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Mastering analytics

How to benefit from big data and


network complexity
Monica Paolini, Senza Fili

In collaboration with

REPORT Power at the edge 2017 Senza Fili Consulting www.senzafiliconsulting.com |1|
Table of contents

I. Analyst Report 3
Introduction. Complexity enables intelligence 4
A map of the territory: what analytics does and how 6
Managing complexity, with machine learning and AI 11
Analytics tradeoffs: time and depth 14
Drivers to adoption: cost, services, usage and technology 16
Challenges and benefits: getting over the cultural shift 19
The ingredients for a healthy business case 21
Implications 24
II. Vendor profiles and interviews 25
Empirix 26
EXFO 34
InfoVista 41
Intel 48
Glossary 56
References 57
Further resources 58

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I. Analyst Report

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Wireless networks have been an outstanding success, exceeding expectations

Introduction. multiple times. Over the last few decades, performance and coverage have
improved tremendously, and we increasingly rely on wireless connectivity to
keep in touch with each other, to be informed and entertained, and to carry out
a growing number of the tasks we do in our daily lives. With IoT, wireless

Complexity
networks are taking on our environment, too: they have started to monitor the
things that inhabit our surroundings and to take actions within our world. If we
include both cellular and Wi-Fi, wireless has become the dominant way we
communicate with each other as the preferred alternative not only to mail and
fixed calls, but also to wireline communications. The latest laptops have only

enables wireless connectivity; they no longer have an Ethernet port.

Yet, despite their success, our wireless networks are not terribly smart or
efficient. In most cases, they still strive to push through as many minutes of voice

intelligence calls or bits of data as they can, regardless of what those calls or bits are, who is
sending them, what service or application they are tied to, how valuable or
urgent they are to the operator or the subscriber, and what the network
conditions are.

Utilization of resources is uneven, and networks do not cope well with


congestion. In part this is due to the uneven distribution of subscribers across
the footprint even in this age when we are always online texting each other,
people tend to aggregate in the same places, at the same time, making life hard
for network operators. A lot more optimization in the use of network resources
is possible than is being done.

This is about to change. Networks are about to become smarter and more
efficient, and at the center of that transformation is analytics.

The rising complexity of wireless networks and of the traffic they carry is the
fundamental enabler. Complexity provides the necessary ground for
optimization. In a homogeneous system, the scope for optimization is limited;
brute-force management of resources prevails. New technologies and more
powerful processing capabilities are also enablers of the transformation to smart
and efficient networks. But a key driver is the operators realization that end-to-
end network optimization is no longer an option it is a necessity.

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Complex systems, however, are difficult to understand, manage and predict.
And wireless networks have only recently started to become complex, so in the
wireless industry as a whole, we have a lot to learn. Not just the operators
everybody in the ecosystem, from vendors to, well, analysts. We have to make
many decisions about how to manage this complexity and turn it to our What is analytics?
advantage, instead of being swallowed by it.
Analytics is a fuzzy concept, and wireless industry participants have a lot of
Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can help in this task. They different takes on it, unlike terms such as MIMO, MEC or LAA. Even the
enable vendors and operators to uncover, understand and manage the definition of 5G is sharper than that of analytics. This is not a bad thing, though.
emerging complexity in wireless networks and specifically the parts of this In the wireless industry, analytics is a set of tools and solutions aimed at
complexity we are unable to grasp with the tools we have today. We do not improving the services provided to subscribers that is not within the direct scope
need ML and AI to manage what we know already: the algorithmic-based, of standardization. On the contrary, it depends heavily on what vendors call their
deterministic approaches that we use today are likely to be more effective and secret sauce and this, by definition, has to vary across the vendors that
requires less effort. ML and AI can help us to uncover unknown properties of develop the tools, and the operators that customize them for their networks and
wireless networks, identify correlations and anomalies that we cannot see by their strategy.
inspection, and suggest novel ways to optimize network deployments and
Our definition of analytics, which provides a context on what the report covers
operations.
and excludes. This report takes analytics to be an approach to network and
This report is about how analytics can make wireless networks smarter, how service optimization that correlates multiple data sources.
analytics can leverage ML and AI to do so, and why this is happening now.
Operators have been optimizing their networks all along, but even today, the
prevailing approach is to independently optimize single KPIs, or an element
within the network independently thus using a small number of data sources.
The value that analytics brings to optimization comes from expanding the range
of data sources and taking a customer-centric, QoE-based approach to
optimizing end-to-end network performance.

In widening the range of data sources, analytics requires more effort than
traditional optimization, but it also provides a unified and converged platform
for multiple targets of optimization. These targets can be categorized as
infrastructure (the end-to-end network, whether virtual or legacy), customer-
facing components (services and CRM), and third parties and IoT (giving them
access to analytics data to improve their applications or services).

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In the absence of a clear definition of analytics, this report draws on information

A map of the from vendors, operators and other ecosystem players to map what analytics
does or is expected to do in the near future.

The ultimate goal of analytics is to improve the subscriber experience or, for IoT,

territory: what
the service quality, in a way that is cost effective and optimizes the use of
network resources. Operators move from a network-based to a customer-
centric approach provides the momentum for the adoption of analytics and
accounts for many of the features that are emerging as central to analytics.

analytics does The most salient feature is the use of real-time, location-based big data: large
volumes of raw data from multiple sources some structured, some
unstructured to drive optimization. The data itself primarily data from
wireless networks and their users has always been available to operators, but

and how they could not easily collect and store it, let alone analyze it at the depth and
time resolution required to make it useful. Network monitoring and optimization
are still mostly done on historical data, but this severely limits their scope. What
is different now is that operators are finding ways to use big data from their
networks and subscribers, and they have started to add external data e.g.,
demographic or location data to enrich their analysis.

Managing the data

As a result, operators have to deal with massive amounts of data, and this may
feel overwhelming. In fact, for some time, worries about the sheer amount of
data available have been a drag on mobile operators commitment to adopting
analytics. The first challenge that analytics poses is to find ways to take control of
the data. Specifically, operators need to:

Clean the data, to make it accessible


Correlate different sources of data, which may have a variety of time and
spatial resolutions, be collected for different purposes, be stored in
different formats, and be linked in non-trivial, unknown ways
Find the data that is relevant

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Sources Analysis Actions Areas

Big data: Multiple levels: drill down as Measure and understand network Testing
Structured and unstructured data needed, to network element, performance and QoE RAN, core, end-to-end
sets individual user, location, time, Identify network anomalies and optimization
KPIs/KQIs, etc. QoE issues
Internal and external sources Monitoring, root-cause analysis
Multiple targets within an Trace cause of problems
Location based Security
organization
Real time Suggest solutions CRM
Variable time resolutions: batch
How to use it: Predict future disruption and Service assurance
analysis to real time
requirements
Clean data Automation Network planning
Correlate data sources Visualization
Find relevant data

Initially, finding the relevant data is the most difficult step, because we do not Analysis
know what is relevant and what can be discarded. We want to find anomalies or
unexpected correlations in the data, but we do not need to store data that After creating a robust framework to collect, clean, correlate and filter the data,
shows that the network is consistently behaving within the expected range we the analysis can be done at different levels, for different purposes. In the pre-
may want to note this down, delete the raw data and move on. But this is analytics framework, operators typically do not have a common data platform
difficult to do since we because we do not know a priori which data will give us that serves many optimization tools, but rather have separate data resources,
the insight in the network that we hope for, and because the data set is used for each used for a different task. Inevitably, this creates unnecessary duplication
multiple purposes and by different groups within the organization, each with its and forces operators to adopt a narrow focus that enables them to refine
own relevance criteria. performance only on a specific portion of their network. With analytics,
operators can use the same pool of data for all their service and network
Yet finding whats relevant is necessary. Storing and analyzing data has become optimization needs.
less costly, but it is still expensive, requires much effort, and can lead to false
positives or useless recommendations. Some vendors estimate that 90% of data They can do so by selecting different depth levels looking at the high-level,
can be safely thrown away. After we learn more about relevance in the data, this end-to-end network performance or drilling down to the experience of a single
figure is likely to rise, and, as a result, the analysis process can be streamlined. subscriber, depending on what they want to accomplish. For instance, high-level
Furthermore, data that is needed for real-time or near-real-time tasks need be data is useful to chart overall network performance through time, but when a
stored only for the time needed. subscriber calls in to complain about service, getting real-time information about
the networks performance where the subscriber is located, and about the
subscribers activities and device, requires a deeper dive into the data.

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This approach a single repository for all data, which can be accessed at does not specifically impact selected subscribers (e.g., the ones on more
multiple levels for different purposes increases the efficiency and power of expensive plans) or applications (e.g., those that have more stringent
analytics, and strengthens the business case for its adoption. However, it also requirements or are valued more by subscribers). Even more importantly, in the
requires operators to be flexible and to work internally across teams, sharing current approach, network conditions (e.g., congestion) do not play a vital role in
results and collaborating to implement the actions the analytics recommends. traffic management, exposing the operator to drops in QoE where network
resources are not sufficient to meet demand.
To support the analysis process, automation and visualization are necessary.
Optimizing QoE gives the operator the opportunity to fine-tune traffic
Automation is necessary because, as data volumes and sources increase, manual management in an environment where resources are necessarily limited and
analysis cannot keep up with the increased amount of analysis that is possible where demand may exceed capacity. Shifting to a QoE-based model for
and desirable. Automation enables employees to spend more time assessing optimization does not translate into a commitment to give to all users
possible solutions, and less sorting through the data. everything they want, but to give them the best the operators can, within the
network resources available and while operating a network within reasonable
Visualization, in turn, helps operators gain a better understanding of the results profit margins. While this may sound harsh and is unlikely to be part of
of the automated analysis and pick the best course of action. Visualization not operators PR campaigns, it is not only a realistic approach but also one that is
only makes the data results more meaningful, it increases operators confidence more advantageous to subscribers than the current one with only throughput
in analytics. A graphical interface alone is not enough to make sense of analytics maximization.
contribution. Visualization tools need to capture the elements that are relevant
to different users, call attention when an urgent item emerges, and provide a For instance, maximizing throughput works unfairly to the advantage of heavy
flexible framework in which to navigate the data. users, and may frustrate subscribers because they may be able to watch videos
on YouTube and Netflix, but they do not have the quality they expect on a video
Taking action call with their friends and family that is worth more to them than video
entertainment.
How does all this help operators? In the new customer-centric approach they
have started to adopt, analytics provides a way to optimize the end-to-end Another example is latency. Minimizing latency across the network is no longer
network in real time toward specific, strategic targets. They no longer have to sufficient. Low latency is clearly good for QoE, but some services (voice, video
limit optimization to throughput and selected KPIs (e.g., dropped calls, latency); and gaming, for instance) are much more sensitive to it than others (browsing or
they can choose how to manage traffic through their networks to decide which texting). Lowering latency across the board may be less effective in raising QoE
aspects of the QoE they want to give priority to, and surgically manage resources than lowering it specifically for the applications that require low latency. The
to do so. average latency may be the same in both cases, but the impact on QoE is
different. The ability to manage traffic at the application level that analytics
The differences between these two approaches may not be obvious, but they supports gives operators the ability to choose a strategy to lower latency.
are profound.
Analytics also gives operators more discretion in managing the uneven
Maximizing throughput and selected KPIs at the network level improves QoE distribution of traffic across location and time. This has the added advantage
only on average it spreads performance enhancements across the board, but it that they no longer need to plan their networks for peak demand, a practice that

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may lead to overprovisioning some parts of the network for instance, those recommendations may range from long-term actions (e.g., for network
with peakier traffic profiles. expansion planning) to real-time actions (e.g., switch on video compression in a
specific cell until congestion subsides). But the ultimate goal of analytics is to
QoE-based analytics gives operators a holistic view of network performance. It become able to predict the imminent emergence of an issue before it causes any
allows them to look at a wider range of KPIs and at the interaction among them, disruption to the network.
and to decide which ones carry more weight in improving QoE or, more
specifically, are capable of inducing the changes in QoE that their strategy calls There is much hope and expectation for the evolution to predictive analytics, but
for. prediction requires a maturity level in understanding network performance that
analytics does not have yet. While predictive analytics may work already in a few
This is another area where there are few known rules and much to learn and areas where we have a good understanding of root causes, ML and AI will play a
where analytics can help: to uncover how KPIs and generally network element central role in expanding its role in the rest of the network where we still have
performance contribute to QoE and interact with each other. As we move to much to learn.
virtualized network, this knowledge is crucial to determining the best way to
allocate virtualized resources. Where analytics can help

The same principle extends to the identification of network anomalies that can Analytics is a platform in which data from multiple sources converges to serve
account for QoE issues, and to root-cause analysis. Operators are moving multiple audiences within the operator and, as we will see later, within third
beyond an element-based approach in which, when an element in the network parties. It can cover the entire life cycle in the end-to-end network, from testing
does not perform as it should, they fix it and expect that the end-to-end network (to ensure that the network is ready for commercial launch) to network planning
will recover. (where analytics can proactively and precisely identify when and where the
network is due for expansion).
While fixing elements that misbehave is still necessary, it is not sufficient to
optimize QoE. Every single part of the network may perform as expected, but During commercial operations, analytics helps operators optimize the overall,
subscribers may still be unhappy about the quality of the service, or the network end-to-end network and each component within it. It can also assist with
may not support the level of QoE that the operator wants to achieve. In this monitoring network performance and root-cause analysis to solve performance
case, analytics provides a way to identify anomalies or even correlations that issues that affect the network as they arise or, eventually, to predict them.
may explain low QoE or suggest ways to improve QoE.
Analytics can be a powerful tool for identifying and managing security threats. It
Similarly, root-cause analysis benefits from analytics because analytics can help can help operators identify security vulnerabilities, as well as detect and isolate
identify problems with complex sources, which may stem from the interaction of suspicious activity in the network that may be caused by malicious attacks.
different elements or may not simply be reduced to the malfunctioning of a
single element. Another key benefit of analytics and the attendant QoE-centric approach it
supports is the ability to tie together the monitoring and management of
The guidance that analytics provides results both in a better and deeper network performance and service quality. While service quality inevitably
understanding of the subscriber experience and network performance, and in depends on network performance, operators still manage them separately, to a
recommendations to optimize QoE and resource utilization. These large extent, through different units in their organization. Analytics will bring the

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two closer to each other. This will benefit both the efficiency in using network service offered as service issues can be directly linked to the underlying
resources because operators can allocate them according to service network issues.
requirements, rather than performance requirements that do not necessarily
map onto higher QoE. A closer relationship will also benefit the quality of the

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Until recently, the scope for optimization and hence for analytics was limited

Managing by the homogeneity of network architecture and traffic. In a network that


consists largely of macro base stations, and with voice as the prevalent traffic
type, optimization is mostly limited to increasing throughput in the RAN and
lowering a small number of KPIs, such dropped calls and latency.

complexity, Todays networks are much more complex. Network architectures continue to
evolve, with the addition of Wi-Fi access, small cells and DAS, C-RAN, unlicensed
access, carrier aggregation, VoLTE, virtualization, edge computing, network
slicing, and eventually 5G.

with machine Managing networks that grow in size and complexity becomes difficult because
there is a need to integrate new elements and technologies into the existing
network in order to benefit from the technological advances.

learning and AI In parallel with the growth in network complexity, we have seen a growth in
traffic heterogeneity. Where voice traffic once dominated, it now accounts for
just a few percentage points of overall traffic. Video traffic is becoming
dominant, but increasingly video is too coarse a category to distinguish among,
say, conversational video, streamed video and downloaded video each with
different requirements. IoT will further increase the heterogeneity and
complexity of network architecture and traffic composition.

Complexity creates the fertile ground needed for analytics to grow and prosper,
because complexity creates the opportunity to optimize networks and services
in non-trivial, more sophisticated ways that will make networks smarter, more
efficient, and better at serving subscribers. Complexity gives operators more
flexibility and more choices, but of course those do not come for free. Reaping
the benefits of analytics requires effort and skill.

Data sources

The relevant data sources can be both internal (i.e., collected from the network
by the operator) and external (i.e., generated by third parties such as
government and private entities). The inclusion of multiple data sources reflects

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the need to capture and leverage the complexity of the wireless environment
and its ties to the wider social and physical environment.
Data sources
With the exception of major events (the Olympics, the Super Bowl, or other
major sports and entertainment events), the use of external data is still in its Internal
early stages. But we expect it to become more relevant, in parallel with an
increased interest from external users in the operators data on wireless QoE indicators, KQIs to characterize the subscriber experience
network traffic and usage. (We will discuss this later in the report as a revenue Mobile devices, IoT devices to measure the impact they have on
opportunity for operators.) Because subscriber use of wireless networks is QoE or quality of service
affected by events in the outer world, external data can be very useful in fine-
Traffic: total, by type (e.g., voice, conversational video, streamed
tuning network operations, especially when facing events that are not planned
or cannot be forecast to the desired level of detail.
video, best-effort data), by application
Element-based and network-level KPIs
For instance, it is well known that there will be a total solar eclipse in August Applications: usage patterns, requirements, performance issues
2017 (the first one in 99 years in the US), and we know what will be the best
Location of subscribers within the network, movements of
places to see it. Oregon expects 1 million visitors, mostly outside urban areas,
subscribers (e.g., to predict shift of traffic location through time)
where network capacity is limited; we can expect congestion. However, this is
not a recurring event, so we do not have historical data to rely on (as we do, for Billing and policy data, to decide how to manage the subscriber
instance, with the Super Bowl), and while we can forecast, to some extent, what experience, in real-time network conditions
visitors will do, real behavior is likely to diverge from the predictions. In this case,
information on bookings, traffic, and ancillary events may help operators plan
for the event. Tracking the movement of subscribers will also help operators External
predict how the load on their networks will shift with time across locations. That
same information would also be valuable to public agencies facing the influx of Census and demographic
visitors, and to venues catering to them. Mapping data (terrain, 3D, building interiors)
Public data (traffic, whether)
A role for machine learning and AI
Retail, enterprise, venue owners (IoT or other applications)
ML and AI are useful for analytics because they can extract valuable information
from the underlying data and generate insightful advice or predictions. And
interest in both ML and AI is high within the wireless industry and across many
verticals. We expect ML and AI to assume a primary role in the development and
evolution of analytics (graph below), but analytics will not reduce to either of
them. ML largely developed from AI, so the two overlap and, while the extent of
the overlap is subject to discussion, vendors and operators will leverage the
techniques each offers, regardless of the label.

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ML offers tools to extract relevant information, suggestions or predictions from
data sets that are too large, too complex or insufficiently understood to make
predictions otherwise.

AI has a wider scope: to replicate (or improve on) human intelligence, or some
aspects of it, and other cognitive functions in machines. In this context, functions
such as learning, pattern matching, problem solving and prediction are relevant
to analytics.

Analytics covers a lot of ground, and for many of its tasks those that are
sufficiently mature and well understood existing deterministic, rule-based
algorithms are efficient and well suited, and there is no need to use the more
effort-intensive tools that ML and AI offer. But as analytics becomes more widely
deployed and deepens our understanding of the network, we can expect that
ML and AI may expand their reach.

For instance, today we may not need ML and AI to decide where to put a new
macro station, because there are many constraints that limit the possible
choices. But as we move to more complex network architectures, there will be Similarly, ML and AI can play a significant role in identifying anomalies in
more solutions available for adding infrastructure at a given location, and ML network and service performance that may point to performance issues,
and AI may become useful. security threats or attacks, or other useful information e.g., about an
unexpected or unplanned event that in turn may generate a prediction or a
The potential for ML and AI is in helping vendors and operators address areas recommendation for specific action.
which are new we have no historical data and too complex to understand
with more traditional approaches. ML and AI can correlate multiple sources of
data and to find what is relevant within the entire data set. Going through this
process manually is too labor intensive to get beyond a basic correlation and
selection of data that gives only limited insight into network and service
performance. ML and AI may uncover correlations that were not previously
recognized, because their automated processes can explore data more deeply
and more systematically than humans can. Human expertise is still crucially
valuable in narrowing the focus to find solutions and to keep complex problems
manageable, but it can limit the ability to find novel solutions or insights.

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Flexibility in network and service optimization is one of the benefits of analytics.

Analytics Operators can decide how aggressive they want to be as well as how much risk
they are willing to accept and how much effort they want to invest into this.
With the potential for tradeoffs along many dimensions, each operator will chart
its own unique path and get analytics to fit its specific requirements.

tradeoffs: time Time and depth are two of the most important dimensions. And they interrelate
in defining how aggressive the approach to analytics is.

Time refers to the temporal resolution of the analysis, ranging from data

and depth
collected over a period in the past to real-time data, which could be
collected on the millisecond scale.
Depth combines network depth (from the end-to-end network, down to a
single-element level) and location (of subscribers and infrastructure).

The tradeoffs here can be illustrated by two boundary cases:

A high-level approach, which requires less effort but provides only results
at the network level and for historical data.
A deep approach, with data collected and analyzed in real time and using
geolocation, so that optimization can happen at the edge of the network,
targeting the RAN, the subscriber or both.

Operators will pick any combination of time and depth they see fit for different
tasks and at different times, depending on the target of their analysis. If their
target is QoE, they may want to look at it at the network level to see how it
changes through time, but they may also look at an individual subscriber to
customize the service offering.

Today, operators are still mostly in the first boundary case (the lower-left corner
in the graph on the next page). But they are moving toward near-time and real-
time analytics, and combining that with geolocation and with the ability to drill
deep into the network.

As operators move toward real time and closer to the subscriber, the volume of
data that analytics tools have to crunch grows quickly, increasing the processing

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requirements, and hence the effort and cost. But the reward is a more effective and only when and where needed. Network access and usage across the
optimization. network are highly variable across time and space, and the distribution of
network resources is correlated to demand but does not exactly match it. So
Choosing the appropriate level of analysis is crucial. Drilling down more than congestion or performance/coverage issues are likely to emerge at different
needed not only increases the cost and effort, it also produces results that may places and times, but only in a small portion of the network. To be most
be more detailed than needed and lacking in the higher-level data aggregation effective, optimization has to selectively target these locations and not the entire
the operator was aiming for. network. And the lower the time resolution and the more precise the
geolocation information, the more powerful the optimization can be.
The benefits of moving toward appropriate levels of real time and geolocation in
analytics can be huge. Doing so enables operators to optimize more effectively,

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The rising complexity in networks and traffic patterns makes analytics attractive

Drivers to for vendors to develop solutions and for operators to deploy. The increased
ability to manage big data at lower cost has made real-time and location-based
analytics manageable and affordable.

adoption: cost,
But this is still not enough to justify adoption. Multiple drivers are involved in
shifting mobile operators from their earlier caution about big-data analytics
toward the realization that deep optimization of services and networks is not
only possible, but in the long term necessary. Each operator is moving at a
different pace and selecting a different approach, but there is a consistent

services, usage commitment to getting a better understanding of network dynamics and


leveraging them through optimization.

In the table on the next page, we list three groups of drivers that, from different

and technology
directions, strengthen the case for the adoption of analytics:

Cost and service drivers. The need to improve utilization of network


resources is becoming even more urgent in an environment in which
subscribers are more demanding but less willing to increase their wireless
spend.
Usage drivers. Not only do we use wireless networks more, we use them
differently from the past in terms of applications, services, devices, and
role in social interactions. That creates a richer set of requirements for
operators to adopt in order to improve the subscriber experience.
Technology drivers. Network evolution within 4G today and eventually
culminating in 5G greatly benefits from a more extensive and intensive
use of analytics. In turn, some of the technology advances increase the
scope of action of analytics.

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Cost and service drivers

Move to a subscriber-centric service model, based on QoE. This creates the need to understand what QoE is, how to quantify it, how it relates to
network KPIs. In addition, other performance metrics are being introduced to capture new components of the user experience that traditional KPIs do
not track: for example, using metrics like time to content, stalling rate and duration, or frame rate to specifically capture video experience. (Other types of
traffic and services have their own new specific metrics.) Analytics provides the framework to incorporate this new data and correlate it to the KPIs and
other metrics currently used.
Manage traffic based on service and application. A key element in quantifying the inherently subjective QoE is to analyze network and service
performance at the service and application level, to understand what the subscriber satisfaction level is for each. This is part of the shift to a subscriber-
centric model: subscribers directly care about how well apps work on their devices, and they care more for some applications than for others.
Understanding this enables operators to prioritize traffic management accordingly.
Improve efficiency to retain profit margins. Usage continues to grow fast, but revenue growth lags, so increasing network resource utilization which is
well below capacity through optimization has become a top priority for operators. Analytics can help, first by getting a more granular understanding of
inefficiencies in resource utilization, and then in identifying ways to improve it.
Improve performance and QoE without increasing costs. Related to the need to improve efficiency is the need to avoid an increase in deployment and
operational costs as operators enhance performance and QoE. Analytics can strengthen the ability to compare the effectiveness of different
infrastructure upgrades i.e., their impact on performance and QoE so operators can select the upgrades that are most cost effective.
Keep churn low. Although churn is, as always, a top-of-mind worry for all operators, we still do not fully understand what causes subscribers to move to a
different operator and how to prevent that. Analytics can give operators actionable insight into the causes, and can flag subscribers who are at risk of
defecting.
Expand revenues through new revenue streams. Revenues from subscriber service have flattened in many markets, and IoT is the best opportunity to
unlock a new revenue stream. To enable it, however, operators need to manage the coexistence of IoT and the existing subscriber services, in a way that
keeps users satisfied while also using network resources efficiently. Analytics can help to manage the traffic from subscribers and from IoT applications so
neither suffers.

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Usage drivers

Differentiated traffic, devices, users. The heterogeneity in traffic types, wireless devices and users keeps increasing as we rely more on the wireless
infrastructure, and this trend is accelerating with the growth of IoT. As we have noted before, this complexity is an enabler for analytics, but it is also a
driver for adoption, because analytics helps operators manage traffic types, devices and users differently depending on eachs requirements and the
operators strategy.
Traffic growth outpacing traffic capacity. While operators strive to increase capacity in a cost-effective way, traffic continues to grow faster than capacity.
One way to address this is to intensify resource utilization. This increases the volume of traffic transported by a network without having to increase
capacity. At the same time, analytics can help operators manage traffic more effectively in real time, taking into account network load. This is especially
useful to reduce the incidence and impact of congestion.

Technology drivers

Virtualization. Virtualized and, even more so, hybrid networks need a robust analytics platform to enable the orchestrator to allocate network
resources effectively. Here there is also a significant potential role for ML and AI as the ecosystem continues to learn how to operate in a virtualized
environment. Conversely, virtualization gives analytics a new direction in which to showcase its value. In a non-virtualized network, core resources are
assigned to specific hardware, so the scope for optimization, and hence analytics, is limited. Virtualization transforms the wireless core into a dynamic
environment, which has to be optimized in real time to extract the benefits virtualization.
Edge computing. As wireless networks start to embrace distributed architectures, operators need to balance which functions should be centralized and
which should be pushed to the edge and decide where in the edge those should be located. The more detailed understanding of network and service
usage that new analytics tools make possible may help operators chart their path toward edge computing.
Network slicing. Effective analytics is fundamental to the successful implementation and use of network slicing. Operators have flexibility on how to slice
traffic how many slices, how to split traffic across slices. Analytics can help operators figure out the most effective way to do so. The decisions depend
on the type of traffic on their network, and this varies by location and time.
Policy and subscriber management. Advanced policy and subscriber management requires analytics insight into subscriber behavior in order to resolve
customer support calls, reduce churn, and upsell and customize services. Being able to drill down for a detailed snapshot of the subscriber experience in
real time gives operators the opportunity to respond more efficiently to subscribers calls, or preempt them by contacting subscribers when the operator
notices QoE issues.
5G. 5G will be the culmination of a process of integrating multiple air interfaces and network layers, and of increasing network complexity to
accommodate a wider range of use cases. As we move toward this target, and as operators and vendors continue to refine it, analytics will grow in
prominence and maturity.

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The expansion of analytics that we discuss in this report is appealing to

Challenges and operators, but it is also challenging. Learning to manage and leverage massive
data sets can be a daunting task, and applying the insights from analytics in
commercial networks can be risky initially.

benefits:
The main concerns for operators stem from the difficulty of the tasks that
analytics tackles and the amount of effort required to manage a big data
platform. In addition to that, operators have to either train their employees to
use analytics or hire new employees to do it, but data specialists are in great
demand these days, and difficult to find.

getting over But the greatest challenge is likely to come from the cultural shift that analytics
requires within the organization. The combination of real-time operations and
automation within an expanded analytics framework causes a loss of direct

the cultural
control over the network the type of control that operators still have by
manually optimizing the network. Giving up that level of control is necessary
because the complexity of networks makes automation unavoidable.

Of course, operators are aware of this, but the cultural and skill shifts that

shift analytics requires are still difficult to introduce. It will need commitment from
top management, and it will take time to be absorbed. Eventually the transition
has to be completed; the open question is how long the process will take and
how much internal resistance operators will face.

Despite all that, operators commitment to analytics has grown swiftly over the
past few years, because the benefits outweigh the challenges.

First among the benefits are the lower costs and new revenue stream; we will go
over these in the following section on the business case.

In addition, analytics can enable operators to improve their support for existing
services, the creation of new services, and the customization of service offerings.
Analytics can give operators the information they need to optimize QoE for
specific services and applications. The combination of analytics and network
slicing will push this capability even further.

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At the same time, a better understanding of what subscribers do individually
and within market segments will help operators define new services and
applications and estimate their attractiveness. It will also enable operators to Challenges
offer plans that are better suited to a subscribers need, or services that the
subscriber may be interested in. Operators are already doing this today, but Hard work
analytics will provide richer insight about how best to engage the subscriber. Too much data to process
Not enough skilled people
As we mentioned in the previous section, advanced policy and subscriber
management drive the adoption of analytics, but also improve subscriber Less control over network
management and the implementation of policy. Once a subscriber calls in, the Difficult cultural shift
service representative will immediately get all the information she needs to
diagnose the issue and suggest a solution. Benefits

Another benefit, seldom mentioned, is differentiation. It can be crucial to Lower costs


strengthening an operators market positioning. Analytics gives operators the New revenues
flexibility to set and implement their own strategy for network utilization and Better support for services
service management, and that will set them apart from other operators in the Faster service creation and better service customization
competitive environment. More effective subscriber management and policy enforcement
Differentiation

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Analytics injects efficiency into the end-to-end network and the provisioning of

The ingredients services efficiency that operators sorely need now. A substantial investment is
required and a good part of that will go to customizing and integrating the
analytics solution within the operators organization. Nevertheless, the business
case is attractive, because the financial benefits extend to the entire network.

for a healthy Increased utilization of network resources. Analytics makes it possible to


optimize network traffic management so that, with capacity unchanged, the
available network resources get used more extensively. One option for achieving
this is to schedule traffic with different latency requirements in a way that

business case minimizes traffic variability (i.e., raising average throughput by filling in the
valleys and reducing variance). Another possibility is to prioritize time-sensitive
or higher-value traffic, while delaying traffic where a short delay has no
significant impact on the subscriber experience (e.g., app updates, large content
downloads, background activity). Yet another way to increase resource
utilization is to encourage subscribers to shift some of their activities to peak
hours (e.g., by exempting some off-peak access from the monthly allowances).

Operators may also increase network utilization by intelligently steering different


subscribers to use specific interfaces or networks so they maximize the use of
the overall network. This could be very valuable in an environment where both
licensed and unlicensed bands (e.g., LTE and LAA) are used concurrently and the
operator can leverage analytics to determine which traffic types, which
applications, or which subscribers should be directed to which band.

Lower per-valuable-bit cost. Some bits are more valuable than others.
Increasing the utilization of network resources lowers the per-bit cost of a
deployed network, but even more important, it lowers the cost of the most
valuable bits.

For instance, increasing traffic during off-peak times or at lightly used locations,
but leaving it unchanged in high-traffic areas, lowers the cost per bit, but the
financial advantages of that reduction are small. With analytics, operators can
change the traffic composition and distribution in hot zones prone to
congestion.

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Lower operations costs. In providing a more complete view of the network, In addition, the more granular, analytics-generated knowledge of subscriber
analytics can help operators control operating costs. By looking proactively at experience and behavior helps operators segment the market more efficiently,
the need for fixes and maintenance, and improving task coordination, analytics develop more advanced and effective policy, and engage in proactive marketing.
can facilitate preventive maintenance or reduce the number of truck-rolls.
Third-party revenues. With analytics, operators collect detailed data from
Better planning. Analytics presents more detailed knowledge of network multiple sources. Many are internal and come from the network and the
utilization. This can be used to plan for new network deployments or network subscribers using it; other sources are from external private or public entities.
expansion with greater accuracy, and can help operators select the most
effective solutions and locations for the new elements. Analytics can even, in Operators clean, aggregate and correlate this data, and place it in the context of
some cases, make it possible to delay network expansion, because with the their network. Finally, they select what is important to them. They have the
higher resource utilization that will occur, it takes longer for cells to reach opportunity to do so for third parties, as well, which may be interested in a
capacity. specific subset of the data. Operators can extract the desired subset from the full
data set before discarding the information they do not need (see figure in the
Network slicing, edge computing. Analytics support for new approaches to next page).
traffic management, such as network slicing and edge computing, enhances
their financial benefit. As a result, analytics and the new traffic management The data that mobile operators have access to and collect for internal purposes
approaches strengthen each others business case. is highly valuable to many entities, including IoT providers, public and safety
organizations, venue owners and enterprises, and, more generally, anybody that
Specifically, analytics can help operators decide how to slice their networks and is interested in geolocated information e.g., advertisers, or companies like
how to balance centralized and distributed functionality. This will result in better Uber or Airbnb. Because most of us carry around a mobile device at all times,
support for existing and new services, and in the ability to devise new services operators can track activities and movements and provide a dynamic view of the
that leverage the new functionality from slicing and edge computing, based on population in real time.
the more detailed knowledge of subscriber behavior derived from analytics.
Of course, this data can be shared with third parties only so long as the operator
Customer services and product offerings. On the customer-facing side, protects the privacy of individual subscribers so it has to be at the
operators can use analytics to secure or enhance revenues. These might come population/subscribership level. For many potential customers, this level is still
from offering new services or tailoring existing ones to better meet subscribers highly valuable, because they are interested in demographic information and not
needs, and from supporting more advanced services both for subscribers and for necessarily in the individuals behind it. And no other entity has the same degree
IoT applications. And by making customer care more effective, operators can of accuracy and granularity along both time and location that mobile operators
reduce the number of calls and lower churn. have.

For instance, the operator may address a performance issue that could affect Advertisers may use this information to select the location and type of ads they
QoE, before the subscriber notices or picks up the phone to call in. When this is serve. Retailers may decide where to open the next store. Public agencies may
not possible, the operator may alert subscribers about service limitations, and want to understand or predict peoples behavior during events that are
offer alternatives or compensation. This can keep subscribers satisfied and unplanned or that have an unpredictable impact on traffic or public areas. These
reduce the number of calls. are only a few examples of a potentially large market that mobile operators can

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address at a low marginal cost because they have to collect and
structure the data anyway for their internal tasks. As a result,
sharing data with third parties could be highly profitable,
although the size of the market is still largely unknown because
it is a new opportunity, and regulatory restrictions may limit the
market potential.

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Implications Analytics expands the scope optimization

Machine learning and AI allow us to find out


things we do not know

Network complexity makes analytics worth


the effort

Learning requires work and learning to fail


is part of it

Cultural shift is likely to be the biggest


challenge to quick rollouts of analytics

Operators are now convinced of the


necessity of analytics and strong optimization

REPORT Mastering analytics 2017 Senza Fili Consulting www.senzafiliconsulting.com |24|


II. Vendor profiles and interviews

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Service handovers: can subscribers move filtering tools for root-cause analysis. It is
Profile within the network and keep the designed to reduce MTTR by reducing the
connection active? time required to analyze the data.
Empirix Ability to diagnose and address performance IntelliSight. A monitoring and analytics
Empirix has provided end-to-end network monitoring issues platform that collects near-real-time data and
and analytics since the company was founded in processes it to optimize QoE, network
1992. It offers solutions to operators and enterprises Dashboards, reports, and analytics that give
performance and network operations. It is
to reduce opex, strengthen customer retention, and operators insights into customer and network
designed to work in a multi-vendor
increase revenues. Empirixs solutions cover multiple behavior
environment and to enable customization of
technologies including VoIP, VoLTE, video, data, Multiple products address these goals: logic, KPIs, dashboards and work flow designs.
IMS, IM, and unified communications using a single,
integrated architecture for data collection, E-XMS. A service assurance monitoring Operators can use data analytics to better
aggregation and mediation, analysis, and solution for the end-to-end network that understand and optimize network traffic, and
visualization. mobile operators can use for troubleshooting use subscriber analytics to uncover individual
and diagnostics, and to capture QoS and QoE. or group KPIs and KQIs and to correlate the
Empirix is committed to providing the following to It enables operators to access customer calls data with CRM and troubleshooting tools.
operators: and data sessions with high granularity, both
in fixed and mobile networks. E-XMS includes
Visibility into voice and data network traffic, a correlation engine, raw packet capture, and
for using a single data-collection device
Ability to combine, correlate, and enrich
network data with third-party sources to
provide intelligent data records to SON
systems
Access to information on customer analytics
(at the individual or group level), device,
location and services
Location-based services
Understanding of both QoS and QoE
Calculation of KPIs for:
Service access: can subscribers access
services?
Service performance: what is the
experience for a specific service (e.g.,
voice, data, SMS, video)?

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reporting, or even sending information to third One of the biggest advances has been to
Empirix parties. intelligently collect and distribute the appropriate
information. As we know with VoLTE, voice and
Real-time analytics to The key behind what we do is the fact that we
have these multi-service probes that allow us to
data are on the same network. What has evolved
is the ability to rapidly understand all that data and
understand QoE and collect every bit of information on them. Were
able to take that data and not just pass on all the
be able to transform that into information and
knowledge that is meaningful to the service

optimize end-to-end data because therere huge volumes of data that


come off a service provider network but also do
provider.

what were really focused on: being able to If we want, for example, to take all the data thats
performance provide the right data at the right time. traversing the network, and we want to be able to
correlate it to the actual end user, we will also
A conversation with Robert Laliberte, So were taking that data and correlating it to the need to pull in information from CRM and
VP Marketing, Empirix end-to-end call, for example, so customer support associate it with a user.
will know this customers having a problem at this
point. The key, for us, is working with the service
How can mobile operators deal with all the data provider to understand what are the critical KBOs
they have and optimize their networks, rather We are able to understand the traffic, so the and then building out the appropriate KPIs, KQIs,
than be overwhelmed? How can they get the data service provider can pass along location-based so they get the information that they want to see.
they need, at the right temporal resolution services information, or can find a real-time alert Of course, they also need to be able to drill down
(milliseconds instead of days), and at the right to a network problem thats causing a problem to an individual subscriber level, not just macro
depth (from the end-to-end network, down to the with the quality of experience for an individual level data like this cell tower is out.
individual subscriber)? subscriber.
In this day and age, we really need to be able to
Robert Laliberte, VP of Marketing at Empirix, Thats what were trying to do: take vast amounts instantly pinpoint which subscribers are impacted
shared how Empirix correlates network data to of data and roll that up into the information, by a network challenge. Or if an individual
multiple use cases, both internal to the operator knowledge and wisdom that service providers subscriber calls in to customer care, we need to
and for third parties. need to operate their environments more know whats going on with their account
effectively and efficiently. immediately.
Monica Paolini: Robert, can you tell us what you
do in this area at Empirix? Monica: Operators have always had access to this The biggest shift weve seen from the operators is
data, but theyre only now learning to use it. What much more focus on the customer, many of them
Robert Laliberte: Empirix is a leading provider of has changed in the past few years? refer to it as and more customer centricity; its
customer experience assurance solutions. We whats driven a lot of this activity and the need to
provide all of the data collection probes that go Robert: In the past, there were separate voice and be able to correlate all that data into a single, easy-
out throughout a service providers network, data systems. You had data coming in, but it got to-use interface.
collect all that voice and data traffic, bring that in, stuck in silos, and there was a lot of swivel-chair
correlate it, enrich it, and pass that on for either management: How do we correlate the Monica: Thats challenging, because you need
real-time dashboarding or reporting, ad hoc information between the two disparate systems? granularity of the data about the individual

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subscriber, and at the same
time, about the network.

You need to collect and put


together all this data and
relate it to the user. How
do you do that? In a
network, there are many
different sources of
information, different
vendors, different systems.
How can you pull it
together?

Robert: Its a really good


question, because it is a very complex that call information end to end that is whats wants to know what devices customers are using,
environment. One of the keys is to not be tied to becoming more critical. and maybe even where theyre using them. The
any specific vendor when youre deploying a probe sales team is going out to municipalities to say,
solution. Everything we do can work across any It is complex. There is a lot that has to be done, Wouldnt you like to understand the citys traffic
single vendor, multiple vendors, heterogeneous and you have to map it out correctly in order to patterns? We are able to generate that
environments, because what were doing is polling collect the right data. Again, our approach is to information from the data that is collected.
the network traffic. Were going directly and start by understanding what the business
getting all the information off the network traffic. objectives are first, so we can go into the network Thats where the power of our mediation and
and understand that in order to get this key correlation engine comes into play, as that is
The key is sitting down with the service providers, indicator for this business objective, we need to where we transform data into valuable
understanding their environment completely, so place collectors here, here, and here, in order to knowledge. We help service providers to map
that we can appropriately place the data collection provide that information to the business. network data to useful information and
points to ensure that we are collecting in all the knowledge.
right places, before the SBC, after the SBC, things Monica: The first step is to understand which data
like that. to collect. But then you also need to understand Of all the data that were collecting, we can refine
what data is relevant in that huge amount that you that down, correlate it, and generate the
Or maybe out at the base station, at the RAN collect. Most of it, its not needed. Only a small information that these organizations want to have,
tower, so we can collect that end-to-end visibility. fraction of it is. by department. As I mentioned earlier, customer
Thats one of the things weve also seen evolving. care, for example, wants to be able to look from
Its not enough to have information only from the Robert: Thats a great point. And to put an even an individual subscriber, or maybe groups of
core network. Service providers also need to have further refinement on that, its which team wants subscribers, such as roamers.
end-to-end visibility. access to what data. The troubleshooting team
wants to see detailed call ladder diagrams,
The ability to collect data from the edge, back illustrating an end-to-end call, so they know
through the core, and being able to correlate all exactly where a problem is. The marketing team

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Its about making sure that, once youve ingested
that information, youve got the flexibility to
appropriately segment it and to provide the
appropriate reports, dashboards, etc., to the
appropriate teams.

Monica: Basically, you get data from the front


sources, collect it, put it together, and then ship it
again. But its not just presenting the raw data. Its
presenting it in a way that is useful for the
operators. What do operators want in this
context?

Robert: What weve seen is organizations want to


be able to focus a lot more on the actual individual
customer. They want to be able to take these vast
volumes of data and drill down to an individual-
customer level, when they call in for support, or
they want the flexibility to be able to analyze
customers by group, whether its their roamers or
corporate, or their high-value subscribers.

From the troubleshooting group, they want to see


more detailed analysis and to be alerted more Monica: In this context, how have the KPIs It is also more than just QoS, which is about
quickly when there is a problem. They want to see changed? As you mentioned, voice is no longer a network performance. Service providers want to
that in real time, and they want to be able to drill separate service: VoLTE is both data and voice at understand the quality of experience, or rather the
down and do the diagnostics. They want the high- the same time. Does that change which KPIs subjective experience that the end user has.
level alert, but then the capability to drill down. operators are paying attention to?
Is our network performing great? is a question
Its not about presenting all the information at Robert: When you look at something like VoLTE, it that doesnt matter. What matters is, Is the end
once. If they get the high-level alert that there is a adds an additional layer of complexity. If you have user getting an acceptable level of performance?
problem, they want to be able to drill down and a solution thats just looking at the data network, If theyre not, thats when theyre likely to leave
quickly find what theyre looking for. and one thats just looking at voice, youre missing and go to someone else.
the complete picture on VoLTE.
Additionally, service providers want information Monica: You also mentioned real time. If its
they can monetize. Theyve got this vast amount of It comes in over the data network, but yet its customer care, the operator wants to act as soon
data, and they want to use it to change or redefine voice, so you need to do a lot of correlation to as possible. What temporal granularity do you
their business model, and be able to sell data for make sure youve got the right KPIs and KQIs that need to have?
location-based services or for real-time offer youre monitoring to ensure youre delivering the
management. greatest level of service.

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Robert: It really depends on what information out thats going to have billions of sensors. A lot of their quality of experience to make sure they are
theyre looking for, and what levels of correlation those will be riding over their networks. taken care of so the providers dont lose them.
and information they want to have. In some cases,
for real time, what youre looking at could be There are a lot of opportunities for service Monica: As networks evolve, they get virtualized.
anywhere from a couple of minutes to maybe 100 providers to be able to provide information back. Getting information out of a virtualized network is
ms of delay. Theyre going to have to fight with other different from a traditional network, because the
ecosystem players for that, but IoT is an network keeps changing and so does the data
If you want to deliver real-time offer management opportunity for them. extracted from it. Its a dynamic network. It is a
or location-based services, we see an increasing moving target.
demand from the service providers saying, Its Location-based services is another one. Service
great that were pulling in all this information, but I providers know where everyone is, and when they Robert: Its a very exciting time. Anytime theres a
need it in real time. are there. If youre a shopkeeper, for example, and big catalyst for change and a big new technology
you want to target people to get them to come shift, it presents a lot of opportunity.
Any alerts for network issues have to be at the into your store, what better way than to get
sub-second, or millisecond resolution. Service information that says, The majority of the people With virtualization, the issue is how to ensure that
providers are looking for that alert to come that walk past your store live in these zip codes? we have the virtual probes in all the locations we
through as quickly as possible. need them, especially as the network changes.
Then you can target your advertising to those zip Thats going to be the key knowing when virtual
Some of the other information, for instance codes to drive traffic. Hey, you may not live here, network functions are spun up or spun down, or
marketing data, may not be something service but you walk by my store every day. Please come when new service is turned up.
providers need to get in real time, but they want in and see me. Things like that would provide a
to have it filtered and correlated. They dont want value-add to the business owners and also would How do we ensure that were in synch with those
to waste time looking through information they create a monetization stream for the service changes, and ensure that the probes are collecting
dont need. provider. the data that we need to collect? especially when
you may have two network functions that are on
Monica: Lets talk about monetization. As is often An extension of that is real-time offer the same physical server, and the data traversing
the case, operators want to know, How do you management based on a subscribers location. Not them never leaves that physical server.
monetize all this? Analytics requires a lot of effort only are they walking past your store, but an
and cost. How can they get that investment back? example of the real time would be, Hey, youre Thats where a virtual probe that you can deploy in
walking past my store. Heres a coupon to come that virtual environment in between the virtual
Robert: The service providers are under pressure. inside and buy a couple of donuts from me. switches enables service providers to collect and
There are a lot of saturated markets. Theres a lot extract the meaningful data, and send it on to the
of competition. Theyre trying to differentiate That ones near and dear to my heart, anyway, mediation layer without missing anything as the
themselves and come up with new revenue making sure I get a few donuts as I go by. Things environment shifts.
models, and deal with all the OTT vendors taking like that are where service providers are trying to
money riding over their networks. monetize the data thats flowing over their Obviously, its still early in the virtual environment.
network. You see a lot of people piloting, testing, looking at
Service providers are still exploring how to rolling out solutions. Were actively working with a
leverage their networks to drive additional Theyre also looking into how to keep high-value number of our clients as they embark on piloting
revenue streams. Youve got things like IoT coming customers happy. Service providers want to know virtualization in their networks. But the key really

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is ensuring, when you move from that physical breaking points are. A lot of these are still largely from a technology point of view, but also in terms
realm into the virtual, that youre still able to unknown. of internal structure and culture?
collect all the data you need.
Its going to be an interesting time for us. What Robert: Its interesting that you bring that up,
Again, it ties back to what does the business need, were trying to do is work with our clients who are because Ive always seen, in any technology
and based on that, where do we need to put in the doing these pilots, to deploy our solutions and transition, the technology tends to be the easy
collection points. We have to ensure that, help them understand where the complexities are part. Sometimes its the cultural change that
regardless of whether its a physical or a virtual and how to overcome them. Ultimately, becomes much harder.
environment, were able to collect that data and to virtualization adds a layer of complexity, because
pass that on, filter it, correlate it, enrich it, and now you have a new layer of abstraction that What Ive seen and witnessed in a lot of the
send it up to the appropriate groups that need it youve inserted. technology changes is not really a jump from, for
within the service provider. instance, manual to fully automated processes.
We saw this with the early days on the enterprise Instead, service providers working with the
Monica: As you said, this is a gradual process. side, when they were deploying server vendors get into a semi-automatic mode where
Many operators have only part of their network virtualization. You got server virtualization sprawl. the software will provide the recommended
virtualized. Doesnt that present a special People would spin up more and more virtual solutions, but to enact a change, they still need to
challenge for you, because you basically need to servers, and that created all sorts of congestion in physically press a button make that change
collect data from both worlds? the network and contention at the storage layer. happen.

Robert: For us, what that would mean is that All those bugs need to be worked out. Theres no It takes time to convert from a manual to a fully
were going to be deploying a hybrid environment doubt they will. The enterprise has already figured automatic mode, but it gives them the sense of
of both physical probes and virtual probes. this out. Theyve built fully virtualized control they need as theyre learning to trust the
environments. Its just a matter of time for the automation software.
NFV is now getting into what Gartner refers to as service providers to be able to pull this together,
the trough of disillusionment in its hype cycle. At do the testing that they need to do, and then roll This is where, as I said, it gets exciting. Theres a lot
the beginning everyone loves the idea, they love forward their solutions. of vendor development going on when things
the concept. They start using it, and they find out work or maybe things dont work, and they need
theres maybe some limitations, or there is The smaller service providers will probably roll this to change and modify their product.
something causing a problem. out faster, because they have a less complex
environment. Itll be simpler for them to deploy Again, its going to be a progression. Its going to
This is where it gets really fun. This is where we get and control. As you get to larger operators, its take time. People will test the waters. Theyll do it
to go out and test these environments and push going to take a little bit longer, just because the in pilots first before they roll it into production.
the limits, and understand what works, what environment is more complex. Were still looking at years before all this gets fully
doesnt, and what needs to be fixed or changed. adopted, but like I said, this is the exciting time
Monica: In your pilots, what is it you hear from now. This is where a lot of the developments
Were entering a phase of rapid development right operators? They are used to doing manual, small going to happen, a lot of the real testing is going to
now, as more organizations and more service changes, and having limited data. The more they take place, and finding out what works well.
providers start deploying these pilot environments open up the gate to use more data, the more
and finding out where the virtual environments automation they use, the less control they have. Certainly, with virtualization at the edge,
How are mobile operators coping with it, not just organizations and service providers dont have to

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roll trucks to deploy a set, fixed environment. going to change what youre doing and the kind of this perfect storm brewing out there with IoT, 5G,
Instead, they can rapidly turn up virtualized servers help you provide to mobile operators? and SON that needs to be accommodated. We see
at the edge thats a great use case for them. our role as being the ones who can provide the
Robert: The way we view the future, we see NFV information.
As IoT develops, theres going to be a much bigger and 5G becoming a reality. We see IoT continuing
strain and need for these service providers to be to grow and expand. We see the need for more Again, we talk about taking vast amounts of data,
able to flexibly change their environments, grow self-optimized networks to occur, because, again, moving it up to where it becomes that
that environment so they can accommodate that its not going to be feasible if there are going to be information, knowledge, and ultimately maybe
load thats being put onto their networks from all massive swings in infrastructure required to wisdom for an organization to take the
the IoT devices. support the customer demand. Its not something appropriate action or monetize things.
thats going to be sustainable through a manual
Just think of a time when maybe eight or nine process. When we look at this phase moving forward,
million autonomous driving cars start up in the solutions like ours will be critical to providing the
morning and go to work. Busy hours are no longer We view our role in that environment as being the right information at the right time to the right
going to entail people calling on the phone. It ones who can collect all that information, correlate orchestration tools, self-optimized network tools,
could be cars self-driving and looking for it as needed, and then feed the appropriate tools in order to make those decisions to help drive
information. Its going to be an interesting to take the appropriate action, whether thats a efficiency in their environment and to help keep
transition to this space. Its one that were looking self-optimizing network infrastructure, whether their customer satisfaction high.
forward to seeing develop. thats an orchestration engine.

Monica: If we look forward over the next few We view this as really critical to the development
years to 5G and more virtualization, how is that of fully virtualized environments, because there is

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About Empirix
Empirix is the recognized leader in end-to-end network performance visibility with the unique ability to analyze customer behaviors
by application in real time. We help service providers, mobile operators and enterprises optimize business processes to reduce
operational costs, maximize customer retention and grow top-line revenue. Through monitoring, analytics and intelligence, Empirix
helps companies around the world realize the full value of their technology investments. For further information, please visit
www.empirix.com.

About Robert Laliberte


As Vice President of Marketing at Empirix, Bob is responsible for global marketing and product management. He brings over 25 years
of industry experience in national and international marketing, product management, and leadership roles to Empirix. Prior to joining
Empirix, Bob was an Industry Analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group, where he spent eight years advising and educating vendors and
end-users on market trends and technology, including software-defined networking, in the network and network management space.
In his role, he worked closely with recognized industry leaders, small startups, and end-users to guide technology and go-to-market
decisions. Before that, Bob worked at CentrePath, a software and services company providing data center networking solutions.
There, he led marketing and product management efforts for CentrePaths core remote management offering, cross-domain event
correlation software, and professional services solutions.

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Topology analytics that enables the correlation of data across multiple
Profile Network performance analytics sources, the coverage of more use cases, and real-
IP network and transport analytics time analysis in legacy, NFV and hybrid networks.
EXFO Data and voice analytics
EXFO specializes in portable optical and high-speed Fiber analytics By combining multiple data sources, EXFO
transport test solutions, network and service Video analytics Ontology brings fragmented views of the network
assurance and analytics solutions. It serves over NFV closed-loop analytics together. It creates a dynamic network model that
200 wireless and wireline network operators, Field-test analytics Xtract uses to analyze the data and generate
service providers, webscale companies and actionable recommendations in real time.
network equipment manufacturers in more than These applications are directed to service
100 countries. EXFO Worx is a service assurance and performance
operations, network engineering, planning and management solution that allows for end-to-end
customer care. The Xtract dashboard includes KPIs service testing and monitoring in real time and for
EXFOs portfolio covers virtual and non-virtual
and other data from probe performance, network historical reporting, and that can leverage
networks end to end, and enables operators to go
beyond initial testing with real-time assurance, equipment, CRM and inventory data. Ontologys network model. Operators can use
monitoring and analytics functionality. The EXFO Worx test points to monitor and
companys standard for its products is that they be troubleshoot voice, video and data IP services.
easy to use, automated, and linked to analytics The acquisition of Ontology in March 2017
capabilities. expanded the functionality of the EXFO real-time
analytics platform by adding a dynamic topology
EXFOs 3D analytics platform is designed for real-
time correlation of network monitoring and
management data, such as performance, fault,
test and CDR data. The correlation of these data
sources enables operators to do real-time
monitoring and impact analysis, automated root-
cause analysis, and troubleshooting across three
distinct but correlated areas:

Subscriber
Service
Network

As the central element in EXFOs 3D analytics


platform, Xtract relies on modeling, service
experience indexing and machine learning to
support applications such as:

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of the company is in fiber optics, where we started Our customers are planning this transition right
EXFO 30 years ago. now, and we get a lot of requests and inquiries,
especially on how analytics can be applied in a
Dynamic topology Now, over the past 10 years, we have been
expanding the solution offering more into service
hybrid environment and in virtualized networks,
and how analytics can support all of these
and predictive assurance, so in addition to test measurement
equipment, we also have fiber network monitoring
transitions in understanding the increasing
complexity of the network and of the

analytics in solutions. We have active and passive probing


solutions for different layers of the network.
infrastructure.

Monica: Theres a lot of legacy, so there is a lot of


virtualized networks Were using the analytics solution to combine and complexity that operators have to deal with in
correlate all of that data that were collecting their networks. The traditional approach of
A conversation with Anssi Tauriainen, today from the operators network. optimizing the performance of each element is no
Director of Service Assurance and longer sufficient, and you need to look at the end-
Analytics, EXFO We use analytics for two purposes. The first is to-end performance of the network.
consolidating the data and correlating it between
the domains. The second, and more important, You have been pioneering this approach for quite
purpose is making sense of the data, using some time. Can you tell us a little about why we
In this conversation with Anssi Tauriainen, the
different mechanisms to process that massive need end-to-end? And what does end-to-end
Director of Service Assurance and Analytics at
amount of data and reach conclusions. mean to EXFO?
EXFO, we talked about how analytics can help us
optimize mobile networks today. Through
Monica: What motivated you to work more on Anssi: Youre absolutely right: we have been
analytics, a network operator can pull together
analytics? pioneering this approach. Weve been collecting
multiple data sources to create a dynamic
requirements and implementing a real-time
topology of the network and react to location-
Anssi: Obviously, there are major, big solution.
specific conditions in order to optimize the
transformations going on in the telecoms industry.
network in real time. Increasing demand puts a lot
Were seeing the number of connected devices The challenge today is that there are a number of
of strain on operators, and analytics is the perfect
increasing all the time. We see IoT coming. We see OSS systems for network management, or
tool to help them get the most out of their
cars and new devices being connected to the element management systems for various types of
networks.
network. We see networks being modernized, for networks.
example, with fiber to the home, fiber to the
Monica Paolini: Among EXFO solutions and
antenna, and projects ongoing to increase the In telecoms, when the rollout started, there was
services, analytics plays a prominent role. Can you
capacity of the networks. only a single network technology, mainly GSM, and
tell us what your focus on analytics is at EXFO?
since then, layers and layers of new technology
5G rollouts are already in a starting phase, and one have been implemented on top of that. Basically,
Anssi Tauriainen: Analytics is a big topic for us, and
of the biggest areas is Network Functions every time new technology gets implemented, a
a very important strategic project. EXFO has been
Virtualization, or NFV, where the existing new OSS or a new management system is
in the industry for 30 years, so quite a while now.
architecture based on legacy hardware is being implemented, as well, for that particular
The company is probably better known, still, for
modernized and moved into the cloud to become technology.
test and measurement solutions. The background
virtualized software.

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As a result, the network operations or
nowadays, the service operations are
fragmented. It is not uncommon to see
that, for example, network engineering
people or technicians have to access tens
of different systems in order to
understand or troubleshoot problems in
the network.

Were trying to simplify this by having a


single system combining the data end to
end, so not focusing only on a certain
part of the network for example, the
radio network, or the core network, or
transmission, or the optical network.
Instead, we are building a solution that is
able to combine all of it together.

Let me give you a simple example. When


youre troubleshooting what goes on
with a Voice over LTE, or VoLTE, call,
EXFOs solution gives you a system that
contains the performance data of
individual networks for that particular
call in a single system.
Anssi: Absolutely, and there is even one more for example, to layer 3, analyzing how the IP
That saves time for manual troubleshooting, of dimension to it. If you think about the network as network is performing.
course, because not only can you see a single call layers of different network technologies if you
in a single system, but that also gives a basis to think of the traditional OSI model there are For example, you can connect this information to a
apply more automated mechanisms for seven layers on top of each other. In order for a certain path in the network where the network
troubleshooting and discovering the failures. troubleshooter to understand how the network is latency is increasing. Once you connect this
performing, you need to understand the information back to the subscribers, you
Monica: Horizontally, you have a solution that performance on different layers, because they are understand that this is the reason the service is
works across different technologies, so it could be connected to each other. degrading.
GSM for 4G, and eventually 5G. And then, on a
vertical level, all the way from the core to the RAN. If we take the previous example: in order to There is also another example. You can go even to
Is there a unique point where the operator can understand why the service in a Voice over LTE call layer 1 to analyze the performance of the fiber
optimize the whole network? is degraded, it is extremely useful to have the network and understand that there is, for
ability to drill down to lower layers of the network

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example, an increase in the loss on a certain part
of the fiber network, which is whats causing the
increased packet loss or latency in a certain part of
the IP network.

This is what we mean by end to end: you cant


actually just analyze the data from a single layer
and expect to troubleshoot it, either manually or
with an automated mechanism, without actually
having the visibility across all of the layers.

Monica: You see that either something needs to


be optimized or its not working properly, and then
you can dig down into whichever dimension is
most appropriate, right?

Anssi: Absolutely. And using the single system, not


having to jump from one system to another.
element in the network is working correctly, on end users, for either consumer or business
Monica: And we could add another dimension: the independently from the rest. To get a good grasp subscribers?
application. If you have, say, VoLTE, video and of the QoE, you need this high-level view of whats
best-effort data, you can do the same analysis for going on and how to optimize all the applications. Right now, a certain number of services are being
each application, so that an operator could say, You cannot just optimize one application and hope used, but the expectation is that there will be a
Well, best-effort data works perfectly fine, yet we for the rest to work well. larger number of services in the future, on the
have a problem with video, or with conversational operator-side model, where operators are able to
video. Anssi: No, not really. I think that was kind of the create new services in a very agile mode.
idea with the network management systems and
It helps them to look not just at the overall OSSs earlier, but if you manage individual That, of course, poses another big challenge to
network performance, but at the performance of elements and therefore the situation is good analytic systems. The analytic systems have to be
different services or applications, right? enough, and the performance is good enough, agile to support new services.
then everything else on top of this is working well
Anssi: Absolutely. The end users, whether those enough. That was the principal approach back in Monica: IoT is among the new services. How is
are business users or consumer subscribers, they the day. that going to affect analytics?
dont think about a difference between the
services. For them, its the one provider providing Nowadays, that has shifted. A major shift from Anssi: Obviously, when youre analyzing this for
everything. They expect all of them to work network-oriented service operations into user- end users and Im now talking about human end
flawlessly at the same time. oriented service operations has taken place, and users theres always the human behavior, which
youre absolutely right: the focus is actually on the is more difficult to model. You need to have
Monica: For an operator, the goal is to optimize quality of experience for individual services, and several data points in order to model and
quality of experience rather than making sure each how QoE is impacting services. What is the impact

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understand the experience satisfaction level of discovery, troubleshooting, and fixing are, the Anssi: Of course, its never going to be fully
your customers. greater the benefit the analytic solution brings. automated, and its never going to be fully
predictive. There are certain things you simply
In IoT, thats of course going to change, because This discovery can be manual, or our goal the cant predict, regardless of how advanced your
machines dont have any opinion on service root-cause analysis can be fully automated, and algorithms are.
quality; its strictly based on KPIs. In a sense, its then it can be done much, much faster than with
going to make it a bit easier, because you can the traditional manual methods. If you look at the operational costs today how
make analyses purely on hard facts. But, of course, much money operators are spending in operating
the problems are going to be substantial. In that sense, the real-time aspect is very the network, and how much of that work is based
important, because you want to locate and fix the on manual analysis and knowledge that is residing
There will be two sets of issues. First, theres a issue immediately. Once you have the capability to in the skilled engineers head thats a very, very
large amount of data to be processed. And the do automated troubleshooting, you can do it as big number.
second thing is the need for real-time analytics. soon as something happens in the network.
Technologies such as streaming analytics need to One of the main mechanisms to reduce these
be put into use in order to react to different In the future, one of the big changes in the operational costs is the introduction of artificial
phenomena in the network. industry and in analytics will be the usage of intelligence and self-learning, or machine learning,
artificial intelligence. Therere a number of success in this domain.
Monica: You mentioned real time. Thats a big cases, already, in other industries on how artificial
change. We used to optimize the network based intelligence or machine learning is being utilized to Monica: Can you tell us a bit about the acquisition
on historical data, and thats no longer sufficient. solve complex problems. Watson is a good of Ontology? That has brought new analytics skills
Its still important, but not sufficient. example. IBM is publishing a number of use cases into EXFO.
they managed to sort out by using Watson.
We need to move to real time, but operators are a Anssi: Ontology Systems developed technology
bit worried because, by definition, with real-time That same new technology can be applied and is that enables it to build the dynamic topology of
analytics, changes in the network happen faster. being applied in telecoms, as well. What today is the network. Through the acquisition, today EXFO
You may feel like youre losing control, and you reactive and based very much on discovering in has a solution that connects different data sources
want to make sure you have it right. real time, is going to be even further automated, on the network for example, inventory data,
so moving from real-time into predictive and event data, and billing customer information.
Anssi: Real time is an important aspect, and right finally into cognitive analytics.
now, most analytic solutions are mostly in reactive This connected data can be unstructured data, and
mode. When something happens in the network, Predictive and self-learning analytics methods can can be processed. A dynamic topology model of
it needs to be discovered fast, and the correction actually tell you whats going to happen next the network can be created out of this
needs to be implemented fast. instead of, and in addition to, telling you whats complementing the inventory systems of today.
happening right now and how to fix it. Even in physical networks, the inventory systems
Two important drivers, or two important KPIs to are very laborious and expensive to keep up to
measure this are mean time to discover, or MTTD, Monica: Thats the real target. You want to date, and often, as a result, they are mostly out of
and mean time to repair, or MTTR. Basically, prevent a problem from arising in the first place. date.
understanding whats going on with the network How important do you think tools like artificial
and understanding how to fix it are two key intelligence and machine learning are going to be But the dynamic discovery of the topology enables
drivers, and of course, the faster and easier the in this context? us to have an up-to-date, real-time topological

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map of the network, which is a great basis for have a network thats partly virtualized and partly back to the orchestrator which can then act
applying further analytics. And the topology itself not. Thats yet another big challenge. based on this information.
can be used for understanding the service impact,
or it can be used for troubleshooting, for example. How does the transition to virtualization bear on The orchestrator is capable of managing and
analytics? There is more variability, a more configuring the network on the fly, changing the
When we are connecting this into various probing dynamic use of the network. At the same time, its network configuration and capacity based on the
solutions or monitoring solutions that export to also an opportunity, because virtualization gives performance and experience of the services
our analytics solution and other parts of our you more flexibility in optimizing the network. provided.
portfolio, we can build more advanced solutions.
Anssi: Absolutely. There are new analytics use Before going into that, there is a simpler need for
Ontology is a key piece in automating the root- cases that are applicable and important for virtual analytics, and thats basically managing the hybrid
cause analysis for different kinds of networks. networks. The lowest-hanging fruit is to networks. A combination of virtualized networks
understand how, for example, the software- and physical hardware.
Monica: This helps operators deal with the defined network performs how the NFVI, the
amount of data they typically have. An operator platform for virtualized functions, performs and In that kind of network, the key use case is
has all the data it needs from its network. The combine and understand these, and connect the understanding how the new virtual components
question is how to organize that knowledge, and results to the customer experience. perform and combine that information with
how to find whats relevant and whats not service experience data, basically to understand
relevant. Most of the information is not relevant Its about how to optimize the performance of the how to optimize the cloud service in connection to
and not needed, but you need that small amount virtualized platform itself, and how to combine the hardware components, in order to improve the
that is relevant to find problems and to address statistics from the software-defined network to overall experience to end users.
them. understand and create a better customer
experience or service experience. Moving into a fully virtualized environment, there
Anssi: Thats right. You have to remember that this is a use case, called closed-up analytics, where the
is the situation even today, when most of the Moving forward, its going to get more complex idea is that theres a component that is feeding the
networks are physical, based on physical when, like you mentioned, there is a capability to information to the orchestrator. That component
hardware. A virtual environment in which all the automatically tune and optimize the performance is analytics. Thats the brain of the NFV.
functions are running in the cloud is going to be of the network. The orchestrator is the key
more dynamic. This will probably take 10 or even component in doing this. Understanding the performance of the network
20 years. In the meantime, we still have hybrid and understanding the performance of closed-
networks which are partially based on dedicated In order for the orchestrator to optimize the loop functions, and then creating
hardware and partially cloud based. network in the best possible way, its going to recommendations based on that, and then feeding
need brains. Thats not something which is built that information to the orchestrator so it can go
Having up-to-date information on the inside of the orchestrator today. ahead and execute these recommendations.
configuration and topology of the network will be
essential in understanding how the network There is also a need for a closed-loop analytics This is probably a few years away, because there is
performs and how it can be optimized. capability: a component that collects the no such thing as a fully virtualized environment
performance indicators of various sources in the today. But I think thats a very clear development
Monica: This is especially the case as you have networks, understands the performance level of direction that we see in the market today already.
virtualized networks and, even more so, when you individual NFVs, and then feeds this information

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About EXFO
EXFO develops smarter network test, monitoring and analytics solutions for the worlds leading communications service providers,
network equipment manufacturers and webscale companies. Since 1985, weve worked side by side with our customers in the lab,
field, data center, boardroom and beyond to pioneer essential technology and methods for each phase of the network lifecycle. Our
portfolio of test orchestration and real-time 3D analytics solutions turn complex into simple and deliver business-critical insights from
the network, service and subscriber dimensions. Most importantly, we help our customers flourish in a rapidly transforming industry
where good enough testing, monitoring and analytics just arent good enough anymorethey never were for us, anyway. For more
information, visit EXFO.com and follow us on the EXFO Blog.

About Anssi Tauriainen


Anssi Taurianen, Director of Service Assurance and Analytics at EXFO, brings over 20 years of experience in the telecommunication
industry. Prior to joining EXFO through the acquisition of his former company, Anssi was the Founder and CEO of Aito Technologies, a
leading provider of customer experience analytics for mobile network operators (MNOs). Previous experience also includes multiple
positions at Nokia Networks, including Head of Business Management, Project Manager, R&D Engineer and SW Engineer. He holds a
Masters Degree in Computing science, mathematics and telecommunications from University of Jyvskyl and is currently conducting
a PhD in research in Communication technology in Helsinki University of Technology.

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Regression testing to address interoperability TEMS iBuildNet, for planning and optimization
Profile issues of HetNet networks
Active monitoring to minimize MTTR and TEMS FleetManager, for remotely managing
InfoVista revenue losses drive tests
InfoVista provides solutions for mobile operators, Cloud-based QoE benchmarking and TEMS Monitor Master, for end-to-end active
service providers and enterprises, directed at monitoring testing and monitoring of services, pre- and
delivering better network performance. They aim Analytics post-launch
to improve QoE (higher QoS, differentiated TEMS Capacity Manager, to plan capacity for
services, faster applications, expanded coverage) user experience
TEMS tools include:
and reduce per-bit network costs (greater TEMS GeoBase, for comprehensive geolocated
operational efficiency and network utilization, and analytics
TEMS Investigation, for comprehensive testing
lower capex). The companys solutions enable a and benchmarking
customer-aware orchestration to optimize TEMS Pocket, for portable and indoor use
network performance in a way that spans the end- TEMS Automatic, for autonomous service
to-end network and acts in real time, focused on: quality monitoring
TEMS Discovery, for custom and real-time
Network awareness: network planning, post-processing
network intelligence, network performance
Customer awareness: network
optimization, customer/application
intelligence, customer experience

Two solutions are available to mobile


operators:

VistaInsight, for service assurance


Planet, for network planning and
optimization

With the recent acquisition of Ascoms


TEMS, InfoVista has expanded its
solution portfolio to include:

Drive and walk testing for network


rollout and optimization
HetNet design
Pre- and post-launch active testing
to identify performance issues

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Monica: What is it you do at InfoVista? Monica: What do operators do with geographic
InfoVista information?
Kyle: Im the product manager of TEMS GeoBase,
Tying in geographic which is a big-data analytics tool that combines
multiple unlimited geographic data sources and
Kyle: Probably the most common use case is
ranking cell sites. Companies spend billions on
information to make makes it possible to make smarter decisions faster. rolling out their network. A lot of times they treat
all sites the same. Typically, you see the east

networks smarter Monica: What kind of location-based information


are you using? How is that useful to operators?
region gets a third of the money, west region get a
third of the money, and central gets a third of the
A conversation with Kyle Ownbey, money. That may not be the case.
Kyle: When you start talking about correlation of
Product Manager at TEMS GeoBase, data, geography is one thats typically not With GeoBase, theyre able to understand what
InfoVista included, just because it is harder to do spatial the best way is to make every capital expenditure.
queries. Typically they save about 20% of their overall build
plan. Because you start building sites in the correct
Analytics is very hot topic right now, as operators We leverage our expertise on big data analytics to order, you build the right sites. It has amazing
get more and more comfortable with using the take in every kind of data source you can ever properties.
information they collect from their network imagine for example, predictions from a planning
through analytics, machine learning and AI. These tool, drive test, call trace information, DPI probes, Monica: Basically you know whats going on in a
tools give them valuable access to data they billing records. Anything that you can imagine, we network today, you know what your weak points
traditionally had no choice but to ignore because tie it all in to a geographic area. are, where you have congestion, or anything like
the volumes are so huge. that. Its just part of planning, as a planning tool. Is
This means that for every geographic spot in a that particularly useful, I would imagine, for small
I talked to Kyle Ownbey, Product Manager of given market or network, I know everything about cells?
TEMS GeoBase at InfoVista, about how analytics it. I can tell how many Starbucks are there, how
allows mobile operators to pull together all the many customers, whats the market penetration. Kyle: Typically, in the planning part, operators
data they get from various sources and use it to Is the network operating correctly? I can compare havent had access to live data, customer data, or
make smarter decisions faster. predictions versus drive-test data. If they dont data about any point of interest. When you tie all
match, then I know there must be a problem. these in, you get some really great insight into
Monica Paolini: Kyle, what is InfoVista doing in the whats going on in your network. And thats just
analytics area? Monica: Is the geographic analysis done at the the starting point.
edge or centrally?
Kyle Ownbey: InfoVista is an exciting company. It What gets really exciting about this product is that
has a wide range of products and solutions, from Kyle: Its on the premises, installed in the data you can tie this product in to the data lake. It
big data analytics in the geographic space to center. We collect data from every kind of source, allows you to solve all sorts of issues and use data.
optimization with Planet for prediction, call trace whether thats a file server, DPIs, database links,
analysis, optimization, and service assurance APIs. You name it, we can get data from it. Then One of the problems operators have is that they
products. It has a complete portfolio that covers we join it together, and then push it out to a spend a lot of money collecting data, and then its
the end-to-end network. visualization page. so unmanageable or they dont really know what
to do with it, and it just sits unused. We let them

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get value out of their data, because we tie it
together.

The same data set can be used for decisions


that range from ranking a cell site, to where to
optimize the network, to where to put a store,
to how to understand the utility cost of a cell
site anything.

Monica: Location data from mobile operators is


a very important source of information for
demographics, because today we go
everywhere with our mobile phones. And as
you mentioned, they can leverage that not just
for cell sites, but for other purposes as well.

Kyle: Absolutely. The great thing about what we


do is that analytics is additive. Once you start
using analytics, you truly start making your
decisions on solid grounds. Right now its
shocking how many processes are done
manually or visually. As operators stare at a
map, they say, We should put a cell site here. Kyle: No. When you start looking at peoples daily Let us automate that, and then youll find even
Its not really analytics. roles, what you typically see is that they very greater analytics you can do. It just feeds itself. Its
quickly get tied down in the lower-level minutiae, really the way to go. Its the way to be agile and
When you start using analytics, the two things you and just turning the crank, gathering data. competitive in a very dense market.
recognize quickly are, one, how smart the
decisions are, and two, how fast they come. It The first step of all data analytics is data cleaning. Monica: As you say, you want to clean the data.
doesnt take months to get a decision. It takes Usually you spend about 99% of your time Its a very good way to look at it, because
seconds. preparing the data, and about 1% of your time operators have access to any amount of
analyzing it. Just imagine all those things that you information, any depth of information. The
Even if you have a billion people working for you, would love to do if you had time to do them. We challenge is to find what matters to them, whats
its not scalable to do it manually. Analytics and free up that time to do them. relevant. How do you do that?
products like TEMS GeoBase can provide an
answer before you can even send an email out to Cleaning data manually, you just build a time sink. Kyle: My background is 20 years of RF engineering.
all the people who work for you. Instead of that really smart individual who comes Ive done everything from drive tests, to capacity
up with those great reports or this great analysis, planning, to running networks, to designing them. I
Monica: Does it mean that a lot of people will lose that person is tied down with data cleaning and have a lot of practical knowledge. Then InfoVista in
their jobs, then? cant ever do anything new, because analytics is so itself is a market leader when it comes to this. We
valuable. have a really deep bench of people to rely on.

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The way we started was that we had a problem to
solve, and we were doing it using the manual
method. Then we turned to big data to solve that
problem for us. I think most products really start
from the big data side, and IT organizations dont
really know what to do with the data at the end. I
think thats our difference: practical applications
with analytics is our trademark.

Monica: In order to do that, you have to bring


information from different sources that are
traditionally separate. Which I guess is part of the
problem for mobile operators. How do you pull all
this information together? And how is that
information used by operators?

Kyle: Our largest deployment has 42 different data


sources that will require almost 30 different logins.
One person would never have access to this kind
of information.

For instance, knowing fault information, or if they


have a pico cell in the area, or whats the average
ARPU, or whether a user is a VIP customer. All
these kinds of things tie in and allow you to make A second difference is in our databases. We use Where to put a store, where to put a billboard,
decisions that were never possible before. It really Hadoop and a SQL database to run the how to understand marketing campaigns all of
just speeds it up. visualization, and it is completely open. This means these things start out as a design, but then you see
that we want you to use the data, because its that all the data can be used by every part of the
What we find is that the more data we put into your data. If you want to use it to drive other BI organization. Its just a different view.
this system, the smarter it gets. Thats usually our platforms, or you want to use ours, its not a
first step: we meet with the customer to proprietary file system that nobody is allowed to Instead of you pivoting on a network element, you
understand their use cases and what drives them. see. It just becomes part of this great solution pivot on where the subscriber is. But its the same
Then we just start loading data into it. inside your organization. data set, and it can be used for multiple
organizations.
One of the key differences between TEMS We see operators using it for things that we never
GeoBase and other products is that we can get the thought they were going to start out with. They Monica: Thats interesting, that you can use
first data set up within about 30 days after you start out ranking cell sites and telling you where to GeoBase to decide where to build a new store or a
spin the hardware up. An integration time of 30 do capital expenditures, and its progressed to billboard for advertising. How does that work?
days is just unheard of. where now operators are using it to identify sites How do operators sell or market that data?
that have electric costs that are too high.

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Kyle: If you think about it, what is a good cell site? I Once I know the scope of the problem, I can the information I need, I can turn it loose, and I can
need a lot of population and poor coverage. I dont absolutely tell you the troubleshooting steps. If its do trillions of calculations that would never be
want to put a site where theres existing good 10 sites, then you want to know whats common possible manually.
coverage, and I want to cover a lot of people so I to these 10 sites. When you start tying things in
get a return on my investment. geographically, you can take a really quick deep For instance, I can put a cell site every 100 meters
dive, which youre not able to do when you do to cover the entire United States. Essentially, let
Where would I put a store? I want good coverage, dont use the data geographically. me design out two billion cell sites, understand
because if customers go there and cant use the which one is the best, remove that, then run
phone theyre going to buy, then they wouldnt Monica: One thing you alluded to is that you can another iteration to find the second best. This kind
buy it. I need good coverage, I need a lot of use this information to plan. That introduces the of analytics was never possible before.
people, maybe I need high vehicle counts driving whole issue of the predictive power of analytics,
on the roads. These make good store locations. because its good to find out what the problem is Getting into predictive analytics allows us to
today, but you also want to prevent issues in the understand whats the current demand of an area.
You can see how we use the exact same data set future, and you want to have your network ready. We know that once the coverage or the quality
for multiple different use cases. gets better, the usage goes up. Whats that
What do you need to have predictive analytics in complete relationship between coverage and
Monica: If you look at geographic locations say place? quality and usage?
there is a cell out there and theres a problem
the problem might not be in the cell itself; it might Kyle: When we start getting into predictive, what Especially as we start getting into small cells and
be coming from the core or from a handset. So you need is the trifecta of data sources. This gets the internet of things, understanding that
you need an end-to-end view of the network, even into root-cause analysis. relationship among five or six different spectrum
to understand whats going on in a specific bands, along with multiple different cell site types
location. Can you do that, and if so, how does that When you look at the history of analytics, it really pico, femto, small cells, macro, micro all these
work? started out first with the need to automate a things, it becomes just too complex and impossible
process. for a person to do manually.
Kyle: Absolutely. InfoVista has a couple products
for that. Outside of TEMS GeoBase, we have an Once thats automated, what do I want to do with Monica: With IoT, you have new services, new
end-to-end solution on service assurance thats it? I want to start to do root-cause analysis. devices, new interfaces. So, our networks are
just for those things, that just does hundreds of becoming more complex. But that means there is
different test cases from end to end to understand When I start to do root-cause analysis, I need also a larger opportunity to use analytics and more
everything from VoLTE to just the regular 2G voice performance, configuration, and fault flexibility in optimizing the network.
call. management, because with those three I can solve
any problem. Was it changed, was it broken, or Because if everything in the network is
With TEMS GeoBase, when you start adding things was there a traffic pattern shift? With those three homogeneous for instance, if all you have is
geographically, when you start looking at how to data sources, I can find the answer. When I tie all voice you cannot optimize much. But now you
troubleshoot, you see the scope of the problem. If those together, I can start doing root-cause can optimize more, because you have more
its one sector, then you know it cant be the analysis. dimensions, more heterogeneity in your traffic.
backhaul, because you have three sectors on that How will the introduction of IoT change the way
backhaul and the other two are doing fine. Then the final, most exciting stage is with machine we do analytics?
learning and predictive analytics. Because I have all

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Kyle: Really a couple of things. The first is just the Kyle: It will. One thing weve seen is that with 2G, The first big data platforms were tier-one-only
number of objects. Everybody who can have a 3G, and 4G, we dont get any more people. We products. Honestly, the tier threes need it more
phone, has a phone, maybe even multiple phones. add layers of network elements on top of the than the big guys do, because the big guys have
So, what is the next subscriber? Its a thing: its mobile operators, and they dont increase the money they can throw at problems, and if they
your refrigerator, its a collar for your dog, its your number of engineers. The Gs are getting bigger lose it, its not that big of a deal.
car, and its everything that ties them together. and the people are staying the same. They need
some sort of analytic product to help them solve When youre a tier three and you want to be
Again, this starts tying into geographic those problems. competitive, every dollar counts. You cant afford
relationships between where the subscriber is and to waste weeks or dollars when it comes to
where that item is. If you want to IoT your dog With 5G especially, when you start talking about running your network.
collar, you need to know the relationship and the millimeter wave, small cells, and so on, you have
location between it and yourself, because what to truly understand the bandwidth needed per Monica: What directions is InfoVista moving in for
you really care about is to understand the person, because really what you have to do to the future?
complexity of all these different data sets and make 5G work is to give customers exactly what
this is just impossible without analytics. they need. Not too much, not too little, exactly Kyle: Definitely were very heavy into analytics and
what they need. Understanding that will only machine learning. As we move forward, we
Monica: And you need automation as well. come through analytics. continue to tie our products in. One of the great
things about InfoVistas acquisition of Ascom is
Kyle: Even with the tools that were available, one Monica: What are the pain points you hear from that there was very little overlap in the products.
of the things we ran into was that, typically, when operators that you can help them with? Both companies brought these great skill sets that
we created analytics, we could use different tool we were able to merge together.
sets to analyze the results, just to make sure Kyle: Definitely just the size of the data and the
theyre correct. I did something with this one tool. complexity of the networks are increasing as the I know, myself, coming from the Ascom side, as
Then maybe I opened an Excel spreadsheet and days go on. Especially with engineering, its moved soon as we were acquired, we immediately
calculated it in a different way to see if Im on from being RF focused, to having more of an IT or reached out to the call trace. InfoVista has a great
track. an IP background. call-trace tool, and Planet as a predictive tool,
which is a market leader there. Now I can lean on
The data these days is so big that we actually had Understanding how the protocols work through these tools and take that expertise and make
to use GeoBase to analyze GeoBase, just because the internet is completely different from how they GeoBase even a stronger product.
theres no other suitable tool out there. When you work through the air interface. Merging those two
start talking about billions and petabytes of together, especially on multiple frequencies in RF, Thats what youll see: more analytics, more
information, what tool out there can you use? We with their different characteristics, has become synchronization between all the different
actually had to run multiple instances just to just very, very scary for mobile operators. products. Its really going to help to offer a
understand exactly whats going on, and we were complete solution for mobile operators.
right. It gets very, very exciting. To use this data with tighter and tighter budgets,
because there is such a competitive landscape,
Monica: With 5G were going to go even further in operators need something to be agile, to be
terms of complexity and different interfaces. Will competitive. Analytics is the way to do it.
analytics change as we move to 5G?

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About InfoVista
InfoVista is the leading provider of cost-effective network performance orchestration solutions at the service of a better connected
and collaborative world. Our award-winning solutions empower mobile operators and communications service providers to ensure a
high-quality subscriber experience across the entire life-cycle, all technologies and all domains of both the mobile and fixed networks.
Using InfoVistas solutions, eighty percent of the worlds largest communications service providers and mobile operators deliver high-
performing and differentiated services, maximize network ROI, plan and optimize networks to match application and service
demands, and streamline network operations while keeping total cost of ownership as low as possible.

About Kyle Ownbey


Kyle started his career with 10 years in the US Army, serving as a repairman of radar and satellite imagery system. After honorably
leaving military service, Kyle spent the next 15 years working in RF Engineering telecom roles that included drive testing, optimization,
design and then managing regional markets. While becoming proficient in all roles of RF Engineering, Kyle became self-taught in
software programing and analytics, which led to a transition into leading tool teams and finally into designing a big data product that
is being used by a US Tier 1 telecommunications carrier. Kyle is currently the Product Manager for TEMS GeoBase.

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emerging wireless capabilities aims to enable new
Profile This requires transformation to virtualized, services and applications in wireless networks.
software-defined and cloud-ready networks to
Intel support 5G from the device all the way to the Intel has been leading to establish the
Intels networking, wireless, IoT and artificial core and the cloud. Intel is committed to foundational capabilities and platforms that will
intelligence solutions are geared to the business supporting this end-to-end transformation with its make possible the rapid development of IoT
and networking challenges in setting the stage for silicon and software solutions and its reference services in areas such as manufacturing, retail,
5G that service providers and enterprises face, architectures. It is also actively engaged with healthcare, smart home, and transportation.
including: partners, standards bodies and industry
organizations to create a robust ecosystem, which Intel is also pioneering in AI and data analytics,
Increasing network capacity to meet growth in will be crucial to ensuring a smooth and successful both in telecoms and other verticals, and believes
data traffic path to full virtualization. it will be a driving force toward revolutionizing
Building agile networks and platforms to every industry. With trials and initial commercial
improve existing service and enable new ones To create a new generation of highly agile, open, deployments, Intel intends to bring new insights
Deploying architectures and products to and programmable cloud-ready networks, Intel is and understanding to the entire IoT ecosystem,
accelerate analytics and artificial intelligence working on technologies such as network slicing, including smart factories, drones, healthcare and
adoption and bring an infusion of intelligence flexible RAN architectures, small cells and multi- autonomous driving.
to networks access edge computing (MEC). Intels work on

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Caroline Chan: Every time we talk about the get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data,
Intel network, we think of the network as an extension and you need to find whats relevant in there. How
of the cloud. But it needs to be soft. It needs to be can you go about it?
Analytics to optimize flexible. Here at Intel, weve been working on
different prototypes and reference architectures Caroline: Quite a few years ago, we worked with a
enterprise and IoT to extend that. local provider on a worlds fair event in Shanghai.
One of the issues the provider was facing was the

applications In the discussion we have today around the ways


5G infrastructure aids big data analytics, we think
use of security cameras it had all around the
venue. This was a big event, and security was top
A conversation with about the network as an integral part of it being of mind.
more cloud-like.
Caroline Chan, Vice President and This provider was taking every single frame and
General Manager, We know that a lot of data is being stored and sending it to the cloud. Thats overwhelming. It
5G Infrastructure Division, analyzed in the cloud. We want to aid the use of was a very large site with a lot of people. We
the analytics that are coming from the edge worked with our customers and partners locally to
Network Platform Group, Intel coming from all the devices that are going to be collect and organize the data. They had certain
out there collecting all this information. criteria it was in July, so in terms of security
threats, they were looking to observe movements
With the evolution of wireless networks toward Its also important to note that not all data is of people wearing unseasonably warm clothing or
virtualization, edge computing and eventually 5G, equal. Intel is working on solutions that address big backpacks. Many times, local public safety folks
operators, enterprises and public entities now the question of how we pick the right data without will tell you what to look for look for certain car
have the analytics tools to harness huge amounts getting overwhelmed. You need to pick the data models, maybe. They have a target in mind.
of data. With insight from this data, they can that is useful for helping the enterprise make good
optimize how they deliver or use services, and decisions. In these sorts of scenarios, you really dont need to
they can enable IoT and other enterprise bring all the data back to the cloud. And this was
applications. The network needs to be not too hot nor too cold. the idea in the earliest versions of MEC if you
This is our way of saying that the network needs to remember, the M stands for multiple-access and
In this conversation, I talked with Caroline Chan be flexible and sliceable in order to manage all the weve been talking about this concept for a while.
about the network implications of analytics as we data thats expected to hit us all. Through the use of some analytics, you can take
move toward virtualized and distributed networks, the right frame of data and pass it back to the local
and how IoT will be a major growth driver in Monica: Flexibility is crucial in a network where authorities.
transforming wireless networks. Caroline is Vice multiple things happen at the same time. You
President and General Manager of the 5G need to be able to react to anything that may Intel has been involved in MEC from the beginning.
Infrastructure Division at Intel. happen. In the last five years, weve come a long way, and
now we are able to do a lot more analytics using
Monica Paolini: Analytics and, more generally, At the same time, when you talk to operators, more advanced MEC technology and edge-
network optimization must be of great relevance theyll tell you they feel overwhelmed because compute technology. Now its really to the point
to Intel, especially with the ongoing move to there is so much data. The data doesnt sit in a that, if you look at something like connected cars
virtualization and edge computing. Caroline, what neat box. And as an operator, you need to pay and autonomous driving, our role today is to see
is Intels perspective on this? attention to what the users see. Its very easy to around the corner, with no line of sight this is

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what you need to capture the right data at the
right time.

For instance, take a video from the frame-by-


frame camera feed that shows people in a car
what police or public safety actions are happening
two miles down the road. In this situation, the data
can explain to the people in the car why the self-
driving car is taking a different route than the one
they normally take to work.

For us, things like this can now become an integral


part of making something like autonomous driving
successful. And its something were showcasing in
our Autonomous Driving Garage on the Intel
campus in San Jose.

That was just one example, which can be extended Where do we collect the data? Where do we act In addition, many times, the data is very
to other scenarios, as well. MEC also has useful from an analytics point of view? meaningful locally whether it is in one node or in
applications in network management within our several adjacent nodes. Weve been talking with
wireless networks if you provide the right Caroline: We see this as a hybrid model. There are some of the machine learning innovators out there
platform and APIs and expose them to developers. reasons to do centralized analytics, because the about the enablement of this kind of data, and
cloud has a large amount of computer storage. they are experimenting with it.
People do come up with applications that are And, when its centralized, the cost does go down.
meaningful and useful to the management of data. When discussing distributed architecture, we think
Its not just data for horizontal markets. A lot of But distributed analytics architectures, like FOG its important to note that some of the data should
times, theres a vertical focus to data, for a specific computing and Multi-access Edge Computing, go to the cloud. Centralized learning technology
and targeted type of enterprise. have their place as well, because they help extract belongs in the cloud. But, there is a rightful place
all the value from data at the IoT endpoint device. for distributed analytics, as well to get a faster
Monica: Lets get to the vertical distinction there, Its also a way of taking the cloud-based learnings response and faster insights for things like road
because thats really a huge part of analytics and to the edge distributed from the data center. hazard situations with autonomous-driving cars.
a huge opportunity for optimizing the networks.
And lets look at the horizontal level, too the A distributed architecture allows you to spread the In a driving scenario, you need very low latency
centralized versus distributed. data analytics workload over multiple nodes, in all and instantaneous, localized, response. This can be
classes of servers, instead of asking one single done locally. But the big learnings are also needed,
The obvious goal is to optimize the network end to node to tackle a very big problem. Also, and they should be performed in the cloud. Again,
end, and provide the best quality of experience to remember, this type of algorithm runs across we see this as a hybrid model thats the path we
the end user. But where is the best place to act many of the nodes it forms a cluster of the data. are pursuing.
within the end-to-end network to ensure that?

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Monica: It really depends, at the application level, Last year, there was a trial that Nokia and Caroline: Actually, we need to prevent and predict.
on what youre trying to achieve, what network Deutsche Telekom did on the A9 highway, in Through some of the discussions weve had with
you have. Its nondeterministic. Again, it goes back Germany. This is one example showing that, in a companies working in various verticals, such as car
to the need for flexibility that you mentioned road hazard situation, the car is able through LTE or airplane manufacturers, weve learned that
earlier. and MEC to get all the information it needs to they prevent and predict a lot of the things that
avoid the situation. In this case there was a car could go wrong for them. They have all of this
Caroline: Exactly. Way back when we were breakdown, out of sight, and the information was information, such as engine data.
working on self-organizing networks (SON), sent to all the cars around it. This is just one
everything was going back to the network example. Today, all the information is collected. But they
operations center (NOC). The NOC made the havent necessarily been able to offload all the
decisions, and there was some latency involved. It And, of course, the 5G standard is going to tackle data efficiently or effectively. Theres always a cost
was OK, because it was a bunch of macro base the latency issue. This will also help address involved when you start moving all this data
stations. latency and timing. There are multiple ways to skin towards the cloud through the backhaul.
this cat, but at present, we see MEC as very critical
But now you have macro base stations, and you to solving this issue. Intel started tackling this problem in multiple ways.
have all of these small cells out there and Wi-Fi The first way was installing MEC. This aids in
APs. The interference issue is a lot more In fact, weve been calling the network a efforts like getting the data off the engine of an
distributed. Getting everything back to the cloud distributed data center. Think about it managing aircraft before the engine is used again MEC
to make a SON decision may not be as efficient as the provisioning and reconfiguration of the makes it possible to run local analytics with
if you use both a distributed SON and a centralized network in real time requires new tools. effective and consistent connectivity at the edge,
SON. We see the trend is really going both ways, Distributed centers are used across the network so so you get the information quickly.
and this is another good example of the hybrid you dont have to wait to make every decision
architecture model. until you get to the core. You can start pushing Weve learned from these enterprises that, by
some of the intelligence out to the edge the having enough data, many times they can make a
In addition, we are also taking on different minute the RF becomes IP. You can start making prediction. There are trends and issues they are
verticals factories, robotics, driving and so on. the right decision at the right place. Thats one way aware of that can now be addressed quickly.
The examples just go on and on. to reduce latency.
For example, how many times have you had the
Monica: You mentioned latency and timing. That Monica: Taking that a step further, we need not experience of sitting on a plane only to have the
brings up another crucial issue: real time. You can only to act in real time, but to act before real time pilot announce that theres a light on that wont
optimize networks based on historical data hits. Because, whenever there is an issue in the turn off? And Im going to call the mechanics to
periods of weeks, months and thats good. But it network, whenever you need to change come on. And its easily an hour later before
is not enough. We need to move to optimization in something in the network, it doesnt necessarily anything happens. Typically, if you can get the data
real time. How do we do that? What are the mean there is something going wrong. at the edge even to simply predict 15% or 20% of
enablers? the engine failures thats a huge savings.
If you are to optimize, you need to do it ahead of
Caroline: We have a couple of tools, FOG and time, before you get into the situation that creates Again, the data sits there. Many times, the datas
Multi-Access Edge Computing. Moving the the problem. We need to learn to predict. Can we there. The question is how to get the right data.
intelligence closer to the edge helps reduce the do that? Not all data are equal. Get the right data through
latency significantly.

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the analysis allowing the smart people within the You needed to make sure you accounted for that, At the end of the day, theres only a certain
enterprise to predict and prevent. which meant that 99% of the time, you amount of money that is available. You can control
underutilize your resources. What we did in the your costs and how you serve your needs.
Monica: Weve talked about timing and about past ties back to the need for a soft,
distributed analytics. Now lets look at the vertical commercialized, network so you can move Actually, when I was listening to keynotes by
part, in the orthogonal direction i.e., the resources to where you need them when you AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, everybody was going
different vertical markets that are opening up with need them to deal with these types of situations. back to the same principle: the network must be
IoT and IIoT. It used to be that it was just us, flexible, and the network must be sliceable it
subscribers with a phone, and that was easy. Now The other important thing (for addressing must use the right resources and use the right
you have many different devices, different complexity) is network slicing which can assign spectrum for the right application. We think its all
requirements out there. There is a larger scope for the right amount of resources, or the right type of very tied together the enablers and the design
optimization, but also more complexity. How can resources, to the type of application youll be principle.
we survive this complexity? running. When the application moves away, you
can then switch the resources around to handle Monica: Much of the IoT is going to be driven by
Caroline: I just came back from the 5G Americas something else. the enterprise. How is analytics benefiting the
and the Big Communications Event, BCE, enterprise? What types of applications? And what
conference. I was participating in three different The use of network slicing, SDN, NFV was the is the enterprise doing in this space?
panels on 5G economics and 5G use cases. All of it theme we repeated in all the panels. Youve got to
really comes down to the need for operators to move away from the fixed-function network to a Caroline: When we started thinking about
utilize their network more efficiently because they softer and more flexible network. analytics, we thought we had to sell the concept to
are, like you said, facing a variety of verticals and the operator and to the enterprise. It turns out
enterprises theyll serve. Monica: How do you see network slicing and MEC that when you go to the enterprise side, and you
working together within the analytics framework? really sit down and understand their problems,
The aim is to serve the enterprise. If they do that, most of them already wanted to do what they call
they will be able to monetize their network Caroline: We look at network slicing as the digital transformation.
investment much better. enabler. MEC is a principle and a philosophy.
Were saying that the networks edge, either for They know that the business model and the
Its complex, because every vertical has its own eNodeB or right next to eNodeB, needs to do more business practices have to be more automated
specific needs. You cant really build a network fit than just the processing of the call according to and consolidated. At the end of the day, you want
for all unless you overprovision it. 3GPP it needs to do that and more. It needs to to give them a flexible platform with the APIs that
have the intelligence and analytics. allow them to run the applications theyre already
That was what we did in the past. The industry running in different parts of the network.
used to do this thing called the tornado effect Thats a philosophy were putting into our
whatever algorithm we wrote or resource we reference designs, into our silicon roadmap. In Many times its in their enterprise cloud or in the
plotted, we always made sure the network would addition to that, network slicing really becomes an public cloud. You give them the connectivity they
be able to cope with that one day in a season or in enabler. Without network slicing, can you do need, because many of these applications are
a quarter that the traffic just goes through the analytics? Yes, you can, but you would do it at a either running on their Wi-Fi network or are not at
roof. much higher cost and not as efficiently. all connected.

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You show them a way to say, Heres a platform. Monica: AI has been around for decades. The hype enterprises, as well as Brazilian government
Its CIO approved. Its IT friendly. It runs on an on it is recent, though. At Mobile World Congress, officials. They were very interested, saying, Now
existing architecture, which means your existing it was a much bigger topic this year than it was in that we have this potential using very flexible
applications do not have to be rewritten. It just previous years. network connectivity and youre showcasing AR
runs on this platform. and VR, how does this transform my economy?
Caroline: I personally think there are multiple
We found they start changing the conversation factors. Obviously, faster speed and connectivity By the way, they were not talking about creating
from Why are we doing this? to How do I do help. The channel spectrum availability now jobs, per se. They were talking about things like
this cost effectively? What other problems can I extends beyond the typical 20 MHz. 20 MHz was agriculture. They were talking about ranching.
solve in addition? The conversation really enough for a network when the activities on it They asked: Can I get 5G to the cows, help with
changes. We found the enterprise starts driving were mostly browsing and downloading. But now, milk production, meat production and delivery?
the conversation, driving the proof of concept and online activities use so much more data. Thats
driving the time line. possible because of the wide variety of spectrum So you see, once you give people the tool, the
bands we have available now. conversation changes from elite groups of
Then the operator comes in and says, Well, heres intellectuals and the top tier echelon of enterprises
our IoT now. Its sometimes upgradeable to 5G in Another huge factor is SDN/NFV. Before, we had to everyone to the ranchers or farmers, right?
the 20182019 time frame. In most of the fixed-function networks designed for voice. We What does the government want? The
conversations, we dont even discuss waiting until had voice over LTE. This is very much tied to a government wants to uplift the economy.
5G is available. Were actually doing the work right human. Now, the network needs to also handle
now. There are some rollouts, there are some wide varieties of machine-type communication out Look at whats going on with China. They just
early trials happening, and there are some proofs there. announced the One Belt, One Road initiative.
of concept in the lab. What does that mean? Its a re-creation of the Silk
You have a network that, at least in the design Road through IoT and through connectivity, all the
Weve found that the enterprise very much buys principle, is so much friendlier to IT. The biggest way from China to Europe; it used to be done on a
into this. First of all, you need to remove that issue with SDN/NFV is that it looks like a server, it camel, and now its done through IoT and
preconception that this needs LTE, or this needs talks like a server, and it runs like a server. When connectivity.
5G. You need to show them that your enterprise you have AI, the users controls in the cloud can
application runs on this server platform with now probably get that much closer to the factory It goes without saying: if the network is not flexible
connectivity. Once you change to this dialog, the floor, into a publishing house, into a stock brokers enough and its unreasonably expensive, this sort
CIOs are much more willing and able to discuss this office. of capability will never happen. We will go back to
with you. the camel days.
It becomes much more industry friendly
Monica: Analytics recently has become a really hot healthcare friendly if it runs in a hospital, for Monica: Moving forward, final question for you.
topic. Everybody talks about analytics, big data, AI example. I think the conversation starts shifting Where is analytics headed to?
and machine learning. Why is it happening now, away from an elite group of people that run AI, to
do you think? Why not three years ago? AI that can be delivered to an ordinary Fortune Caroline: I think that analytics is going to head to a
500 or Fortune 5,000 enterprise. much more widespread distributed model.
Caroline: Actually, big data analytics and AI have Analytics will happen in the cloud, at the edge of
been around for a long time. Recently, I was in Rio de Janeiro attending 5G Latin the cloud and in the network. And, it will permeate
America and we were talking with all kinds of many different verticals.

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This is starting right now, although were still stuck
on some of the fundamentals in some of the
places where using analytics makes total sense
like healthcare and hospitals. We do see analytics
going more and more things like retail.

It is even going into farms and ranches. Before I


went to Rio, I had no idea that Brazil is such a
dominant beef-producing country. A lot of their
GDP is tied to it, and the conversation was around
Can you write analytics for the cow, for milk
production? A lot of this stuff really impacts
peoples income, and the GDP.

I think analytics will definitely help to drive


economies forward toward a much more
efficient economic model.

Monica: I like the plan to bring 5G to the cows.

Caroline: Yes, in 2018, bringing 5G to the cows.

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About Intel
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) expands the boundaries of technology to make the most amazing experiences possible. As the leader in the PC
industry, Intel is powering the majority of the worlds data centers, connecting hundreds of millions of mobile and Internet of Things
(IoT) devices, and helping to secure and protect enterprise and government IT systems. Our manufacturing advantagefueled by our
pursuit of Moores Lawlets us continuously push the limits of performance and functionality and expand what experiences can be
made possible. Intel has a growing portfolio of products and technologies that deliver solutions to help communication service
providers transform their networks, bringing advanced performance and intelligence from the core of the data center to the network
edge. Intels commitment to network transformation is long and deep with years invested in delivering reference architectures,
growing a strong ecosystem, and partnering with end-users. We are also deeply committed to 5G which represents the true
convergence of computing and communications. 5G is a fundamental shift for the industry where networks will transform to become
faster, smarter, and more efficient to realize the potential for the IoT and mobility, enabling richer experiences throughout daily life
augmented reality, smart cities, telemedicine, and more. Information about Intel and the work of its more than 100,000 employees
can be found at newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.

About Caroline Chan


Caroline Chan is Vice President and General Manager of 5G Infrastructure Division within Intels Network Platform Group (NPG). She
is responsible for leading a cross functional organization driving global network infrastructure strategy for 5G. Bringing Intel processor
into the wireless infrastructure, projects such as virtualized RAN, mini-cloud RAN, 5G network, heterogeneous network consisted of
small cells and Wi-Fi, and multi-access edge computing for IoT. In her role, she closely works with telecommunication vendors,
operators, and application developers. Caroline also represents Intel at industry forums. Her research interests include 5G and HetNet
performance. Prior to joining Intel, Caroline was Director of Product Management at Nortel Networks where she managed a portfolio
of 3G and 4G wireless infrastructure products. Caroline was born in Nanjing, China, received her BS EE from University of Texas at
Austin, and MS EE from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Outside of her family and work, Caroline is passionate about the
Texas Longhorn Football team.

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Glossary
3GPP Third Generation Partnership MTTD Mean time to discover
Project MTTR Mean time to repair
4G Fourth generation NB NodeB
5G Fifth generation NFV Network Functions Virtualization
AI Artificial intelligence NFVI NFV infrastructure
AP Access point NOC Network operations center
API Application programming interface OSI Open Systems Interconnection
AR Augmented reality OSS Operations support system
ARPU Average revenue per unit OTT Over the top
BCE Big Communications Event QoE Quality of experience
BI Business intelligence QoS Quality of service
CRM Customer relationship RAN Radio access network
management RF Radio frequency
DPI Deep packet inspection SBC Session border controller
FPGA Field-programmable gate array SDN Software-defined networking
GDP Gross domestic product SMS Short message service
GSM Global System for Mobile SOC Service operations center
Communications SON Self-organizing network
IIoT Industrial IoT SQL Structured Query Language
IM Instant messaging VoIP Voice over IP
IMS IP multimedia subsystem VoLTE Voice over LTE
IoT Internet of things VR Virtual reality
IP Internet Protocol
IT Information technology
KPI Key performance indicator
KQI Key quality indicator
LTE Long Term Evolution
MEC Multi-access Edge Computing
MM Millimeter [wave]

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References
[1] Empirix, Introducing Empirix customer analytics. [7] Paolini, Monica, Massively densified networks: Why we need them and
[2] Empirix, Understanding quality of experience for mobile data. how we can build them, Senza Fili, 2016.
[3] Intel, From data to action: The Intel guide to analytics, 2015. [8] Paolini, Monica, Power at the edge. Processing and storage move from
the central core to the network edge, Senza Fili, 2017.
[4] Joch, Alan, and Kasia Wandycz Moreno, Data and advanced analytics:
[9] Paolini, Monica, The smart RAN: Trends in the optimization of spectrum
High stakes, high rewards, Forbes Insights, 2017.
and network resource utilization, Senza Fili, 2015.
[5] Paolini, Monica, Charting the path to RAN virtualization: C-RAN, fronthaul
[10] Tauriainen, Anssi, Multi-dimensional analytics: Why real-time is critical,
and HetNets, Senza Fili, 2015.
EXFO, 2017.
[6] Paolini, Monica, Getting the best QoE: Trends in traffic management and
mobile core optimization, Senza Fili, 2016.
.

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Further resources
Latest reports in this series:

Learning to share. CBRS in the 3.5 GHz band changes how we use spectrum

Power at the edge. Processing and storage move from the central core to the network edge

Improving latency and capacity in transport for C-RAN and 5G. Trends in backhaul, fronthaul, xhaul and mmW

Massively densified networks. Why we need them and how we can build them

Voice comes to the fore, again. VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling redefine voice

Getting the best QoE: Trends in traffic management and mobile core optimization

The smart RAN. Trends in the optimization of spectrum and network resource utilization

Charting the path to RAN virtualization: C-RAN, fronthaul and HetNets

LTE unlicensed and Wi-Fi: moving beyond coexistence

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About RCR Wireless News
Since 1982, RCR Wireless News has been providing wireless and mobile industry news, insights, and analysis to
industry and enterprise professionals, decision makers, policy makers, analysts and investors. Our mission is to
connect, globally and locally, mobile technology professionals and companies online, in person, in print and now on
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industry publications.

About Senza Fili


Senza Fili provides advisory support on wireless data technologies and services. At Senza Fili we have in-depth
expertise in financial modelling, market forecasts and research, white paper preparation, business plan support, RFP
preparation and management, due diligence, and training. Our client base is international and spans the entire value
chain: clients include wireline, fixed wireless and mobile operators, enterprises and other vertical players, vendors,
system integrators, investors, regulators, and industry associations. We provide a bridge between technologies and
services, helping our clients assess established and emerging technologies, leverage these technologies to support
new or existing services, and build solid, profitable business models. Independent advice, a strong quantitative
orientation, and an international perspective are the hallmarks of our work. For additional information, visit
www.senzafiliconsulting.com or contact us at info@senzafiliconsulting.com or +1 425 657 4991.

About the author


Monica Paolini, PhD, is the founder and president of Senza Fili. She is an expert in wireless technologies and has
helped clients worldwide to understand new technologies and customer requirements, create and assess financial
TCO and ROI models, evaluate business plan opportunities, market their services and products, and estimate the
market size and revenue opportunity of new and established wireless technologies. She frequently gives
presentations at conferences, and writes reports, blog entries and articles on wireless technologies and services,
covering end-to-end mobile networks, the operator, enterprise and IoT markets. She has a PhD in cognitive science
from the University of California, San Diego (US), an MBA from the University of Oxford (UK), and a BA/MA in
philosophy from the University of Bologna (Italy). You can reach her at monica.paolini@senzafiliconsulting.com.

2017 Senza Fili Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved. The views and statements expressed in this document are those of Senza Fili Consulting LLC, and they should not be inferred to reflect the position of the
report sponsors, or other parties participating in the interviews. No selection of this material can be copied, photocopied, duplicated in any form or by any means, or redistributed without express written
permission from Senza Fili Consulting. While the report is based upon information that we consider accurate and reliable, Senza Fili Consulting makes no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the
information in this document. Senza Fili Consulting assumes no liability for any damage or loss arising from reliance on this information. Names of companies and products here mentioned may be the trademarks
of their respective owners. Cover photo by Senza Fili, Heceta Lighthouse, Oregon, USA.