Software Intensive Networks

Redefining Virtual Network Function (VNF) Testing

Creating an effective and portable VNF testing framework with end-to-end automation

More service providers in the connectedness industry are rapidly introducing new services online, to enhance customer satisfaction and provide better service. However, service providers face several testing challenges in terms of scope, complexity, and frequency during the delivery process. Almost 40% of the service provider’s time and efforts are consumed in testing activities. Virtual Network Function (VNF) Testing in the connectedness industry has become complex, costly and time- consuming. To address the testing challenges faced by service providers in virtualized environments, existing testing methods and processes must be revised and shifted to a new testing model.

This Insight encompasses the key elements that can help service providers to create an effective and portable VNF testing framework with end-to-end automation. The key benefits include rapid test development and maintenance, faster product launch, improved product quality, and differentiated product delivery.

Accelerate service rollout time by 78% with redesigned VNF testing framework.

  • Pratik Ravindra Tidke
  • Sumit Thakur
Software Intensive Networks

Making smarter network investment decisions

Build an open-source network capacity planning framework to accelerate the network decisions by 3X

The network complexity of the service providers in the connectedness industry is ever increasing. The introduction of 5G on top of legacy 2G and 3G networks, coupled with increasing customer expectations, imposes tremendous pressure on the service providers. They often struggle with complex networks, dissimilar data, and inefficient visualization of the inventories, which impacts network capacity planning. Some of the main challenges in conventional network capacity planning are:

  • Increasing inefficiencies in network planning due to rapid network expansions and complex networks
  • Difficulty in visualizing and monitoring the networks and their components due to the rapid expansion of networks
  • Difficulty in consolidating data, as the service provider’s network inventory data is scattered and retrieved from different types of vendor network equipment
  • Increased licensing, hardware, and customization costs for the service providers who use COTS products for network visualization

These challenges impact the service provider’s operations leading to ineffective network capacity planning, delays in new network design and rollout, and inefficient network and resource utilization.

While many service providers depend on COTS products to address these challenges in the unified visualization and capacity planning process, it is recommended to consider an open-source approach that enables efficient and cost-effective capacity planning.

Fig. Build an open-source framework to ease and accelerate network capacity planning decisions

The introduction of 5G on top of legacy 2G and 3G networks, coupled with the increasing customer expectations imposes tremendous pressure on the service providers.

  • Murugan Chidhambaram
  • Hari Ganesh
  • Priyanka Ravindran
  • Neha Sehgal
Software Intensive Networks

Building a 360° Network Cockpit

Implement an intelligent network visualization solution powered by Graph technology to deliver network insights faster.

Owing to rapid network expansion, major service providers in the connectedness industry are facing a critical challenge with the rise of data silos in their ecosystem. As a result, network data is dispersed across a variety of siloed and disjointed systems. This makes deriving insights from data collected across diverse assets more difficult. Several disconnected systems that consist of untraceable integrations and interfaces must be integrated to get a comprehensive view of the massive dataset. As a result, the service providers face inefficient network and resource utilization, delays in rolling out new network designs, and ineffective network troubleshooting.

There is a necessity for service providers in the connectedness industry to build a real-time 360° Network Visualization to drive smart decision making. Most service providers have started to implement Graph databases to address the problem of data silos and information irregularities in Network management. To be effective, service providers must develop both upstream and downstream data ingestion strategies. In this insight, we explore these two key components in-depth and identify the key capabilities required to build them effectively. Incorporating the 360° real-time network visualization approach can create a convergent and intelligent view of the network. In the Connectedness market, it helps to meet the growing demands of Network Planning, Network Operations (NOCs), and various user communities.

Eliminate data silos and irregularity challenges in Network management and accelerate design rollout by 33%.

  • Rajesh Ramaswamy Sampathkumar
  • Sumit Thakur
  • Jagadeesh Bhavanasi
  • Kalyanakannan D M
Software Intensive Networks

Accelerate SD-WAN service delivery to serve the pent-up demand for the enterprise connectivity

Automate and digitize workflows to achieve touchless SD-WAN configuration, provisioning, and activation

Before the pandemic, SD-WAN was primarily marketed to enterprises to reduce costs and improve flexibility. As businesses realized the pressure to go digital, cloud applications became the foundation for most organizations, enhancing their productivity and collaboration. What eventually evolved into an absolute necessity was to run these essential applications more efficiently, on a more reliable network -which is why SDWAN has become one of the most successful networking functions in decades. What will further fuel this adoption is the recent shift to a mostly remote or hybrid workforce model. According to a report by IDG Research Services and Masergy, over 90% of organizations expect to adopt an SDWAN solution eventually.

For businesses, Managed SDWAN Services provide attractive opportunities to tap into the growing SDWAN market and create new revenue streams. As per Markets and Markets Research, the global SD-WAN market size is expected to grow from USD 1.9 billion in 2020 to USD 8.4 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 34.5% during the forecast period.

But businesses can seize this opportunity only if they fulfill their customer needs on
time – by quickly activating the SD-WAN services. Potential roadblocks such as validating network compatibility, managing the service across multiple platforms, and solving the integration, operational and process-centric challenges can significantly delay the order to activate journey – leading to revenue loss and missed opportunities.

To accelerate the entire Order-to-Activate journey, businesses must eliminate process inefficiencies and embrace automation and digitalization at various levels.

To accelerate the entire order to activate journey, businesses must eliminate process inefficiencies and embrace automation and digitalization at various levels. This also means building a holistic tool that enables consolidating and automating workflows to achieve touchless SDWAN configuration, provisioning, and activation.

Software Intensive Networks

Move Broadband rollout to the fast lane, with enhanced quality

Leverage Unified Automation Testing Framework that integrates various tools and systems to fuel quick and error-free product releases

While the need for speed is a famous mantra across industries, businesses in the connectedness vertical often struggle with longer roll-out times owing to evolving network technologies and frequent Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) upgrades. To generate new revenue streams, service providers need to accelerate their Broadband Residential Gateway Rollout (routers, modems, switches etc.) and at the same time keep their capital expenditures minimal.

Traditional testing methods with multiple testing tools and automation frameworks are often unable to meet the desired roll-out timelines, causing complexities and dependency on experts. Moreover, service providers also experience the perennial challenge of repetitive testing to cover all scenarios and features, which is tedious and might lead to human errors.

Service providers, today, must look beyond manual, monotonous, and vendor-dependent testing methods. Adopt a Unified Automation Testing Framework to enhance your testing methodology by seamlessly integrating multiple test tools and frameworks. This framework can:

  • Auto-learn the device configuration
  • Provide a customizable solution to accelerate the development time
  • Seamlessly integrate with the service provider’s test environments, test tools, and management systems for smooth execution of all test cases

While the need for speed is a famous mantra across industries, businesses in the connectedness vertical often struggle with longer rollout times owing to evolving network technologies and frequent Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) upgrades.

By implementing this framework, service providers can proactively solve broadband performance issues, improve customer experience, and accelerate the Broadband Residential Gateway Rollout Time.

Software Intensive Networks

Building high-speed internet for seamless digital experiences

Leverage Zero-touch Service Assurance Framework to proactively detect and auto resolve broadband connectivity issues

‘Being Connected’ is a human necessity. Today, the availability of high-speed internet plays a crucial role in accelerating connectedness in our lives. People from across the length and breadth of the globe stand to benefit personally and professionally from a reliable internet connection.

As a result, there is explosive growth in the number of internet users, which is bound to increase in the future.

Speeds that were good enough yesterday are insufficient to support the requirements of today. Businesses, thus need to step up their game and provide a rich broadband service. By failing to do so, they will not be able to catch up with customers’ evolving expectations, causing frustration and dissatisfaction. Customers may also switch to another business offering broadband services with better quality and speed.

Businesses can ensure a reliable and undisrupted high-speed broadband service by adopting the ‘Zero-touch service assurance’ framework. This framework enables continuous remote monitoring to detect connectivity issues proactively and provide automated resolutions.

High-speed broadband supported by the ‘Zero-touch Service Assurance’ framework accelerates connectedness in our lives.

The 4 magic components of the ‘Zero-touch Service Assurance’ framework are

  1. Intelligent Insights Engine- Monitors the customer’s speed data on an hourly basis to detect any speed issues
  2. Diagnostic Engine- Buckets the issues into different categories. Auto-tickets are created for issues that cannot be auto-resolved
  3. Auto Resolution Engine- Executes autonomous actions like modem reboot or port bounce to quickly fix the speed issues
  4. Dashboard- Provides a real-time view of highly impacted customers, remediation steps, performance, percentage improvement in speed, outages, current and historical issues
Software Intensive Networks

Virtual CPE: Achieving hardware-based operations through a software-based virtual function Key design and deployment considerations for a successful vCPE implementation

Key design and deployment considerations for a successful vCPE implementation

Virtual Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE) is quickly gaining market traction. According to research by SDxCentral, many service providers consider VCPE as the prime candidate for deploying Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) use cases.

Source: SDxCentral

Service providers are embracing vCPE implementation to reap benefits such as:

  • CAPEX reduction: Reduced costs by replacing vendor-specific hardware appliances with virtualized network functions (VNFs) implemented on COTS servers. With new white boxes available in market, service providers can save up to 50% in CAPEX.
  • OPEX reduction: Reduced service delivery costs with heavy automation.
  • Service innovation and agility: Quicker service/feature rollouts and shorter time to market, improving the customer experience.

While virtual CPE (vCPE) offers the above benefits, service providers must pay attention to design and deployment considerations to realize the full benefits of SDN/NFV. Following are key design and deployment considerations for a successful vCPE implementation:

  • Effective segregation of functionalities – Inefficient distribution of functionalities between on-premises and cloud can affect the vCPE performance.
  • Right mix of platforms – Choosing the right combination of platform and data plane accelerators is important in cost and performance optimization.
  • Ensuring zero/minimal latency – Distributing the VNFs between edge and cloud in the right way to handle latency issues.
  • Choosing the right orchestration platform – It is important to choose the correct orchestrator based on the ecosystem & features such as interoperability with legacy, EMS, and O/BSS systems.

Virtual CPE allows enterprises to provide on-demand services with the flexibility to scale quickly and reliably.

  • Praveen Chalamalasetti
  • Pratik Tidke
  • Vishwa Nigam
Software Intensive Networks

Predicting and preventing network problems leveraging AI

Implement a network event prediction model to improve service assurance

Today, service providers’ customers expect access to the products and services and enhanced customer experience anytime, anywhere. Hence, service providers should focus on service assurance and look for ways to address common problems such as accumulated faults, traffic congestion, and reactive event handling of networks. Further, reacting to a network event after it has occurred is not acceptable.

With the overwhelming volume and complexity of data from the service assurance domain, AI/ML techniques bring much value. By leveraging AI/ML in service assurance, service providers can analyze tons of data from various sources, derive insights, and take real-time preventive actions. Hence service providers should implement a network event prediction model to predict the network event failures and outages even before they occur.

By leveraging AI/ML in service assurance, service providers can analyze tons of data from various sources, derive insights, and take real-time preventive actions.

  • Avaiarasi S
  • Vijay Anand R
  • Archana SR
  • Mogan AB