Excel Telecom Tricks – Exclusion

Here’s a problem I’ll bet you struggle with all the time.  You’ve got sites in your network with problems.  High handover failures, high dropped calls, other failing KPIs.  It might include sites on the edge of a coverage area with no handover neighbors, or sites which are close to lakes and other bodies of water, where RF skip from distant sites is a problem, or maybe sites with dodgy microwave backhaul links. There are tons of situations on a mobile network which can cause these persistent, hard-to-fix problems.

Dropped Calls Before & After
Dropped Calls Before & After

The image shows a list of “Top 10” sites with high dropped call rates.  On the left, is the current list.  This is before exclusion has been applied.

On the right is the list after the troublesome sites have been excluded.  Now all the sites on the list are problems that the team can actually solve.

If your cluster or network has enough of these problematic sites, then the awful statistics they produce can clutter your dashboards and recurring reports, masking other problems which could be fixed and really should. If your reports display a “Top 10” worst-performing sites, these known, unfixable problems will always appear, hiding other problems that you could be fixing.

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

I’ve seen many teams manually remove these sites from each report. This improves the usefulness of the reports by hiding problems which cannot be fixed. But manually removing these sites is a laborious and time-consuming manual process. It’s a tremendous waste of time. Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – Exclusion”

Excel Telecom Tricks – Normalization

An objective common to almost every Telecoms activity you’ll do in your career is to share your work with others. Sharing in this sense can take many forms:

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks
  • Document steps taken.
  • Identify a problem.
  • Teach a task to others.
  • Reveal a hidden truth.
  • Propose another plan.
  • Brainstorm fiercely.

The context for each of these tasks is Telecoms. But the actual process might seem only distantly related to the courses you took and theories they taught. Yet it is this process of data collection, manipulation, analysis, and, most importantly, presentation and sharing, which is at the very core of Telecoms.

Communicating your ideas so that others can understand them is a huge challenge. The technological skills and comprehension of your audience can be so unpredictable. Their goals and objectives may differ wildly from your own. So to achieve your goals and objectives, it’s up to you to communicate them in a way which is suitable for your audience.

There are entire courses taught on data presentation and visualization. It’s a big topic with lots of angles. In this article, I’ll discuss a very narrow technique from the field. It’s called “normalization”. Normalization is a way to present data so that it’s meaning or implications are more clear. I’ll show you several approaches for using Excel to normalize your data. Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – Normalization”

Excel Telecom Tricks – Seasonality

We make lots of reports in Telecoms.  Telecoms seems to be built on reports. Reports and acronyms.  Reports for every piece of equipment, for every circuit, for every service, for every product.  We make reports for forecasting, budgeting, both CapEx and OpEx, analyses, models.  Tons of reports.  Reports of all the reports.

Excel Telecom Tricks
Excel Telecom Tricks

One of the most common types of a report in Telecoms is a seasonality report.  What is Seasonality?

It’s easy to find examples of seasonality. Here are some:

  • The traffic Busy Hour is an example of daily seasonality.  A graph of traffic load looks pretty much the same day by day.
  • Weekend data traffic might be higher than weekdays because people have more time to stream movies.  This is weekly seasonality
  • Government or military employees might cause revenue seasonality by buying more phones and prepaid service when they get paid on the 1st and 15th every month.  This is monthly seasonality
  • Some US carriers experience a boom in Smartphone sales in March-April-May when people receive their government tax refund.  That’s a form of yearly seasonality.

Let’s explore seasonality by taking a closer look at a Busy Hour report. Continue reading “Excel Telecom Tricks – Seasonality”