How can operators integrate real-time MANO with legacy operations support and equipment?
As technology has advanced over the past 30 years, the mobile network has become highly complex. What was once a basic circuit switched network designed for simple voice calls, has evolved exponentially.
It is now a complex web of packet switched services which are continually developed and launched into the marketplace. And this is only set to grow further, as new services such as VoLTE and quad-play offerings are beginning to be rolled out.
Unfortunately, the drive to be first-to-market with these new services has meant that the OSS architecture has often been rushed, occasionally an afterthought. This has left mobile network operators (MNOs) with a plethora of tools which are unfit for purpose, cannot communicate with each other and are racking up high maintenance costs to boot. Today, this is proving detrimental to MNOs, who now need visibility of the entire network in one application to enable them to deliver high quality services and ensure a continually good customer experience, says Mark Slinger, head of Product at SysMech.
In preparation for NFV MANO roll outs, firstly OSS transformation must occur. So how can operators integrate a new approach which gives rise to a centralised OSS solution which can in turn communicate with other MANO elements?
OSS transformation is a process, not a project
There are hundreds of staff within an MNO that depend on OSS tools to do their day to day roles including service operations, network optimisation, end-to-end quality teams and customer care. OSS transformation will dramatically impact all of these departments, and in turn impact the network performance. This instrumental change needs to be tackled as a process, not a one off project. This is the approach SysMech have taken with a UK operator, firstly focusing on the radio network, then the core, and most recently bringing the fixed line network into the centralised big data analytics software solution. Whilst a new software solution can replace all legacy systems, it can often be easier for MNO’s to take a phased approach, mediating data from the legacy systems in the first instance prior to replacing them completely. This functionality and flexibility allows MNO’s to stagger their costs and make the whole process more manageable for every team member involved.
Get the foundations right
To ensure that the solution of choice can handle both existing services, and future technologies, getting the right foundations is essential. One of the major drivers for OSS transformation is that historical OSS systems cannot handle the sheer volume of data, its multiple formats and the need to access it in near real-time. To achieve this, the base architecture needs to be scalable, have rapid load times and capable of processing high speed queries on big data.
Accurate data and automated processes
A centralised software solution needs to collect and manipulate data from various network elements such as network equipment and probes. It is essential that this data is accurate and complete. This is especially true as volumes increase and inconsistencies in data sets become more difficult to spot manually. The ability to automatically analyse, identify and rectify any inconsistencies is highly advantageous for MNO’s. It ensures decisions are made based on real facts, with an overarching view of the entire network impact.
OSS transformation with the aim of integrating real-time Management & Network Orchestration with legacy OSS systems is clearly the right direction for MNO’s, and with careful planning and management gives them the opportunity to rectify mistakes of the past, and successfully prepare for the future.
The author of this blog is Mark Slinger, head of Product at SysMech.
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