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What if your SON could think for itself?


Self-organizing networks (SON) has brought enormous efficiency to communications service providers (CSPs) seeking to configure and optimize their fast-growing mobile networks with closed loop automation. As valuable as SON has been for earlier-generation mobile technologies, they’re going to be downright essential to manage the complexity that comes with adoption of 5G technology.

5G brings with it multiple frequency bands along with a myriad of usecases and network slicing making the networks complex besides co-existing with earlier technologies (2G/3G/4G). That amounts to thousands of base stations and millions of cells — too much for humans alone to manage. Self-organizing capabilities within the network will be critical as part of an overall and necessary shift toward autonomous operations that will push current-generation SON to its limits.

Beyond the need for human intervention

Today, many higher-order SON functions require human intervention by experienced — and sometimes hard-to-find — optimization engineers to set network performance objectives, evaluate conditions across different regions and parameters (e.g., rural and urban, high-volume vs. low-volume), analyze and correct problems, and determine if those corrections were effective.

This need for human judgment could create bottlenecks in the dynamic and radically complex 5G environment besides human prone errors — which is why getting away from human-led automation to fully machine-led autonomous operations is key.

Nokia’s transformational next-generation SON with cognitive abilities brings in machine learning to takeover manually driven SON functions. All the CSP needs to do is set the objectives, and Cognitive SON does the rest: understand network context, identifying problems, applying the right actions, and evaluating their efficacy.

However, we also know that not every CSP is going to be ready or comfortable to leap away immediately from their present human led network optimization actions to trusting a fully machine led autonomous system overnight. Therefore, to ease CSPs into the new mode of working, Cognitive SON provides extensive visibility and open controls for experts to monitor and influence its operation on the journey to adopting a fully autonomous system.

Our field trial based estimates show that Cognitive SON has the potential to reduce operating costs by as much as 80% by reducing or even eliminating the need for human intervention. Deep automation also contributes to a better, more consistent customer experience, fewer customer care calls and less churn. It also ensures timely resolution of problems detected automatically in the network enabling response in digital-time.

Ready for tomorrow’s network operations

We’ve built our Cognitive SON solution on cloud-native principles using the Nokia Common Software Foundation components, and it can be introduced seamlessly at existing Nokia SON deployments. Its cloud-native architecture allows Cognitive SON to scale independently, and to support a DevOps delivery model for rapid software updates. Nokia SON will also evolve to act as the Radio Domain Controller (RAN-NSSMF) that can be an integral part of the Operator’s end-to-end network slice management and orchestration solution.

At Nokia, we believe fully autonomous intelligent closed-loop systems will be essential to successful 5G Operations. As a CSP on your journey to digitization, are you ready to allow your SON and networks to think for themselves?

Webinar: Zero-touch automation to improve 5G quality and efficiency with Cognitive SON
Press release: Nokia-introduces-upgraded-cognitive-self-organizing-networks-software-to-drive-zero-touch-operations-for-5g
Product video
Expert interview video


Yatin Dharamshi

About Yatin Dharamshi

Yatin Dharamshi is Head of SON Products domain at Nokia Software overseeing its strategic evolution to meet the growing automation needs for network operations and optimization. In his spare time, Yatin is an avid field-hockey player and cyclist. He relishes being part of a large joint-family that is home to four generations.

Tweet me at @6dustypages

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