As telecom networks are moving from 4G to cloud-native 5G, OEM vendors are transforming their products/solutions from legacy to Virtualized Network Functions (VNF).
Because products are getting virtualized and delivered in agile mode, telco operators are being challenged with quicker time-to-market for their products. Globally, telco customers perform lab certification of their products/solutions before they are made available to all.
The big question, however, revolves around getting the entire test cycle automated.
The need of the hour for telco operators is to adapt/enhance a unified network test automation methodology/framework to reduce the lab certification cycle.
Telco Operator Network is an integration of multiple OEM vendor products, some providing Physical Network Functions (PNF), and others, VNF. Hence, telco customers end up having multiple test tools and automation frameworks from the OEM vendors or tool partners, for their product certification. In the current telco test lab environment, discrete test tools and automation frameworks exist, specifically addressing multi-vendor products and network functions.
Contrary to earlier network functions delivery, OEM vendors and telco customers are adapting to agile delivery for both PNF and VNF. Therefore, plenty of regression testing happens in the lab environment, consuming a lot of time and effort. Network test automation with an integrated framework has become a focused area to meet the new-age lab certification.
Proposed solution framework
Since there is tremendous pressure on ROI, telco customers are adopting open source based tools/automation frameworks. Because of the ease of integration with existing frameworks and readily available plug-ins, open source robot framework is the default tool used for test automation in many telco customer labs. The ideal solution for any telco operator would be a seamless automation framework which can integrate with PNF and VNF infrastructure as well as the test environment (test tools and simulators).
Typically, lab certification has four test phases, viz. onboarding, functional testing, performance testing and services testing from lab entry to lab exit.
In every phase of lab testing, multiple test automation tools exist independently. Telco customers need an integrated solution that can perform all the lab test automations seamlessly, providing a final test report for the lab exit.
Wipro’s Unified Test Automation Framework - VEVATO - is positioned as one such tool for seamless network test automation. The tool integrates with the telco customer’s test environment, test tools and test management systems, as shown below, and performs lab certification activities seamlessly.