radames Zalameda, head of network quality at PLDT and Smart.

“Our efforts have contributed on average 40% in downlink throughput and 80% in UL throughput gains on cells where we resolved RF interference. We have maximized the value of the spectrum and improved customer experience on our network. We have been able to respond with better precision and agility using automated processes in optimizing Smart’s network.”

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