PRESS RELEASE: Communication networks are the foundation of the digital transformation of society. With the rapid development of digital industrialization and industrial digitalization, the construction of communication networks is accelerating. The challenge is to automate network deployment while guaranteeing the quality of communication networks and user experience.

During network deployment, the rapid growth in network scale and complexity of scenarios complicate network planning, solution and data preparation, and network operations. This requires more time and manpower investment, and also increases the risk to communication services. Manual site visits for distributed NEs such as base stations result in low working efficiency and collaboration capabilities. Repeated site visits are a long standing problem. Furthermore, it is crucial to proactively prevent, rapidly identify, and solve user experience problems in complicated networks.

ZTE is committed to incorporating digital, intelligent, and big data technologies into full-lifecycle network delivery and O&M processes. We continuously promote the scenario-based analysis of network deployment activities to improve efficiency and quality. Our goal is to increase the automation level of network deployment in terms of network planning, network deployment, network quality, and user experience assurance.

Precise Network Planning

Network planning is crucial for successful network deployment. At present, wireless network planning faces many challenges, such as accommodating future service growth, identifying investment areas that maximize value, and selecting the most appropriate planning solution for new site types and scenarios.

ZTE, with its extensive experience in global network planning, adopts the concept of “value-centric network construction and intelligent planning” to meet the diversified requirements of the global communications industry. ZTE integrates AI technology into its network planning tool to enable intelligent identification of traffic suppression cells, intelligent forecasting of business volume growth with a 90% accuracy rate, and intelligent pre-evaluation of planning effects.

ZTE continuously enhances the planning capability of its tool for specific scenarios. For example, it can generate building profiles intelligently and accurately identify the buildings that lack 5G indoor distribution. The multi-site-type planning function facilitates the reasonable layout and efficient coordination of macro base stations, micro base stations, and indoor distribution base stations. Moreover, ZTE introduces user perception data-driven planning in addition to coverage and capacity-driven planning. This approach allows for the accurate setting of cell-level capacity expansion thresholds, achieving a win-win situation between investment and user experience.

Digitalization Deployment of Sites

Site construction, reconstruction, testing, optimization, and acceptance are core activities in network deployment. ZTE utilizes intelligent tools and digital platforms, along with fast and flexible programming and orchestration capabilities, to enable digital and intelligent site delivery.

During the site construction phase, automation in operations, multi-team management, and multi-position coordination are highly demanded to ensure engineering quality and progress. This requires the use of intelligent tools to simplify operations and improve productivity, as well as digital platforms to provide data management of tools and manual operation management capabilities.

To adapt to multiple scenarios, digital platforms and intelligent tools must be capable of fast on-site combination, programming, and orchestration. ZTE’s iTech digital platform is a site deployment platform that integrates digital and intelligent technologies. It consists of the site work platform and the data management platform.

The site work platform provides site engineers with a one-stop solution for their work. It enables process orchestration, interconnection of tools, group coordination, and site navigation. By combining with intelligent tools, it allows for automatic site commissioning and tests, improving work efficiency and quality. The platform improves team collaboration through real-time, open, and visible messages. It also automatically calculates workload and asset changes, and generates site commissioning reports.

The data management platform focuses on the storage and full-process management of key technical data in the site delivery phase. In wireless networks, engineering parameter data such as antenna parameters is crucial in various phases. In the traditional management mode, it is difficult to accurately and timely update data. The data management platform improves the reliability and accuracy of engineering parameter data by implementing online management across the planning, installation, drive test and optimization phases, laying a solid foundation for network quality.

In the planning and configuration phase, ZTE’s intelligent product planning and configuration tool automates the generation and delivery of product configuration files for wireless, bearer, and core network products, reducing errors in manual operations. It provides programmable interfaces, allowing for rapid customization and development for complicated scenarios. Compared to traditional tools, this tool improves the operation efficiency by over 80%, ensures more accurate data, and guarantees network quality.

During the commissioning phase, ZTE’s wireless and bearer products support remote commissioning. If a site visit is required for operations, the mobile phone app can be used for one-click site commissioning and tests. This app covers wireless, microwave, and wired products, and reduces operation difficulty. It is interconnected with the iTech platform, enabling automatic data delivery and improving site commissioning and debugging efficiency by more than 30%. The SOP orchestration by site and automatic group building capabilities reduce the communication time by more than 50%.

After completing the commissioning, the on-site engineer can use AI to locate the root causes of alarms that occur and provide solutions. This allows for identification of quality problems and completion of rectification before leaving the site, without the need for cooperation from back-end personnel. As a result, the number of second site visits can be reduced. In addition, the site commissioning report and workload estimate can be generated automatically. The combination of intelligent tools and digital platforms not only improves the efficiency and quality of site construction, commissioning, and debugging, but also greatly improves the working conditions of site operation personnel. This aligns with ZTE’s goal of paying attention to the health and safety of employees and partners, and actively fulfilling the corporate social responsibility (CSR).

ZTE has also improved its digital and intelligent testing and optimization capabilities by leveraging automation, portability, and remote transformation. For wireless network drive tests, ZTE utilizes the WNG solution based on cloud services and automatic test terminals. This solution allows test tasks to be delivered from the cloud, data to be collected via handheld terminal, and reports to be generated with just one click. ZTE is also promoting the application of the virtual drive test mode based on MR in acceptance and optimization. By combining virtual drive tests, KPI, and CQT, ZTE is able to replace the traditional drive test mode in multiple projects around the world, reducing drive test costs in the network optimization test phase.

Core network service test items can be complicated. ZTE’s iTest terminal test tool on the AIC platform provides a complete set of easy-to-use test items and functions for different NFV components and VNFs in different scenarios. After major operations such as core network acceptance, version upgrade, and capacity expansion are completed, the iTest tool can automatically perform tests in multiple places simultaneously. This greatly reduces test difficulty and saves test time.

During the acceptance phase, a large amount of data and photos need to be collected for the acceptance report. The traditional manual editing and output process can be prone to human errors and inefficient. ZTE’s digital platform and intelligent tools can be used together to automatically collect data, manage data uniformly, and generate customized reports automatically, improving document production efficiency and shortening the acceptance period.

Network Quality and User Experience Assurance System

Establishing a complete network quality and user experience assurance system is a prerequisite for smooth network deployment. ZTE provides a comprehensive guarantee system for network quality, user experience, and network operations through intelligent network management and the VMAX big data platform.

The key to assuring network quality is timely detecting indicator changes, identifying wireless network changes, and analyzing poor quality. ZTE’s system can automatically detect network indicator changes and analyze the root causes through self-learning of past indicators and training of the change detection model. In the past, it was difficult to obtain device degradation trends from the existing information when a fault occurred. Alarms were only handled after the fault threshold was triggered. Additionally, locating the root alarm from a large number of alarms, and diagnosing the root causes were inefficient. ZTE’s alarm handling expert function rapidly identifies root alarms and locates root causes after detecting problems, improving troubleshooting efficiency. ZTE’s equipment failure prediction function can detect potential problems in advance to reduce the failure loss rate.

User experience assurance and prevention are common challenges faced by operators in complicated network architectures. ZTE’s VMAX big data platform addresses this with its real-time intelligent insight and correlation analysis capabilities. The platform uses KPI, KQI and QoE to establish a comprehensive user perception evaluation system, accurately restoring service perception. Based on the perception analysis and processing capabilities of wireless, bearer, and core networks, an end-to-end user perception analysis and optimization system is built. This system helps delimit and locate end-to-end poor quality problems, analyze user perception and network complaints, predict perception problems, and handle problems in a closed loop quickly.

In terms of data services, the VMAX platform uses intelligent probe technology to collect various type of data, such as videos, games, live broadcast, QR scanning, webpage browsing, and OTT. It is capable of identifying encrypted services and offers an industry-leading identification rate of new services. VMAX can rapidly delimit end-to-end data to analyze the poor quality threshold and related wireless indicators.

For voice services, VMAX supports VoNR, EPSFB, and VoLTE service analysis to analyze poor-quality cells and user delimitation. VMAX also supports signaling trace and comprehensive evaluation in each phase. Moreover, it can associate calling and called parties in all scenarios with an end-to-end accuracy rate of over 95%.

In terms of user complaint handling, VMAX offers closed-loop management by integrating with complaint work orders, and supporting end-to-end problem ticket dispatching, optimization, and verification. This significantly improves complaint processing efficiency. Fault delimitation and localization takes into consideration single-domain performance and alarm data, and the platform’s root cause analysis capability is expanded through AI, increasing the device fault localization accuracy rate by 5%.

A large number of network changes occur during network deployment, which poses risks to stable network operation. To address this, ZTE has built an end-to-end operation security guarantee system that covers solution change formulation, implementation control, and result backtracking to ensure network change operation security.

The operation encapsulation tool, through its template library, designer, and executor, implements modular combination of operation scripts such as upgrade, cutover, and expansion. This reduces the difficulty and risk of formulating the operation solution while ensuring security.

The iNet tool is installed on the operator’s computer to automatically associate the operation plan, forbid unplanned operations, and automatically identify and intercept high-risk instructions to prevent misoperations. The smart EMS implements hierarchical management of network operations through the vault mode.

For operations that involve a wide range of areas and have high risks, managers need to authorize each operation individually. Real-time visualization through dashboards and large screens during operations ensures the transparency and controllability over the process and its effects.

The combination of digitalization and intelligence presents new opportunities for improving the quality and efficiency of network deployment. In the future, ZTE will continue to adhere to the “ultimate service” concept, actively explore and implement new network deployment modes, stimulate the vitality of digital and intelligent transformation in the communications industry, and work towards a win-win digital and intelligent future.