The Wait is Over: 5G is Here How Automation Makes It Possible

By Rajesh Nambiar, Chairman and President, Ciena India | Monday, 08 June 2020, 12:34 IST


5G is nearly here and with it, end users can unlock a multitude of exciting and immersive experiences. Whether it’s streaming a high-definition movie off HotStar, conducting a telehealth visit for an urgent medical need, or using video conferencing for work meetings, 5G underpins the next wave of digital innovation in India. With the forthcoming 5G auctions, Indian Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are actively preparing to upgrade and meet rapidly rising data demands.

Especially as we’re experiencing challenging times with a global pandemic, identifying new ways to experience the Internet presents new opportunities for MNOs as they deliver the foundation of our digital lives – the internet. 5G is expected to help MNOs to support many dynamic and exciting new experiences Indians want. According to the Steering Committee, which was setup by the Indian government, 5G will have a 1 trillion dollar impact on India in the next 15 years – making it one of the most influential technologies of our time.

The ability to address stringent requirements related to significantly improvements in latency, capacity, the number of connected end-users, and reliability will be critical for the introduction of new 5G services. India typically sees 50 to 300 times more optical fiber cuts as compared to an equivalent geographical space in the United States so networks in India must be built to operate with minimal downtime and the ability to adjust intelligently and automatically.

Many MNOs are turning to intelligent analytics-driven automation to drive this transition to 5G. Automation, in this context, is software that automates key business processes that span both IT and network functions, versus operating in silos, to make them smarter and more agile so they can adapt to changing market dynamics more quickly. With automation software, 5G is brought to market faster while also lowering costs and monetizing 5G investments. There are several 5G examples where intelligent automation plays a key role today.

Edge Computing

Deloitte India reports that the local technology industry is at its most exciting phase with widespread applications of IoT. Industries such as agriculture, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and smart cities will benefit from IoT. As India works toward a smart society driven by IoT, this means a massive increase in connected devices and data volumes on the mobile network. 5G promises much faster speeds and lower latency, which will be guaranteed from end-to-end over wireless and wireline domains, and across layers of the network with Network Slicing. This will enable new experiences at the edge, whether it’s a smartphone, vehicle, sensor, or any other type of connected device (machine). As 5G transforms the way networks leverage edge computing, real-time monitoring of streaming telemetry data will become critical.

Data-Driven Analytics

Meeting end-to-end customer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) depends on operational efficiency and real-time performance monitoring. Financial institutions analyze spending patterns and need to protect customers from fraudulent activity. The transportation industry uses statistics to map journeys for riders traveling within India as well as monitor vehicles and trains for when repairs are needed. With streaming data-based analytics based on streaming telemetry, MNOs supporting various types of verticals gain valuable and timely insights into their network to continually optimize 5G network slices.

Artificial Intelligence

McKinsey Global Institute predicts about 70 percent of companies will adopt at least one form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the next ten years. AI – when combined with automation – has immense potential to drive strong business outcomes and streamline efficiencies. 5G is creating more complex and software-driven networks, putting tremendous pressure on service providers to keep up. AI accelerates decision making, increases network predictability and analyzes timelines to instantly identify issues and automate change. It enables the network to completely re-build itself in a matter of minutes and identify irregularities, such as a cybersecurity breach or failure at critical points. The full power of AI lies in a 5G network where automation enables it to learn and adapt to the evolving requirements of end users.

Although 5G is still yet to come in India, intelligent data-driven automation plays critical role in helping MNOs successfully roll out 5G services. These services are aimed at providing the fast speeds citizens need every day – and especially during critical times like today’s global pandemic or other difficult challenges we may face – as well as driving new revenue streams and delivering exciting digital experiences. With automation, 5G resources can be orchestrated to enable fast, reliable provisioning and delivery of new services – with minimal manual effort and in the shortest possible time. Network Slicing also ensures that network performance is guaranteed from end-to-end across both the wireless and wireline domains. It also streamlines routing network management tasks in complex 5G networks, delivering increased agility and cost savings. With the increased unprecedented speed and dynamic that 5G networks will bring, intelligent automation simply is not a choice anymore – these networks will be impossible to manage manually, at scale.