A new whitepaper from ETSI addresses what the standards group says is “perhaps the most critical challenge facing the telecom industry as it moves into 5G” – network management.
Network Transformation: Orchestration, Network and Service Management Framework has been written by several of ETSI’s Industry Specification Groups’ (ISG) Chairs and looks at the path to a single automated management framework.
According to the whitepaper, the change the telecoms industry is currently undergoing – driven by the needs of 5G networks and applications, and enabled by technologies such as network functions virtualisation (NFV) and cloud-native deployment practices – is likely to be “the single biggest technological and business transformation of the telecom industry since the consolidation of mobile communication infrastructures”.
As telecom networks are become highly distributed and software-defined, running primarily on homogeneous cloud resources, this new flexibility should allow mobile operators to address the varied requirements of 5G applications efficiently (e.g. through the use of techniques like network slicing) – but only if the overall network services can be properly managed.
“The issue of management is perhaps the most critical challenge facing the telecom industry as it moves into 5G,” the paper notes.
Zero-touch network & services
Given the scale and complexity of 5G networks, management solutions need to be highly automated and intelligent, with the ability to collect large amounts of relevant data, process them and act on them in an automated fashion.
ETSI explains, “To use an over-simplified example, truck rolls are expensive. When they are ‘emergency’ truck rolls, they are very expensive and if they require a 5G network expert to be on the truck, they are a financial disaster. The challenge is to use automation to completely eliminate the need for network expertise on a truck, to minimise emergency rolls by using predictive maintenance, and to significantly reduce truck rolls through automation.”
The new whitepaper outlines a common framework for management of virtualised network environments and extended to the distributed edge with public-cloud aspects by mobile edge computing (MEC).
It discusses how ‘experiential networked intelligence’ (ENI) solutions can be deployed within or across network domains to optimise the processing of data, extract knowledge, and thus enable decision-making.
The paper highlights the work of zero-touch network and service management (ZSM) in bringing all these and other technologies together into a single automated management framework.