Careful steps needed on the road to self-organising and optimising networks
“Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) offer service providers the opportunity to vastly increase the efficiency of their network and its operation,” says Wolrad Claudy of Aria Networks.
A fully software controlled network may be something that all service providers aspire to, but the transition towards this is something that requires careful planning and management.
Automating network operations such as capacity optimisation, how best to respond to failure conditions, and modelling the potential impact of launching new data services is invaluable. Determining the real cost of service delivery from current network assets and its return of investment is the foundation for optimising network and operational efficiency to maximise profitability.
If network operators are to remain competitive against eroding margins and rising service quality expectations, starting the journey towards a virtualised network is the obvious step to take. It is important to note here however that the transition process from a physical, to a virtual network is a longer term goal and the reality is that both will run in parallel to each other for a number of years.
Whilst there are a number of tools available in the market that will plan single network domains and technologies and then optimise its outcomes, only Aria Networks does it seamlessly across physical and virtual components, holistically across different domains and multiple levels of the network optimising the end-to-end service delivery. The methodology progresses from first identifying operational and network maturity levels in the network, to scaling from an asset driven, device engineering approach, and then moving in phases towards a network optimised on business driven objectives.
The outcome of this approach is the automation of a business objective driven optimisation that goes beyond numbers of nodes, routers and capacity and truly considers the factors that will drive network profitability. For example, it is possible to model scenarios for the network that consider other fundamental parameters such as minimising the cost of power consumption or ensuring that non-essential traffic flows at non peak times can also be factored into the network’s optimisation. Being able to optimise the network for these kind of parameters is transformational in terms of the impact on profitability.
This approach ensures that peak traffic times, and potentially problematic failure conditions, can be identified and assessed in detail ahead of any changes being implemented. Time to market is always critical with new services; before an operator adds the service it should always simulate a number of scenarios to ensure the ultimate roll out is smooth. The automation of this process brings new service rollouts from months down to days. Further, it provides the predictability required to ensure that both customer experience and network profitability are met for new services in an intensely competitive environment.
The end game is a self-organising / self-optimising network with artificial intelligence making real time decisions on the most efficient use of all resources on behalf of the operational staff of the service provider. The operational duties are shifting towards defining business objectives and what is considered to be optimal to set the framework for the Artificial intelligence (AI) to operate within. Aria Networks started a new era of software controlled networks based on AI and virtualisation technologies years ago gaining invaluable experiences working with the challenges of transforming networks and infrastructures of tier 1 service providers around the world.
This blog published by the author is Wolrad Claudy, chief commercial officer, Aria Networks