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How to reduce OPEX and CAPEX by up to 81% with optical network automation

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Analysys Mason study confirms automation is your key to unlocking significant advantages in your optical transport network

Where would we be without our optical transport networks? After all, almost all the data we use every day is at some point carried by them as it travels on the more than 5 billion kilometers of fiber-optic cable deployed around the globe.

The importance of these networks is only growing as we ask more and more from them—connect to more devices, carry data for more applications, provide ultra-low latency and highly reliable connectivity to support specific use cases, address new markets to expand revenue, and do it all at higher speeds. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), edge computing, Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities or autonomous vehicles can’t succeed without robust and efficient optical transport.

Network operators are deploying more advanced networks to manage increasingly demanding optical transport requirements. These include:

  • Coherent optical technologies that can support speeds of >1 Tb/s

  • New line system configurations such as higher-degree ROADMs and diverse routing policies

  • Support for open standards so they can build best-of-breed multivendor networks

  • The ability to provide customers with connectivity and virtual network slicing that meet end subscriber application requirements on demand.

Creating the technology that service providers can use to build networks that meet these requirements is a key initiative for Nokia, what we call “Scale made simple”. We’re delivering scale with our super-coherent optics technology and optical line systems. Making it “simple” to manage these increasingly complex networks with existing resources is no easy task, however, and demands new approaches.

Imagine a world where the optical transport network could save you time and money by managing itself. One in which the network has a complete picture of all its network elements, sees where capacity limits are being reached and proactively begins the planning process to add scale. And where the network can take over configuration processes and add new devices or services with little to no human intervention—without errors.

Optical network automation solutions can play a key role in making this world a reality by letting you digitalize operational processes so you can manage network equipment and simplify network-driven tasks much more efficiently. But deploying automation isn’t as simple as a software upgrade. It often requires an organization-wide shift in the way networks are planned, commissioned, provisioned, analyzed and optimized.

This has led many network operators to hold off on introducing automation until they can see the benefits are worth the effort. If that sounds like you, I have good news: The evidence is in and it’s extremely positive.

Nokia worked with the research firm Analysys Mason to quantify the real-world benefits of our WaveSuite optical network automation platform. We talked to a variety of service providers around the globe to better understand how they operated their networks before introducing automation, and how that changed after they deployed WaveSuite in terms of CAPEX, OPEX and time to market for network management tasks and service delivery.

The results were compelling. Here are some of the high-level findings:

  • Automating network lifecycle management processes led to OPEX savings of up to 56 percent through simpler network operations that made it faster and easier to deploy, configure and manage optical networks.
  • Automating service virtualization reduced OPEX up to 81 percent by reducing the labor required to complete service order fulfilment and service assurance processes.
  • Automating network planning for both planned and deployed networks optimizes network resources and enables legacy network equipment to be retired, which contributes to CAPEX avoidance of up to 30%.
  • Operators expect automation to provide up to 10 percent uplift in revenue from improved win rates, faster time to market for services, the ability to offer differentiated services through optical network virtualization and the inclusion of network-as-a-service business models.

The network operators we talked to also revealed secondary benefits of adopting network automation:

  • Consolidating IP and optical processes into a single integrated system helped reduce the costs associated with manual processing and software integration between different systems
  • Hardware cost can be reduced through more efficient network designs, helping reduce network CAPEX for some services by up to 30 percent.
  • Integrating new third-party applications into a single planning and optimization platform can reduce the number of applications required to run the network, along with associated costs. One operator achieved a 30 percent CAPEX savings by retiring the middleware software it used for integration and connecting WaveSuite to other operations support systems (OSSs).
  • Automation enabled one operator to offer more stringent network service-level agreements (SLAs) and use enhanced monitoring to reduce SLA violations, leading to fewer service outages and lower operational cost.
  • Automation improved average service order fulfillment time from ten days to 24 hours, contributing to 90 percent savings in operational costs. This enabled a Tier-1 North American operator to improve its win rates by a factor of five.

If you’ve been sitting on the fence about starting your optical network automation journey, this report clearly shows the time for debate is over. The automation train is leaving the station for a destination that will bring lower CAPEX and OPEX, faster time to market and higher revenue. Get on board now and arrive at the land of automation benefits sooner or be forced to compete at a significant disadvantage with those who’ve already invested.

Visit our product page to get the full report and learn how the features and benefits of WaveSuite can help your transport optical network succeed well into the future.

Ravi Parmasad

About Ravi Parmasad

Ravi Parmasad is Head of the Network Automation Group in the Optical Networks Division at Nokia. Previously, Ravi held several senior leadership roles at Nokia and its predecessor, Alcatel-Lucent. He enjoys acting as an ambassador for many Nokia initiatives, including student programs aimed at facilitating entry into the technology workforce, and is a former contributing member of the Telecom Industry Association QuEST Forum. Ravi earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Ottawa, where he has also returned to instruct executive MBA students.

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