As 5G networks are deployed one of the most important growth opportunities for carrier will be in the enablement of digital transformation for enterprises and the public sector.
Digital transformation will become a major focus of global investment and development across the world over the next decade, in particular in the burgeoning economies of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Seeking to take advantage of ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, flexible and intelligent services available over 5G networks, both governments and enterprises will migrate many services to the cloud.
This trend will unleash many new opportunities for global carriers to boost revenue but also place increasing demands on carrier’ bearer networks, which will play a key role in enabling a country’s digital transformation.
Bearer networks provide the key link between 5G radio access networks and the carrier’s core network. 5G mobile bearer networks link backhaul networks, Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), core and backbone networks. Typically, they include the access, aggregation and core layers and provide network connectivity, management, stability and security functions between the network core and edge.
As digital transformation opportunities increase, carriers will be unable to manage the increased traffic efficiently and economically without building state-of-the-art network digital O&M systems to enable IP network automation and intelligence, in order to accelerate digital transformation for their customers.
Network User Experience and Service Level Agreements
As industries migrate their systems to the cloud as a result of digital transformation, different industries will require different Service Level Agreements (SLAs). However, current IP bearer networks cannot provide agile, differentiated SLA assurance or satisfy diversified service requirements.
On many existing bearer networks, network quality is invisible, making it impossible to observe SLA changes promptly. Quality deterioration leads to traffic suppression and if the quality problem is not resolved rapidly dataflow of usage (DOU) cannot be improved. This results in poor user experience and increased churn rates. In the case of one large Asian carrier, traffic suppression was happening on 17% of base stations, 75% of which were located in high-value areas, which significantly negatively impacted revenues.
When network latency cannot be observed in real time networks often resort to best-effort forwarding, but this does not meet the differentiated SLA requirements of industry customers. O&M personnel have very limited manual analysis and optimisation capabilities. Invisible network latency results in service detours, and poor user experience as traffic cannot be automatically scheduled and service paths cannot be adjusted immediately when service deterioration occurs. This means it is almost impossible for carriers to provide continuous network service experience guarantees.
To enable digital transformation for customers, IP bearer networks should support visualized network quality, differentiated traffic, and automated scheduling so as to realize differentiated SLA assurance, improve service experience, and satisfy the diversified service requirements of industry customers. To relieve network congestion and continuously guarantee user experience, the network itself must be able to perceive user experience in real time and release suppressed traffic.
Poor Network Reliability and Security Leads to Increased Costs
Backbone networks carry a large number of services. The world's largest IP backbone network has 2000+ NEs carrying hundreds of millions of user services. A tiny route configuration error on the backbone network may lead to wide-ranging impact on the normal operation of society and huge economic losses to carriers.
Moreover, the longer the downtime, the higher the extra cost borne by carriers. In one recent instance, a network-wide services outage due to an incorrect routing policy being applied lasted 37 hours, affected over 30 million customers and resulted in direct economic losses of more than US$190 million.
Secure and reliable networks require that network configurations must be verified in advance, preventing incorrect configurations from being introduced into the network.
Network Energy Use
Energy prices have soared globally, making energy conservation a priority, particularly given the global consensus on green development. Devices from IP bearer networks contribute 10% to 25% to the total power consumption of all communications devices, second only to base stations.
As such, energy conservation and emission reduction are imperative for IP bearer networks. Without knowledge of devices' energy consumption, network-wide optimization of energy conservation is out of the question. Energy consumption of the entire network should be visible and manageable, enabling network-wide optimization of energy conservation.
Huawei Network Digital Map
Network Digital Map in Huawei's iMaster NCE-IP is an innovative solution that manages the physical network world through a digital world. It helps carriers build an efficient, reliable, green network with the best-possible experience in the pursuit of faster digital transformation.
Utilising a big data engine, iMaster NCE-IP processes massive amounts of data in seconds, including multidimensional indicators such as real-time latency, bandwidth, packet loss, and energy consumption of 100,000 links on 30,000 NEs. With the help of the intelligent cloud-map algorithm it truly achieves one map for the entire network.
Key elements of the solution include:
Differentiated service bearer: Network Digital Map operates similar to a transportation navigation map and is capable of multidimensional network visualization, differentiated and automatic traffic scheduling, and differentiated service bearer. It helps continuously guarantee service SLAs and improve service experience.
- Network visualization: Network Digital Map provides views of six layers — physical, slicing, network, route, service, and application, implementing multidimensional visualization from links to applications.
- Transportation navigation app-like experience: Network Digital Map is integrated with GIS so that devices can be accurately located based on GIS information. The map also supports path pre-computation and multiple path selection policies, such as bandwidth balancing and minimum delay.
- Automatic traffic scheduling: Network Digital Map perceives network quality in real time and automatically optimizes paths if the quality is found deteriorating. The optimization efficiency is improved from days to minutes.
Unique "Congestion Free" feature: Network Digital Map uses heat maps to display traffic suppression, service experience and network bottlenecks. Users can drill down layer by layer to pin-point congestion hop by hop to locate poor-QoS points. A unique range of measurement, diagnostic and analysis tools are available so users can keep networks congestion free:
- In-band measurement technology: detects poor QoE in microseconds and directly associates poor QoE with the network.
- Knowledge graph reasoning: is employed to accurately locate fault points and root causes.
- Diagnosis function: provides the accurate causes of poor QoE and network optimization suggestions.
- Intelligent fault analysis technology: uses machine learning algorithms to reduce noise in network alarms and conduct multidimensional correlation and aggregation analysis of these alarms.
As a result, average fault location time is reduced from hours to minutes. Customers can build networks precisely based on service experience to achieve congestion-free networks and guarantee user experience.
Intent verification: iMaster NCE-IP’s high-precision simulation engine verifies configuration changes in complex large-scale networks. During service configuration delivery, command configurations can be simulated to identify manual configuration errors in advance, effectively intercepting network configuration errors and preventing major network incidents.
Green operation: To improve the situation wherein devices' energy consumption remains a "black-box", Network Digital Map builds the "green operation" capability that makes energy consumption visible and manageable on the entire network.
Benefits of Network Digital Map
iMaster NCE's Network Digital Map has been deployed by carriers and service providers in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia. According to Nariman Razali, VP of Technology Strategy and Planning at Telekom Malaysia "Huawei iMaster NCE offers whole network control capabilities, so it can provide a real global network view and real end-to-end management. NCE supports an optimal path computation algorithm to meet different service quality requirements. NCE also supports service agility to quickly meet changing business requirements."
NCE’s mapping feature has enabled multiple carriers to view their entire network on one map for the first time, delivering up to 30% reduction to the TCO and an effective increase the average DOU of ToC services of 25%. Originally invisible network-wide status changes can be seen in milliseconds, typically time to optimize networks when link quality deteriorates has been reduced from two months to a few minutes, and up to 30% of suppressed traffic is released.
“The network is the backbone for digital transformation especially with the diffusion of applications and mobile devices to facilitate hybrid work and leisure in addition to proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G technologies,” said Khaled Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Core Networks and Platforms from etisalat by e& UAE. “With the digital map it will help provide real time information helping us build a robust digital network. This feature implements intelligent network restoration and services, greatly improving efficiency and providing superior quality services for industry customers.”