PARTNER FEATURE: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has brought huge impacts upon the world economy and people’s lives. Hundreds of millions of people around the world had to be isolated in homes, and people’s original lifestyles were changed completely. There was an explosive growth in the demand for instant and online applications, such as telemedicine, remote working, and distance education, and the data traffic in some application fields even increased by over 50%. This undoubtedly poses higher requirements for the performance and quality of communication networks.

Meanwhile, to control the pandemic, the telecom industry is facing unprecedented challenges in network construction. It is difficult to carry out network construction and O&M tasks that originally required high personnel mobility, such as base station site survey, quality check, network maintenance, network performance improvement, and emergency communication guarantee, so the network construction and O&M mode that relies on traditional deployment tools is in urgent need of transformation. In this sense, the cloud-based network service solution, which is based on digital network deployment, is of great significance.

According to the statistical results of Analysys Mason, more than 67% enterprises suggest that the ICT industry must change to more appropriate technologies, services and processes to support new working modes. Literally, the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up digital innovation by five to ten years.

ZTE, the “driver of digital economy”, is leading the transformation of digital network deployment. ZTE simplifies communication network deployment in a proactive, agile, insightful, and foreseeable way. Based on the digital network deployment technology, ZTE’s cloud-based network service mode creates a “real-time, automatic, coordinated and visible” digital Engineering Project Management System (iEPMS), a “cloudified, intelligent and simple” automatic intelligent tool system and an “intelligent, agile, accurate and closed-loop” network O&M platform. They run through the entire process of network planning, construction, optimization, maintenance and operation.  To date, ZTE has set up service networks and branches in more than 160 countries and regions worldwide, and has worked with more than 500 telecom operators to provide digital network services for over 40,000 projects around the world.

  • iEPMS: Real-Time, Automatic, Coordinated, Visible

The iEPMS, a digital delivery platform independently developed by ZTE, supports five functions: progress management, quality management, document management, material management and outsourcing management. It can be fast interconnected with different customer systems to achieve efficient cross-company service coordination.

  • Automatic Intelligent Tools: Cloudified, Intelligent, Simple

ZTE’s cloud-based network services are committed to developing a “cloudified”, “intelligent”, and “simple” comprehensive solution that features simplified deployment and intelligent operation, and establishing an end-to-end intelligent tool system that runs through the entire process of planning, commissioning, optimization, and maintenance. The big data-based network planning cloud platform Smart Hippo makes 5G coverage and capacity planning more accurate. The new network optimization drive test tool WNG can complete drive tests by simply using a smart phone installed with the WNG App, and can automatically output reports through the cloud server. WNG is portable, efficient, and resource-sharing. The VMAX, a customer-oriented heavyweight tool, is introduced with AI capabilities such as intelligent analysis and intention observation. Through online and intelligent big data observation and analysis, the VMAX achieves all-round optimization and analysis, and intelligent operation of network quality, service traffic, user experience and terminal applications, thus improving user perception. The AIC tool, which handles complexities in simple ways, achieves end-to-end continuous delivery of NFV network deployment. The Virtual Drive Test (VDT) tool can customize routes and drive test tasks, automatically extract and analyze mass drive test data. Combined with GIS presentation, the VDT tool provides a wireless network coverage analysis solution that offers wireless road coverage, quality, and event information with the same effect as traditional drive tests, but greatly reduces the drive test manpower cost and improves drive test efficiency.

  • Intelligent O&M Solution: Advance, Quick, Accurate

Based on the self-developed OSS O&M support platform, ZTE’s intelligent O&M solution provides centralized operation and maintenance for multiple manufacturers, multiple systems, and multiple types of devices to implement online management of the entire O&M process. Intelligent fault prediction and accurate preventive maintenance help operators to eliminate potential network faults in advance, greatly reducing the probability of site faults. In addition, through automatic fault diagnosis and recovery, this solution provides remote troubleshooting and quick recovery, reducing the number of times that engineers go to the site to handle faults and thus decreasing infection risks.

  • Centralized Operation via the Cloud Delivery Center: Real-Time, Fast, and Secure

Cloud-based network services are managed by the Cloud Delivery Center in a centralized manner. Through remote delivery work-order management on the GCSC, the remote expert team of the cloud delivery center keeps online 24/7, and implements automatic SLA measurement and early warning to ensure real-time and efficient service quality. We stick to the principle of keeping complexities to remote experts but leaving simplicity to the site, thus making on-site network delivery more convenient.

The Advanced Operations Suite (AOS) system independently developed by ZTE provides users with “zero-touch”, secure and reliable remote experience. This system adopts FIPS/CC dual-authentication technology, IPSEC-based encryption tunnel and RDP/Coolbit encryption protocol to exchange screen graphic information only, ensuring the information security of network data.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of 2020, the “zero-touch” cloud-based network services have effectively reduced infection risks to network operation personnel, increased the number of online users by 45%, and saved network operation costs (OPEX) by 15%, thus benefiting more than 200 communication networks and their users worldwide. For example,

  • In South America, the 5G+ telemedicine system, which was built remotely, integrated 5G+4K UHD terminal and uninterrupted power supply, and could transmit medical videos and data in real time with high bandwidth and low delay. Through typical scenarios such as remote diagnosis, remote consultation, remote ward inspection, real-time management and supervision, it effectively reduced infection risks to doctors and helped recovery from local pandemic.
  • In Africa, with the help of AIC, remote experts completed one-stop automatic delivery from planning and design to deployment and testing within just 7 days in a country severely affected by the pandemic. We not only maximally guaranteed the health and safety of customers and employees, but also rapidly delivered the network for local pandemic control.
  • In Europe, in a wireless network construction project, with the help of the digital delivery platform iEPMS, remote experts efficiently made the project data of 10,000+ sites in 15 delivery regions online in real time, and achieved the online sharing of information and documents, finally helping the telecom operator win the “Fastest Mobile Network Award”.
  • In China, based on its cloud-based network service solution, ZTE assisted telecom operators in building 4/5G networks in more than 210 hospitals in 82 cities, interpreting professionalism and high efficiency at super speed.

ZTE’s cloud-based network service solution, with the digital network deployment technology as the core, continuously reduces the difficulty of network deployment and increases deployment efficiency by handling complexities in simple ways, and will inevitably become the main mode of future communication network services. In the era of rapid 5G+ mobile Internet deployment and post-pandemic, it will play an increasingly important role in helping operators around the world to finally overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.