Evolving network support services: great end user experience and network performance in the 5G era

As networks evolve and are updated to support continuously more advanced 5G applications, fast and accurate fault isolation and root-cause analysis are more critical than ever before. The increasing advanced functionality of networks, driven by the push towards a more flexible, cloud-based architecture, means that an issue is more likely to impact multiple layers of a network, as well as any products or equipment running on that network. This not only makes solving a network issue more time-sensitive, but also a more challenging task than in previous generations of cellular networks.

As a result, mobile service providers need to simultaneously evolve their network support services to better address the needs of their 5G customers. A network support offering that leverages on Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and automation paired with a global intelligence database can help service providers, and their support technicians, achieve fast and more accurate data-driven fault isolation and root-cause analysis, saving valuable time and operating costs, while ensuring better overall network performance and end-user experience.

The transition to 5G is not just about new products and technologies but also new use cases that enable advanced end-user services. 5G networks are operated in a fundamentally different way than previous network paradigms. 4G networks, for instance, typically are deployed as a single node with software and hardware from one vendor, so when a fault occurs on the network, it is relatively easy to isolate. The cloud-based and multi-vendor approach to 5G, however, results in software and hardware that has been decoupled. While this means that 5G networks benefit from things like increased flexibility and continuous integration and deployment of new software, it also means a more complex and advanced network, making timely fault isolation and root-cause analysis harder to achieve.

The 5G network will not only be a telecom communications network. It will be part of a production system. When it comes to enterprises, they will use 5G for the digital transformation and many industries will have stringent requirements. Consider a manufacturing facility that needs very high throughput, ultra-low latency and very high reliability to use 5G for the operation of precision assembly robots. In this case, that industrial user will have strict requirements in terms of finding faults quickly and with a high focus on data security. Although 5G is still in its early days, this is coming quickly, and it requires a different type of network support service.

By applying continuous global learnings and data-driven techniques, network support services can provide solution level capabilities to quickly rectify network hardware and software issues and find hidden faults and thus give operators a differentiated value proposition as they leverage 5G to foster the digital transformation of global businesses. With the power of AI, ML, analytics and automation, support services will let service providers feel confident in their ability to provide fast, accurate fault isolation and restoration, freeing them up to focus on the development and delivery of even more new services and connectivity-dependent technologies.

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