What’s next in Network Automation?
As we all recognize, today’s networks are getting more complex and competition in the Telecom market is intensifying. Operators are looking to improve the customer experience, manage the introduction of new technology into their existing networks, while operating within a shrinking budget. The use of small cells and the requirement to support heterogeneous networks, or HETNETS, is part of this growing complexity.
To help manage all this change, the goal amongst service providers is to optimize their network in a way that provides a seamless experience for users and reduces manual processes. Automated and dynamic optimization of an operator’s constantly evolving Network and IT infrastructure is becoming a necessity. Increasingly, service providers are looking to features from self-organizing networks (SON) as a key operational strategy in both improving efficiency and delivering better network performance.
SON Plus Policy
Policy management, when integrated with SON, helps operators set rules and policies that shape automatic network behavior, helping to simplify many of the manual processes related to managing multi-technology, multi-vendor networks. Network management systems can help by providing visibility across the entire expanse of network and service activity; and with the right architecture, service providers can now generate a closed loop view that automatically identifies inefficiencies and optimizes the network & IT infrastructure without requiring lengthy manual processes.
SON functionality, as introduced over the last few years, has been very focused on a fixed set of specific optimizations that have been focused on identifying potential bottlenecks- fed by limited input coming from the network element managers. That’s all about to change. With today’s ‘Agile IT evolution’ of wider virtualization concepts gaining acceptance, along with the constant need for maximizing the value of the customer lifecycle, the impact of SON when paired with Policy Control is becoming much broader and more beneficial – helping to reduce costs and provide a better customer experience.
Key Benefits of SON and automated policy management are that it:
- Increases operational efficiency and reduces costs by automating the optimization processes for Network & IT organizations
- Speeds up the response to network quality issues – helping to increase customer satisfaction & reduce churn
- Ability to support dynamic policies that allow the network to adapt to real world changes
- Simplifies configuration of complex network features, freeing up staff for other duties and reducing overhead costs
A Catalyst for Change
TEOCO is currently leading the TeleManagement Forum Catalyst project to demonstrate the benefits of a Network based SON implementation paired with centralized Policy Control. Our focus includes both network and customer experience (CEM) inputs, shown in the context of NFV orchestration as well as various other optimization scenarios. We’re moving beyond the bottlenecks to a more holistic view. This
Catalyst focuses on using a variety of network, service and CEM key performance and quality indicators to detect inefficiencies and churn/revenue risk conditions.
The benefits of this approach will grow as network complexity grows. The integration of policy management makes it easier to configure network features, which means network experts are freed up from having to manage repetitive manual tasks, letting them focus on more strategic activities. Automation is the future – without it we won’t be able to keep up with the pace of change that technology enables and our customers demand.