5G, IoT, and Edge Cloud offer huge potential for operators to increase their revenue multifold, by transforming the way they offer services to their customers. However, the cost around new spectrum, new radio, 5G core and control plane elements, increased capacity & low-latency transport network, virtualization/containerization, slicing & orchestration requirements all make the cost management and transformation a key compulsion for operators. Many top tier-1 operators have already taken up Network Optimization and End-to-end Network Lifecycle Automation as visionary projects to optimize costs.
Industry expectations on end-to-end network automation
The industry expectations on network automation span the entire lifecycle of the network and many top operators have started their first steps in unified IT and network operations. In our view, the automation has to be seamless, modular, and end-to-end for the lifecycle of networks spanning planning, engineering, deployment/rollout/transformation, operations, and optimization.
End-to-end lifecycle and coverage areas for automation
The following are key areas to address in an end-to-end network lifecycle automation:
Figure-1 shows the lifecycle and coverage that the automation should address.
Integrated End-to-End Network Automation Architecture
The following are key areas to address in an end-to-end network lifecycle automation: Figure-2 gives us the integrated automation architecture leveraging the analytical data lake that is already ingested with the live/real-time data, historical/snapshot data, fixed/static data, planned information data, predicted/projected data, etc. coming from the various network and IT data sources, analyzed using cognitive analytics and AI/ML techniques, etc., performing the following end-to-end network life cycle automation functions:
AI-based automated network planning
Flow-through network build
Automated network configuration/build/turn-up and Automated Network Testing/Validation
AIOps: Predictive & preventive operations
Once a network build phase is over, the operations part of the solution incorporates a lot of automation use cases viz.
Unified network and IT operations driving all possible synergies
The solution also leverages all possible synergies including processes, tools, automation, etc. across IT and network lifecycle activities
Continuous monitoring and improvement of automation through agile delivery processes and tools
Using a real-time contextual console, the solution monitors and provides the impacts of the implemented automation release as well as the feedback for further automation that is feasible for further optimization/improvement sprints in the completely agile delivery process
Automation is a critical part of the new ways of working. Not only does it improve efficiency in the way end-to-end processes work in the new 5G networks but also saves significant costs. Our automation solution addresses the end-to-end network lifecycle instead of just targeting the operations part. It also introduces several synergies the way operators operate their IT and networks, which is one of the key areas to address in the new era where the boundaries between IT and networks are shrinking and blurring.
DMTS – Senior Member,
iDEAS – Domain & Consulting
Sankar Srinivasan has more than 25 years of experience in telecom networks. He is a DMTS – Senior Member and essays the role of Practice Head – Network Solutions in the Communications BU. His responsibilities primarily include creating network solutions for Telcos around cutting-edge network technologies such as 5G, Orchestration, Virtualization, IP & Optical Transport Networks, Cognitive Analytics based Hyper Automation, and Network Optimization in Telco Networks.
Kishore Janardhan Hegde
iDEAS – Domain & Consulting
Kishore heads the NexGen service solutions as a practice. He has around 24 years of experience working with various service providers across global delivery and solutions. He is primarily working on building IPs, leveraging Wipro’s champion IP “HOLMES”, and building solutions using IPs across Wipro.