Real-time Network Monitoring: What Progress Have We Made Globally?

Posted by Natalie Mountain on Monday, October 30, 2017 with No comments

According to GSMA Intelligence, the number of mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region will rise from 2.7 billion at the end of 2016 to 3.1 billion by 2020. Countries driving this rapid growth are China and India.

This rapid increase in the number of mobile subscribers stresses the need for real-time network monitoring. As today’s mobile network operators (MNOs) increasingly rely on performance to differentiate themselves in an already crowded market, quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) have never been so important.

Efficient LTE networks will become a major priority for mobile operators everywhere. Managing complex, high speed, and multipurpose networks is not the only challenge; operators must also prepare for new services such as connected cars and other Internet of Things (IoT) features. At the same time, operators also need to develop and put in place methods and practices that will support their imminent move to 4.5G, and ultimately 5G.

Faced with the task of navigating this complex landscape, it’s essential that mobile operators have a greater level of network visibility to help with management and troubleshooting. Accedian's solutions are helping mobile operators across the globe keep up with the growing demands of their networks. Here are a few examples of how we do it:

  • South Korea’s SK Telecom turned to our SkyLIGHT Performance Platform and Nano smart SFP Modules for a standards-based, network performance assurance solution capable of providing end-to-end QoS and QoE visibility across a sophisticated, multi-vendor mobile network. This enabled SK Telecom to drive its software-defined network (SDN) management system directly with the real-time metrics from our solution, automating network configuration and optimization to deliver the best possible experience to its customers.
  • India, one of the main drivers behind the rapid growth of mobile subscribers in Asia, is in position to capture the benefits of reliable virtualized real-time network assurance. Our SkyLIGHT Platform and Reliance's data analytics Jio Coverage Platform were used together to optimize network quality and user experience in real-time for approximately 100 million mobile subscribers in India. Reliance Jio used our SkyLIGHT solution to provide near complete visibility of its network. This resulted in being one of the best practice examples of providing total network visibility, with zero hardware dependency, around the globe.
  • Boasting a customer base of more than 341 million subscribers, Telef√≥nica’s requirements for a comprehensive performance assurance solution had to cover its global footprint and looked at ubiquitous coverage to localize issues, planning network upgrades, and optimizing performance, among many others. Real-time metrics covering network QoS, as well as voice and video and QoE, for trending, alerts and reporting had to be considered in order to address its highly asymmetrical network. Additionally, fast and easy instrumentation deployment with a virtualized, centralized control platform was also incorporated, and in the end, our solution, comprised of SkyLIGHT performance assurance platform, Nano smart SFP Modules, 1GbE and 10GbE Network Performance Elements, delivered the best possible QoS and reliability for Telef√≥nica’s customers.
In North America and Europe, where LTE is more established, operators are already moving toward virtualization generally--including virtualized instrumentation, which is less expensive to deploy and use than traditional, hardware-based methods.

Areas like Asia and Latin America are investing much more in performance monitoring and assurance for greenfield LTE deployments. However, in most of the developed and western world, 3G and earlier technologies continue to play a key role and so the need to solve significant and basic issues, like large-scale outages, is still present. The reality is that Asian and Latin American operators often have higher performance networks than their counterparts in Europe.

With the market becoming more digitized, active (synthetic) monitoring is starting to show its value. Active tests allow service providers to assess network readiness before deployment, avoiding the impact of new services on existing applications when they go live and begin to consume the network.

Therefore, by providing a comprehensive view of end-to-end performance, service providers can use this detailed “network state” as real-time feedback to automate SDN control, and use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for root cause analysis, predictive trending, and business and customer journey analytics. Exceptionally granular, precise data with a wide diversity of statistical perspectives means analytics can converge and correlate multi-dimensional events an order of magnitude faster than coarse, passive monitoring data permits.