Evolving Service Assurance to Support 5G
James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst – Service Provider IT and Automation, Heavy Reading
As the latest generation of mobile network technology, 5G is expected to be a game changer. New techniques in virtualization and softwarization will revolutionize the radio and core network, enabling high performance, low latency, and the flexibility to provide new, on-demand services that meet strict Quality of Service requirements.
The 5G network brings a new radio and a new core. It includes a new transport network architecture, and new technologies such as network slicing and mobile access edge computing, which increase network complexity and introduce new challenges for operations. The traditional approach of bolting on manual workflows will not be economical.
Testing and service assurance activities have historically been very manual, reactive and time-consuming. Examples include service turn-up/activation, change management, service quality monitoring and fault isolation. Automating these workflows can provide a quick win for operations. Automated active testing and service assurance can deliver immediate benefits for existing, hardware-based 4G networks and help prepare for the operation of new virtualized and cloud-native 5G networks.
In modern mobile networks, engineers are already overwhelmed by the volume of performance data and this is only going to get worse as 5G is rolled out. The volume of KPIs and KQIs will exceed the capacity of manual design and planning processes.
5G also brings more network complexity. The dynamic nature of multi-RAT (radio access technology) networks and virtualized cores will make it difficult to trace the root cause of issues. New tools will be needed to automatically analyze performance data, configuration parameters and alarm data, so that engineers can rapidly detect and fix network anomalies. These new tools must give engineers deeper insight into the intrinsic problems that cause network service issues, enabling them to take proactive measures to prevent these problems from impacting quality of service.
At Light Reading's Software-Driven Operations summit in London on November 5, representatives from network operators such as BT, Orange and Three UK -- as well as participants from the vendor community -- will take part in a panel discussion on the service assurance demands of 5G. Join us to learn how service assurance must evolve to support 5G.
— James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading