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Test & Assurance

Setting 5G Test Strategies? It’s Time for a Fresh Start

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As we head into one of telecom’s most competitive eras ever, it may be time to rethink how to approach testing and automation.

The Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X were the hot gifts for the holidays this year. Believe me, I tried to buy one without having to pay a small fortune since the November release. For at least the next five years, these gaming platforms promise to deliver cutting edge, blazing fast, next-gen experiences. Oh, and they’ll also need to support innovations from previous generation consoles going back many years.

Now, imagine if I told you one of these companies, while in a hyper-competitive battle for consumer spend, decided against building a new platform and just bolted onto old legacy tech instead? Multiply the complexity times 1,000 and you’ve essentially got the conundrum facing mobile operators trying to plot the best path forward on 5G testing.

Our CEO Eric Updyke recently wrote on the value of the precious commodity we call time. He touched on the trend of more operators turning over 5G testing needs to the experts as stringent, next-generation requirements continue to compound.

In a nutshell, efficiency needs to go way up and costs need to go way down. We hear it in our conversations with customers all the time now. It’s in all the financial reports. And when it comes to the role testing will play in this critical endeavor, what’s truly required is rebuilding a strategy from scratch.

Rethinking testing from the ground up

5G, SD-WAN and cloud are the building blocks of telecom’s future, and they demand new test infrastructure, labs, experts processes and training. Most importantly – they demand a new mindset. Waterfall-style network releases that take place once or twice a year aren’t going to cut it anymore. Not in an environment where the cloud scalers can spin up new services anywhere, anytime.

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Truth is, the metaphorical carrier ships have gotten so big that they can’t quickly turn on a dime to meet new moments when the markets demand it. But they can position today for the agility they will need tomorrow. Processes, team structures, vendor workflows, and yes, the actual supporting technology – it all needs to be on the table for reconsideration. The payoff? What used to take six months will be able to happen in as little as six weeks or less – with a lot less effort.

Calling on a continuous approach

5G is a solution awaiting a bevy of proven, revenue-generating problems. Discovering which solutions will drive new business models means failing fast and iterating even faster. A move to continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) powered by advanced automation and DevOps capabilities are the path to this promise.

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Make no mistake – this isn’t your father’s testing services. Spirent has the technology, expertise, and resources to play as small or big a role as our customers need in their 5G ecosystem.

Recently, Spirent has been working with some of the largest wireless operators in the world, helping them navigate complex evolutions to CI/CD. Over the past few years, we have had to evolve ourselves to meet this need. There was a time when we would have sold hardware on a license basis and the rest was up to the customer. Now, we are at their service and by their side with a Test as a Service model that combines our CI/CD expertise and automation technology to rapidly progress customers on their individual journeys to agility. Make no mistake – this isn’t your father’s testing services. We have the technology, expertise, and resources to play as small or big a role as our customers need in their 5G ecosystem.

Wondering if a CI/CD-based Test as a Service model is for you? Consider these critical questions:

  • Do we have the expertise to rebuild our innovation pipeline with an agile, CI/CD approach

  • How long will it take us to develop test cases to validate new network functions and services?

  • Can we ensure a vendor-neutral, unbiased approach to validation?

  • Do we have the Capex/OpEx budget and time it will take to get all these elements in place?

If the answer is no to at least one of these questions, it may be time to rethink how you approach testing and automation as we head into one of telecom’s most competitive eras ever. The reward is unlocking new freedom, speed and possibilities for continuous 5G innovation from labs through to live networks.

We cover this in our latest eBook, Building the New Telecom Innovation Pipeline. Read more about a next-gen approach to telecom innovation and then let’s talk about how we can help you take the next step.

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Manuel Zepeda
Manuel Zepeda

Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Services

Manuel Zepeda is Executive Vice President of Global Sales & Services at Spirent Communications, with responsibility for driving the company's worldwide sales and services organization. Manuel has 25 years' experience across communication services, IT services, and software industries, with a track record of executing quantifiable results that bring rapid growth, significant efficiency, improved profitability, and customer loyalty. Before joining Spirent, Manuel held leadership positions at Amdocs and BusinessEdge (now part of EMC Consulting), managing sales, delivery, and partner alliances. He is recognized as a thought leader on a broad range of technologies and the business needs necessary for companies to succeed in an ever-changing digital world, and he regularly shares expertise on service provider trends, telecommunications, IT, digital transformations, sales management and mentoring for sales professionals. Manuel attended Southern Methodist University, Texas, and the University of Texas at Dallas.