Three Keys to 5G Network Agility

By: Ron Haberman

As the rollout of 5G networks accelerates, the pressure to meet customer expectations has reached an all-time high. Whether it’s enhanced mobile broadband, AR or VR use cases or HD video streaming, meeting customer expectations for quality of service and quality of experience amid the fast pace of change requires maintaining an agile network. This article examines why automation, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, and advanced testing and monitoring are necessary for every agile network to manage ultra-complex, fast-paced scenarios and minimize the risk of failure.

Orchestrating 5G success

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly made the telecom industry, along with everyone on the planet, hyper-aware of the staggering demand for reliable connectivity. In the first quarter of the pandemic, broadband consumption increased in the United States by 47 percent, according to OpenVault, a provider of broadband consumption patterns. In fact, in a single day, Americans streamed 50,000 years’ worth of content, there were 2.7 billion Microsoft Teams meeting minutes recorded, and 3,800 years of Google Meet sessions, according to Infinera, a provider of open optical networking solutions. For the most part, telecom networks were able to meet the growing demand. But for operators to achieve success and remain relevant in the future 5G world, telecom networks are going to need to orchestrate seamless, smooth, and uninterrupted services across the board. The challenge that operators are facing is the labyrinth of new and legacy technology generations, entangled with a multitude of devices and protocols, all running in parallel.

Operators will need to continue to meet the demands and expectations of customers and businesses while optimizing their platforms to make the network puzzle come together. Furthermore, a host of aggressive competitors, armed with both promises and concrete deliverables, are always on the lookout to grab their piece of the market. We have far surpassed the time where customer satisfaction was considered “nice to have.”

It has become imperative to guarantee quality of service and quality of experience in a complex scenario, while fostering innovation and keeping costs in check. This is where the three keys of network agility come in: automation, CI/CD pipelines, and advanced testing and monitoring.

Accelerating service assurance through automation

With the fast pace of service and software rollouts that are taking over today’s next-generation networks, supporting methods and processes also need to be introduced. Frankly, the labor-intensive and error-prone manual processes associated with legacy solutions have become exorbitantly expensive and operationally impossible. This is because they are no longer able to adequately address the complexities of network design, technology integration, deployment, operation, and maintenance. To handle these ultra-complex and fast-paced scenarios and minimize the threats of failure that can lead to customer churn and revenue loss, enhanced testing strategies and automated processes become vital.

The introduction of automation and testing can reduce the challenges operators face, providing a set of tools that enables them to automate cumbersome manual testing and monitoring processes. It can be used at all stages of the network lifecycle, from design to deployment and operations. 

By implementing an automation framework, operators can accelerate innovation, improve customer experience, and reduce operational costs using tools that will enhance automated testing and automate various processes, such as methods of  procedure (MOPs), acceptance test processes (ATP), and regression, allowing


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