Company keeps the score on network growth

ScoreBoard Inc., a developer of monitoring and planning software for mobile networks, has announced the availability of an enhancement designed to help operators manage the growth of their networks.

Scoreboard’s Growth Management software is for operators designing and planning new cell sites. It performs predictive modelling and generates a graphical picture that illustrates where additional coverage might be needed. The information can then be plugged into the company’s suite of network analysis applications – also called ScoreBoard – to determine what effects nearby sites may have on a potential site, and vice versa.

ScoreBoard says the program also helps maximize network capacity and improves the quality of existing cell sites. The module generates modelled data into the ScoreBoard analysis program to enable “what-if” planning. The modelled data includes measured effects of radio frequency signals from other cell sites in the network, antenna types and local terrain effects. It also takes into account tower height and placement.

Once data is collected, an analysis algorithm is applied and a ScoreBook is generated, similar to a report card. The ScoreBook contains “scores” of an operator’s system that identify holes and problems. The ScoreBook also provides a list of prioritized recommendations, such as channel assignment.

The program operates under the ASP model, ScoreBoard says, where the company hosts the application in a secured facility. Operators obtain a secure Internet connection to the site via a licensing contract with ScoreBoard, and then present submissions to ScoreBoard based on what part of the network they want analyzed.

Monthly submissions can differ in number and scope, depending on the size of the operator’s market, ScoreBoard says.

Currently the product is available only for GSM-based networks, a decision ScoreBoard says it made based on GSM’s global market share. The company says it is optimized for Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution implementations expected in 2002. ScoreBoard developed a patented prototype for use in Code Division Multiple Access networks that will be released this year.

Christine Loredo, senior analyst of mobile wireless research for Strategis Group in Washington, says the new Growth Management module brings the company up to speed with competitors such as CellPlan, Marconi Corp. PLC and Agilent Technologies Inc.

However, Loredo says ScoreBoard still has a few obstacles to overcome.

“ScoreBoard has a smaller market share than these other companies, just under five per cent,” she says. “The market has also stalled because of the economy, but we anticipate that picking up by the end of 2002 and into 2003.”

For more information see Herndon, Va.-based ScoreBoard at