In the 5G era, with the diversification of services requirements and the scale expansion of the transport network, operators put forward higher requirements for network operation and maintenance. The traditional O&M (Operation and Maintenance) based on experts’ experience cannot meet the requirements of efficient and fast network services any longer. With the promotion of 5G network deployment, 5G construction investment is increasing rapidly, but the overall revenue growth of the communications industry is slow. These challenges cause stress for both vendors and operators. To solve the challenges, ZTE is working with the the operators actively to explore new models for network development in the 5G era. It’s believed that network automation is a necessary means to meet the network transformation and services challenges.
Based on the development trend of future network intelligence, ZTE launched the industry’s first 5G cloud native solution integrating manager, controller, orchestrator and analyzer. Based on the microservice architecture, the solution offers the 5G transport network the capability to manage more than 300,000 equivalent network elements, and shorten the TTM (Time To Market) from hours to minutes. It provides users with a full life-cycle automated O&M through the intelligent systems based on AI and big data analysis. It can help operators to improve O&M efficiency by more than 25% and reduce OPEX by more than 50%.
The automation capability of ZTE’s transport network automation solution is based on the re-architecting of the traditional network architecture. The re-architecting is performed at the forwarding layer, the control & management layer and the operational layer. On the forwarding layer, the SR (Segment Routing) technology is introduced to simplify the control protocols and extend the data plane, which is more beneficial to network programmability. The telemetry technology is introduced to support real-time feedback in milliseconds, providing accurate real-time data support for intelligent networks. FlexE and other network slicing technologies are also introduced to offer multiple logical networks on a unified network to meet the differentiated demands of customers. On the control & management layer, the solution adopts the SDN/NFV technology and container technology to make the traditional distributed multi-site O&M evolve to centralized control. With the development of big data analysis, machine learning and other AI technologies, the solution applies a large number of intelligent self-developed algorithms to allow traffic self-tuning, service self-optimization, and network self-healing. We have already obtained about 100 patents related to 5G transport network automation within three years. On the operational layer, the solution uses ZTE’s PaaS system to set up an open service platform, and employs the APP to build an open application model. The solution also uses the Open API (Application Programming Interface) to provide an open interface for the operator’s OSS/BSS system. DevOps, product development, quality assurance and network O&M are combined together to accelerate the service release process and shorten the TTM.
ZTE transport network automation solution has been widely used in the fields of unified network management, control, orchestration, analysis, etc. ZTE has completed the live network test in IP+optical synergy, network slicing, intelligent private line, IP/IPRAN, E-OTN, SPTN, SPN and other 4G/5G transport scenarios. The solution is ready for practical deployment and its functions are gradually entering into the commercialization. It is deployed in the live networks in an European country and helps the operator establish the 5G-ready IP+optical commercial network. It can automatically implement planning and scheduling of the IP network and optical network resource in the resource pool, breaking the boundary between IP and optical network transmission. It helps operator reduce the O&M investment by about 50%. In the 5G network slicing scenario, ZTE was the first to complete the NRM-based (Network Resource Model) 5G end-to-end slice validation in the lab. The slicing network bandwidth is provisioned on demand. In the past two years, ZTE has completed joint network verification with both domestic and international top operators. ZTE worked with three major domestic operators in China to successfully deploy commercial networks in many cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It helped operator manage more than 300,000 equivalent network elements. It helped to build a cloud-distributed manage&control system with a universal architecture, enabling it to be deployed on the cloud resource pool platform, with the capabilities of flexible expansion/shrinkage, load balancing, and cluster disaster recovery. By April 2019, ZTE has completed more than 20 joint verification and practical deployments with operators and organizations, including 7 live network trials and 8 commercial cases.
At the moment, ZTE’s transport network automation solution supports agile network provisioning, fast new service roll out, intelligent network fault diagnosis, intelligent traffic detection, traffic prediction and etc. In the future, ZTE will continue making deep research on AI and big data analysis to further improve the accuracy of network status awareness, user identification, network detection and prediction, with the aim to further strengthen the network automation and make the legacy networks evolve to autonomous networks.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back