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Active Assurance’s Critical Role in Automating 5G’s Promises and Possibilities


Learn why active assurance is an essential enabler of the automation needed to successfully ensure differentiated performance and quality for next-gen 5G services.

5G isn’t just an incremental G aiming to deliver connectivity at higher speeds. For the first time, the 5G network is acting as an always-on, dynamic, autonomous foundation of software.

Instead of a self-contained, self-managed infrastructure, 5G is cloud native, driven by virtualization and containers. It is a hybrid, distributed and disaggregated, multivendor environment with many layered virtual and physical functions and components.

That’s a lot of moving parts participating in each service, making it more challenging than ever to maintain high quality of service and troubleshoot issues. Compounding the complexity is a shift to continuous product release cycles courtesy of agile CI/CD adoption. The 5G network is changing constantly.

It’s safe to say the days of manually troubleshooting a static network supported by a handful of vendors are long gone.

So as the industry embraces a transformational paradigm, what management, monitoring and troubleshooting strategies will best address these new breeds of always-on, dynamic networks and services? How can MNOs go truly anywhere in a network where anything goes

Emerging demand for a 5G service assurance strategy

Operators traditionally used passive probing to identify network issues. This approach relies on metrics collected from the network and assumes a static environment with infrequent changes to network paths or links. Passive monitoring can’t adapt to the dynamic world of 5G where workloads, applications, and paths are there one minute, gone the next, or moved from one data center to another on the fly.

Service assurance for 5G needs to manage, monitor, and troubleshoot this always-on, continuous environment.

The segmentation required to identify the root cause of a fault or performance degradation must span horizontally (across the distributed and disaggregated network) as well as vertically (from transport to service layers). It must do so for physical and virtual functions at a micro level, make sense of it all, identify the impacted service and customer, and then quickly remediate the issue. Doing all of this automatically is essential for meeting quality of experience expectations.

That is a major task that requires a new service assurance strategy.

Monitoring the heartbeat of 5G

5G demands 24/7/365 monitoring of the distributed, virtual infrastructure heartbeat. Active assurance, along with AI/ML, can quickly identify, isolate, troubleshoot, and resolve degraded performance or a temporary outage before users experience it. Active assurance is an essential enabler of the automation needed to successfully ensure differentiated performance and quality for next-gen services.

5G is prompting a mental shift in how the industry thinks about service assurance. Active assurance’s continuous eyes and ears are key to keeping the dynamic 5G network humming.

The proactive techniques discussed in this post enables service providers to effectively manage the change and complexity of 5G.

Learn more about 5G’s impact on service assurance strategies and take a look at Spirent’s latest active assurance capabilities.

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Charles Thompson 100x100
Charles Thompson

VP, Product Line Management – Live Portfolio, Lifecycle Service Assurance

Charles Thompson is Vice President of Product Line Management covering the live portfolio within Spirent Communications’ Lifecycle Service Assurance business unit. Charles has over 20 years of experience within various product strategy and business leadership roles. Most recently, Charles served as Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise and Cloud business unit at VIAVI Solutions. Prior to the GM role, he served as the Senior Director of Product Management where he led the organization’s go-to-market and product innovation strategies for its service assurance and security solutions. Previously, Charles led the PLM and R&D organizations at Network Instruments and Timewire Technologies for over 15 years. Charles has presented at numerous industry events and conferences and has regularly participated on podcasts and panel discussions providing insights to the market, trends and challenges facing organizations today including Cisco Live, Gartner, and VMware.