Spirent circle logo

Spirent Testing Integrated into IBM Network Automation to Assure Dynamic 5G Services


Testing must be integrated into the entire lifecycle of a 5G cloud-native network service offering’s development and operations. Learn how Spirent is partnering with IBM and Palo Alto Networks to demonstrate 5G network slicing security and deployment creation, service automation, and private 5G network validation at the 2022 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The 5G network is cloud native. It scales up and down as needed. It enables network slicing to meet varying enterprise needs. It’s dynamic.

In the static networks of the past, testing was an end-game function. It was done to the network when ready to be deployed. That’s not feasible in 5G networks due to the speed of change and asynchronous lifecycles of multi-vendor technologies. Now, testing needs to be designed into and actively involved in the network and operations.


Now, testing needs to be designed into and actively involved in the network and operations.

Keeping the dynamic, real-time world of 5G running with assured performance requires fully automated operations management, from service design and build, to deployment and operation.

That is akin to constantly changing parts out on a car as it speeds down the highway.

Operators must ensure, for example, that new network slices will perform as expected in all traffic conditions and that service changes made in real time will not cause disruption. This requires continuous, active testing in all phases of a service offering so issues are automatically identified and resolved before deployment and during operation in the live network.

In short, testing must be integrated into the workflows of a cloud-native world. At Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2022, we are collaborating with IBM to show how this can be accomplished.

IBM and Spirent collaboration highlighted at MWC Barcelona 2022

IBM will demonstrate the integration of Spirent test capabilities into automated, intent-based orchestration workflows, ranging from 5G network slicing creation, to service automation, to private 5G network validations. Several use cases associated with this work will be on display at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2022.

Spirent testing capabilities are modeled as virtual network functions (VNFs) and integrated within IBM’s Cloud Pak for Network Automation (CP4NA), which includes network function and service lifecycle management. This enables automated test inclusion in continuous integration, test, and deployment (CI/CT/CD), as well as in day-2 operations.

Exploring IBM’s booth at Mobile World Congress 2022

Attendees visiting IBM’s booth at Mobile World Congress Barcelona will experience breakthrough use cases highlighting the integrated role of test in 5G network design and lifecycle management in the following key areas:

5G slicing security: Automate, secure, and validate network slicing services

A joint IBM/Palo Alto Networks/Spirent use case demonstrates how 5G network slicing is provisioned with validation, security orchestration, threat detection, and response capabilities in this demo video.

Network slices are deployed with integrated security controls. Security parameters are passed to the orchestrator and then instantiated and configured for the firewall. Before activation, the master orchestrator initiates Spirent tests to validate the slice’s newly provisioned 5G network functions and applied security policies. Spirent emulates attacks and validates detections, including remediation, through IBM QRadar security information and event management (SIEM), security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) and CP4NA slice orchestration. This process makes it possible to run automated 5G slice function and security tests and assessments as part of an operator's service activation, and on an ongoing basis when components of the slice are updated.

Network slicing deployment: Validate connectivity in automated orchestration workflow

Following a network slice order, IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation provisions all elements of the 5G slice, from RAN to Core. Spirent validates end-to-end connectivity for the new 5G slice as part of the automated orchestration process. These behavior tests can be conducted in automated day-0 CI/CT staging as well as in day-1 deployment before releasing the new 5G slice to production.

Autoscaling network resources: Verify scaling during 5G core deployment and configuration

CP4NA automates 5G core deployment and configuration, autoscaling, rollback and upgrades, and integrates with Spirent’s 5G core test solution. As part of orchestration, CP4NA triggers a Cloud-native Network Function (CNF) scale out and automatically uses Spirent traffic to validate the autoscaling event scales as anticipated. It performs CNF validation and tests before the CNF is put into production. Spirent also increases the load on the CNF to evaluate behavior under heavy traffic conditions.

Performance anomaly remediation: 5G automation with closed loop assurance

Performance anomalies are detected in the core using fingerprint problem pattern detection to locate root cause and automate remediation. Spirent emulates traffic loads that trigger faults on the 5G core. Based on stats from the network and Spirent test solution measurements, the IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps system identifies the fault, applies an impact policy, and automatically triggers the remediation to the orchestrator.

Private 5G and SD-WAN service deployments: Use network automation to validate a new private 5G network

Spirent provides automated validation of provisioned services as part of the orchestration workflow that validates a new private 5G deployment. The Spirent Network Function runs test scenarios from CP4NA. It also starts test sessions and collects metrics.


See the demo live at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona – February 28 – March 3

Learn more about integrating test into 5G workflows

Spirent’s continuous test and assurance solutions enable automated service orchestration across a 5G service offering’s lifecycle. Whether in the lab or the live network, Spirent automatically validates connectivity, scale, security, and remediation. End-to-end visibility of the live network ensures ongoing network and service updates are implemented as expected.

To see how IBM and Spirent’s collaboration uses intent-based automation to orchestrate 5G cloud-native slicing, security, and enterprise services, visit IBM at MWC Hall 2, Stand 2H20 or learn more about our 5G test and assurance solutions.

And don’t miss the IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and Spirent panel discussion on Network Security in The Cloud taking place on Thursday, March 3rd, 12:30 - 13:30 CET.

Like our content?

Subscribe to our blogs here.

Blog Newsletter Subscription

Jurrie van den Breekel

VP, Strategic Partnerships

Jurrie is responsible for Spirent’s technology partner ecosystem in the strategy and corporate development team. In his over 20 years at Spirent in previous roles, Jurrie was VP of business development, product management, customer support, and strategic marketing across multiple Spirent business units and has worked in both the US and EMEA. Jurrie has a passion for developing and driving industry collaborations and is also a founding board member and chairman of the NetSecOPEN nonprofit industry initiative on transparent network security effectiveness, validation, and certification.