Hands-off transport: without automation, 5G won’t work
This is part of our ‘5G Anyhaul’ blog series providing expert insights and best practices to help you prepare your transport network for 5G and support innovative services that create new revenue opportunities.
Your 5G business case is decided. You’ve deployed a 5G radio network. Transport links using microwave carrier aggregation, as well as optical and IP links, are in place to achieve the required throughput and latency. It’s going well.
Now you just have to configure and run the network to ensure your customers get the promised 5G experience.
Yet that’s a lot more complex than with previous generation networks. 5G introduces new elements and technologies that must all work in harmony. Network densification means more base stations to connect, more transport links to maintain and more configuration changes as services develop. Cloud-based Radio Access Network (RAN) architectures and cloud edge deployments add further complexity for the transport network. Migration to the cloud brings greater need for flexible, dynamic interconnectivity of network services across the RAN and core.
Moving to automation
It will no longer be feasible for operations personnel to physically log into transport nodes to manually set up ports and cross-connections to provision new 5G services or integrate new elements. Without automation, configuring and reconfiguring the complex technology mix of 5G is just too big a task. Only by adapting and optimizing networks in real time can Communications Service Providers (CSPs) deliver compelling and innovative services that will build their profitability.
Carrier Software Defined Networking (SDN), with its programmability and easy configuration, is widely recognized as the most effective way to achieve the necessary automation. With SDN, traffic flows are automatically and dynamically managed to keep services running at peak performance. SDN makes more efficient use of the network and reduces operational costs by managing links automatically.
However, not all SDN implementations are the same. Some carrier SDN solutions are constructed from a mix of components with limited coordination between them. They may not be able to maintain end-to-end service levels across the network. If just one part of the transport network does not offer the required throughput or latency for a high-value 5G service, then the Quality of Experience (QoE) will be damaged.
Achieving dynamic interconnectivity
With this in mind, the Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP) is purpose-built to deliver a unified approach to automation and control of all transport network technologies – microwave, IP and optical. With Nokia NSP, it doesn’t even matter if the transport technologies deployed are provided by different vendors. NSP is fully multi-vendor capable.
NSP automatically provisions all network layers to speed up service delivery over physical and virtual network infrastructure. With NSP, a service can be activated automatically with just a few mouse clicks and completed in minutes, even when dozens of nodes are involved.
NSP also incorporates advanced analytics for accurate monitoring and detailed reporting on the network and services, helping CSPs to become more proactive and to further optimize their networks.
Furthermore, NSP not only enables network slicing but supports Layer 3 Virtual Private Networks (L3VPNs) to ensure complete and secure separation of slices. Network slicing is a key 5G capability that opens new business opportunities for CSPs by providing specific network service characteristics tailored for different user groups.
Unifying service automation and network optimization in one platform with a smart, real-time view of network resources, Nokia NSP enables CSPs to use automated network control to bring exciting services online quickly and instantly adapt the 5G network according to changing demand.
And that’s why SDN and automation are vital to ensure 5G networks deliver the innovation and performance you need to stay ahead of your competitors.
Visit our Microwave Anyhaul page to learn how we can help you prepare your transport network for 5G and support innovative services that create new revenue opportunities.
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