Spotlight on Tech

Rethinking service assurance to better support disaggregated, cloud native mobile services

Paul Black
VP, Global Product Marketing
Rakuten Symphony
January 18, 2023
minute read

To respond to growth in disaggregated, cloud telecom networks, service assurance systems are beginning a cycle of sweeping change in technology and approach that will make them more impactful for 5G and 6G networks.

That’s the message from a recent RCR Wireless webinar titled “Cloud-native Service Assurance: How to Scale Service Assurance and Unlock the Path to Autonomous Networks,” that was hosted by RCR Wireless Global Editor-in-Chief, James Blackman. The webinar featured perspectives from Sandeep Karkala, VP, Technology, Intelligent Operations BU, Rakuten Symphony; Hiren Joshi, Head of Operations, Rakuten Mobile, Inc.; and Francis Haysom, Principal Consultant, Appledore Research.

Service Assurance: Essential but “Boring”

Service assurance has a reputation as an essential, but “boring,” technology that is required to ensure meeting network key performance indicators (KPIs) and to enable the network to recover from fault conditions. Most carriers have taken a siloed approach to service assurance because each part of the network had its own built-in service assurance - each time a new domain was added it came with its own service assurance platform. Domain owners would use this service assurance system to catch problems only in their domains, rarely coordinating for inter-domain service assurance.

"This siloed approach limited the effectiveness of service assurance – and customers felt the impact."
- Paul Black, VP, Global Product Marketing, Rakuten Symphony

This siloed approach limited the effectiveness of service assurance – and customers felt the impact. According to Appledore’s research, only one of every three network problems were identified by the network operations center. That means the other two network conditions slipped by service assurance and were reported by customers.

Cloud and 5G Bring Change, Unify Service Assurance

But networks are changing and the siloed approach to service assurance must change along with them. Open RAN and cloud telecom, driven by standalone 5G deployments, are disaggregating the network. These changes to the network are creating interdependencies among the network components which increases the possibility that remote network elements can trigger traffic delays across multiple domains.

An important part of a unified service assurance solution is an observability framework (OBF) that collects and analyzes the telemetry data provided by each virtual network element to increase the visibility of network performance and operational functions. The OBF breaks down the siloed approach by providing a view into all network activity, working with artificial intelligence (AI)-based closed-loop automation systems to resolve congestion and other network issues in real-time.

The availability of these new service assurance capabilities leaves MNOs at a tipping point – they can’t continue to operate a siloed service assurance system in a world where the standalone 5G core is run in the cloud and the RAN is open, virtualized, and disaggregated.

To get a more in-depth perspective on these trends and how service assurance can evolve, watch the on-demand version of the webinar which covers these five topics:

  1. The challenges involved with service assurance in today’s complex networks
  2. Why service delivery is at the heart of all new service deployment and monetization possibilities with 5G
  3. How Rakuten Symphony’s cloud-native service assurance solution will transform a brownfield operation from a traditional siloed-based approach with a true end-to-end capability.
  4. The four key foundational elements of observability, automation, scalability, and agility can be delivered on any cloud in a matter of weeks
  5. Demonstrate why the foundational elements have contributed to significantly lower costs and provide more effectiveness in deployment

The webinar is available here.

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