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NEC technology reduces processing for cellular networks by estimating the location of mobile terminals

*** For immediate use October 2, 2013

Tokyo, October 2, 2013 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) has developed a new technology that estimates the location of mobile terminals connected to cellular networks, such as smartphones and mobile phones, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the signal processing that is required for managing location information and enabling flexible location management of more terminals.

With the rapid expansion of cellular networks in recent years, the number of devices that communicate via cellular networks, such as mobile terminals and automobiles, has also significantly increased. Within this environment, there is enormous potential for the use of the huge volumes of data ("big data") processed by cellular networks.

In order for telecommunications carriers to provide reliable communications for this diverse range of moving devices, their core networks need to manage the location information of these devices. The management method currently used by telecommunications carriers requires the core network to preset location areas based on the mobility patterns of people, who are the users of mobile devices, and renews the location registration when a device moves from one area to another.

However, since devices communicating via cellular networks are rapidly increasing and diversifying, there is increasing variation in mobility patterns in terms of velocity and direction. As a result, large volumes of signals are transmitted in order to clarify the location of a device. This requires telecommunications carriers to process an increased management workload.

Moreover, when a telecommunications carrier sends a signal to a device, signals are broadcast to all base stations, including those situated in areas where the device is not currently located. This process, called paging, is another cause of unnecessary management workload.

NEC's newly developed technology flexibly sets management areas by estimating the mobility of devices, such as a broad management area for devices that move at high speeds and a narrow management area for those that move at low speeds.

In this way, the new technology reduces the frequency that location information is registered for devices since it reduces the number of signals that are sent to areas where the device is not located. This results in a dramatic reduction in the amount of signal processing required for managing the location of devices. Moreover, it allows telecommunications carriers to accommodate many more devices with their existing management servers, thereby helping to save on facility investment costs.

Features of the new technology include the following:

  1. Uses an original algorithm to predict the changing location of devices with high accuracy
    NEC's original lightweight algorithm enables the accurate prediction of the mobility of devices with irregular mobility patterns.

  2. Reduces management workload by dynamically setting management areas
    By dynamically setting location areas based on a device's estimated mobility, the frequency of renewing location registration is reduced by up to 50% and the amount of signal processing for paging is reduced by up to 75%.

Going forward, in addition to working towards the commercialization of this technology, NEC will continue to actively engage in the development of cellular networks and information communication technologies that support the big data era.

This work was supported by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.


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