Communication service providers (CSP) have been facing infrastructure transitions to address the demands of increased bandwidth by the customers. One of these transitions includes integration of cloud infrastructure into your telecom network, as central or edge cloud. Having such a change can impact your IT business and ecosystem in a significant manner. Let’s dive in and understand how IT has been helping to deliver backhaul technologies for telecom network. We will also look into how IT pros are developing software and how people will access these services.

CSPs are working hard to lower the inner costs to minimize service cost, improve service delivery, and offer enhanced security to their subscribers. This is where IT companies come to help CSPs to transform the hardware-based network into a virtual system, such as a software-defined network for better agility, automation to minimize the expenses of resources (CAPEX) and operations (OPEX).

Apart from the costing aspect, automating your network for deployment and management of the digital products can be the key to a successful move. IT vendors are going to play a vital role in this.

Enabling Business Automation with Cloud

The reason behind such a move of Business Automation and its way far changes is because cloud service providers are always in the network, trying to deliver end-to-end services. It is nothing but a merger of CSPs with cloud providers. Besides, it opens up doors to several other opportunities for CSPs, including handling dynamic scaling of resources and cloud applications, automated network operations that would offer service velocity, fault rectification, and security.

In reference, Futuriom released a report regarding CSP network automation to offer in-depth insights. A survey, where 130 professionals participated, including telecom service providers and cloud operators, was conducted to understand the challenges of network automation faced by CSPs. The report provided a detailed perspective regarding how automation can help in the next few years.

Expectations of CSPs from Automated Networks

If we take a look at the current network managed by CSPs, it is a traditional network based on the telco hardware with OSS/BSS at the top level, making it challenging to deploy every service manually. Transitioning from hardware-based network to a virtual one can be a challenging task for CSPs. Due to the complex nature of virtual environments related to deployment being in a testing phase, shifting to it can be a complicated move. So, CSPs have a vast telco network transforming into a virtual environment, driven by innovation that comes with SDN (software-defined networks) and NFV (network function virtualization). Also, with 5G on its way, we can expect more critical architecture.

Keeping everything in mind, having automated end-to-end services become a top priority for CSPs, enabling efficient results by saving time and cost while eliminating the cost of hardware and operations.

According to the report, few things can be expected post-automation for CSPs:

Dynamic services and real-time services

Quick service delivery and increased revenue

Lowered OPEX and CAPEX costs

Enhanced network security with complete transparency

During the survey, participants were asked about the top three goals out of the changes mentioned above. Quick delivery and increased revenue, dynamic services, and network security were the top picks.

It is understood that CSPs need an automated network to focus on service and delivery quality, along with network security.

Using automation of operations and resources in a software-driven environment can impact your cloud-native technology in a much stronger way. Container orchestration engines, microservices, and several other technologies have been introduced to make things easier for automation. The software-centric environment caused the cloud applications to merge into tier in the telco network.

CSP work on the goal of simplifying the network design, making automation easier. But they might face specific challenges like:

Interoperability of vendors, or ensuring that supplier equipment works

Using APIs and standards for configuration and data consistency

Proper resources, staff and budget, to implement automation

Implementing technology at scale

From the challenges mentioned above, investing in the resources was the most voted challenge during the survey, followed by the implementation of technology at scale. It proved that CSPs lack tools and other resources required to achieve automation.

SDN and NFV have been playing their part in offering virtualized network elements while abstracting the software part to achieve a centralized dashboard. The virtualized software sitting on top of COTS is used to gather telemetry insights. This phase also promotes intelligent automation or intent-based networking.

The software approach to achieve automation involves SDN and NFV, provides an in-depth analysis of the data, which can be used for security and offer intelligent fault remediation.