Dynamic 5G Networks Demand AI-Powered OSS

By: Ari Banerjee

5G represents a gigantic leap forward in networking technology with accelerated transmission, higher bandwidth, massive connectivity and reduced latency. Combining these capabilities with network slicing and MEC processing offers the potential to revolutionize businesses and transform societies. However, fully employing these new capabilities is impossible unless they are matched by equally sophisticated mechanisms of orchestration and management. Dynamic 5G services require unprecedented levels of automation with AI-driven OSS functions to utilize the full value of 5G networks. The OSS of the future must incorporate new technology and methodologies and work in tandem with BSS to automate 5G operations for both CSPs and their customers.

Cloud-native microservices

One of the major benefits of a 5G network is the ability to flexibly meet the needs of diverse applications and services for latency, bandwidth, security and more across multiple technology and service provider domains. For example, a vending machine will differ vastly from a self-driving car in what it needs from the network. 5G networks not only meet these different criteria but also continuously adapt to the shifting needs of individual applications and services in real time for optimized resource management. A self-driving car might need high bandwidth and near-zero latency when driving and then need nothing when it is parked. 5G networks with the right kind of architecture can monitor and adjust for these different needs to avoid a massive waste of resources.   

What is the right architecture for CSPs in the 5G era? The answer lies in adoption of a microservices-based architecture for mission-critical BSS and OSS applications. Many operators still use legacy architecture with rigid and complex systems that suffer from high TCO, limited scalability and minimal flexibility. Microservices break down these complex systems by creating a loosely coupled architecture. Modular cloud-native components communicate with simple APIs and carry out specific functions to support far greater OSS orchestration.

Microservices should have the ability to be hosted on any public or telco cloud platform utilizing containers. Containers can deploy microservices in seconds for rapid scalability, deployment and redeployment to any public or telco cloud platform. This endows CSPs with a wide range of advantages, including cloud scaling, cloud economics and a faster time to market. CSPs can use microservices coupled with DevOps to dynamically upgrade and scale OSS functions on demand for extensive optimized flexibility and seamless upgrades. 

Dynamic E2E orchestration

5G transformation cannot happen overnight. The transition of CSPs from physical to virtual and cloud-native resources is still ongoing and has created complex multi-vendor systems with both physical and virtual resources. Open ecosystems that utilize the resources and services of multiple vendors and partners are becoming the industry norm. These hybrid systems, with both 4G and 5G components, span multiple on-premise, cloud and edge locations, making onboarding, provisioning, service assurance and problem resolution incredibly complex and difficult to manage. Slow adoption of cloud-native functions across the industry and inadequate legacy equipment further complicate networks and OSS operations when dealing with multiple organizations. Despite the intricacies of these new systems and ecosystems, CSPs must still guarantee high QoS and meet demanding SLAs. Manual management of these complex OSS processes creates a human bottleneck and severely limits the utility of networks regardless of enhancements to speed or flexibility.

Dynamic E2E orchestration of services and network resources resolves these problems by automating service and network design, provisioning, full-lifecycle management and optimizations. OSS functions must employ open APIs to offer flexible programmability and simplify integration with a broad ecosystem of partners. Complex environments make it difficult to manually pinpoint the causes of problems, monitor processes or scale systems, but E2E orchestration provides the crucial advantage of visibility to resolve these problems.

Orchestration across telco clouds, public clouds and the edge for diverse multi-cloud services is another crucial step in managing complex networks for the 5G era. Combining OSS functions with closed-loop capabilities, AI and advanced analytics guarantees efficient resource management and service deployment while giving CSPs the flexibility to navigate the challenges of multi-vendor ecosystems.


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