The writing on the wall

AUTHOR: Inavate

A new control wall has been installed at Turkcell’s Malepete Plaza network control centre in the Turkish capital Istanbul. The solution makes use of rear projection display cubes to provide information on network status overlaid with geographical detail and news feeds.

Turkish communications giant Turkcell first introduced mobile communications to Turkey in 1994 with their GSM services. Since then they have expanded their coverage to include 96% of the country’s population and now, with some 28.7 million customers are listed amongst the top ten European GSM providers in terms of subscriber numbers.

Small wonder, then, that the company make use of a massive display wall to keep a watchful eye on the status of their network. The NCC (network control centre) in Istanbul monitors the GSM network’s service quality and performance in real-time using the company’s fault management system as part of a 24/7 operation.

This approach allows Turkcell to substantially reduce the cost of network management and to provide improved quality of service to their customers.

The secondary use of the display wall at the NCC is to present information from the software systems in real-time to operators to improve their reaction times and ease interpretation of faults. On the wall operators are able to trace any fault in the entire Turkcell GSM network and to solve 70% of problems remotely.

The replacement of the existing system with a more modern solution was over-seen by Gurkan Birben Turkcell’s Management Systems Operations Engineer who described the process leading up to the decision a new system: “The main thing was to compare as many options as possible. To do this we made several visits to existing sites for demonstrations and we also visited the IBC show in 2004 in Amsterdam to look at a number of possible solutions. As a result of these comparisons we selected the Mitsubishi product along with Jupiter’s Fusion 980 system and their ControlPoint software.”

Once the decision was arrived at, the installation, which was carried out by representatives of Mitsubishi Europe and Jupiter Systems, was completed in only two days. Minor modifications were required to the supporting structure after removal of the old wall and then it was a matter of getting the new equipment cleared through customs. Apparently not something to be undertaken lightly!

The finished system uses 30 Mitsubishi cubes in a 5 x 6 configuration. This is driven by Jupiter System’s Fusion 980 Display wall processor which can accept up to 32 different RGB inputs for display on the wall. Control and management of the content comes via Jupiter’s ControlPoint software. The Fusion 980 is connected to Turkcell’s IP network and functions as a workstation. This allows any application on the network to be run through the controller and displayed on the wall. The main application is HP’s Openview management software which manages the GSM network, in addition with some in house software tools. Additional content to be displayed includes satellite TV feeds and also aerial maps which are viewed via a web browser. ControlPoint allows each feed to be controlled separately including it’s size on the screen, brightness and contrast.

The screen itself can be controlled by one operator at a time, and is used mainly to provide a system overview. Most interaction comes from the user’s individual PC work stations which are all connected to the Turkcell network, running the same applications which are viewable on the display wall.

Birben described how he felt the final system was performing : “We should evaluate the system in two parts: the video wall screens and the controller. With the Mitsubishi Videowall screens we have had a lot of benefit in terms of improved visibility and ease of operation. After the replacement we’ve had lots of good feedback from the operators on the screen brightness and clarity.
The cubes are also fitted with a lamp changer device and they are able to sense a complete lamp failure or degeneration in brightness of a percentage that we, the user, have defined. This switches to the new lamp automatically as required. This is very important for our 24 hour operations.”
Additionally the smart lamp swap function allows colour balance and brightness to be maintained across the whole wall by communicating the properties of the new lamp to the rest of the wall.

“Overall I think we made the right decision in our selection. The benefits to operators are clear, and the use of the established Jupiter products provide a good backbone to the Mitsubishi display walls. The people who did the work from Mitsubishi and Jupiter were experienced and knew their jobs well. It was a relatively simple installation and was therefore easily completed on time.” Summarised Mr Birben.