Tribulations are the nasty part; the thorny, annoying issues that stop us in our tracks when we think we have the perfect solution to a problem.

There are of course many of these for almost any problem; some big, some small.

Here's an example to set the scene.

Why can't cellular networks go faster?

Well, they can. The problem faced by today's cellular networks is they are using the old deployment model - one big macrocell covering a lot of people - that worked really well when coverage, not capacity, was the issue.

Today, data traffic massively outnumbers voice traffic, and coverage is mostly solved for the majority of users. Capacity is now challenged.

So, there's our problem. A potential solution? A larger number of smaller cells, deployed much closer to the users. Sorted, right?

Unfortunately, here's where the tribulations come in. How can we:

  1. Deploy all these small cells?
  2. Manage them all?
  3. Connect them back to our network?
  4. Afford them?

As you can see, things get hairy pretty quickly.

But, these are all solvable issues - any tribulation is an opportunity if you look hard enough.

General tribulations

There are a few things that are bound to pop up when thinking about any solution to a given problem, both from a technical and business perspective. Such as:

  1. Is this economical?
  2. Are we solving the problem in the best way?
  3. Does it require changes to the rest of the system?
  4. Will it work with the business model?
  5. Can it scale?

Some of these are much easier to answer than others. For instance, incompatibility with a business model is likely to kill a solution even if it ticks the boxes for all the other tribulations.

For Network Architecture 2020, resolving the most important tribulations is key. Otherwise, it stands little chance of bringing its benefits to us.

What's next?

Now that we've seen some of the technologies, trends and tribulations, let's take a look at Network Architecture 2020 in detail