As service providers' networks become more automated and more intelligent, so too are the tools they use to analyze, test and optimize their infrastructure.
With software-based tools, service providers can reduce the costs and time associated with maintenance and performance, greatly improving adherence to service level agreements (SLAs) -- a critical component of operators' growing business with enterprises. (See Techs Need New Tools for Next-Gen Networks)
"Let's step back and remind ourselves what we're actually trying to solve with this architectural shift," said Rob Howald, vice president of Network Architecture at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), during ADTRAN Connect earlier this year. "[We're] trying to move to a model where if I have fibers and connectivity into your building … I want to make it to where you don't even have to call me."
Part of that goal involves preventing network problems before they happen. Looking to address these needs, Viavi Solutions Inc. is developing a real-time intelligent platform designed to cost-effectively meet these increasingly sophisticated needs for fiber, cable, cloud, mobile and enterprise networks.
Consisting of four components, NITRO (Network Integrated Test, Real-time analytics and Optimization technology platform), provides a complete picture of the network cycle by connecting network instruments' real-time testing and activation data with software-based planning, provisioning, assurance and optimization probes and applications, according to Viavi.
Today, Viavi is launching NITRO vNet Fusion, the first of the four solution sets. Fusion is a virtual Ethernet lifecycle management solution for test, service activation, performance monitoring and troubleshooting across all of a provider's network layers, the vendor says. Tools within Fusion aim to deliver repeatable test methodologies that monitor and ensure network performance and allow providers to verify SLAs in both legacy and mixed legacy networks.
Fusion uses intelligence the platform gathers throughout the network to act appropriately across physical, virtualized and hybrid networks, said Paul McNab, Viavi's chief marketing and strategy officer.
The integration of software with automation and analytics supports operators' ongoing initiatives to improve customer service and experience while simultaneously reducing expensive truck rolls and multiple site visits for support. As networks support more and more devices, it's increasingly difficult and costly for technicians to diagnose and fix problems at customers' sites, said Sue Rudd, director of Service Provider Analysis at Strategy Analytics, in a statement.
"Tomorrow's networks promise to deliver a multi-billion dollar market over the upcoming decade, but before this promise can be realized, service providers need to resolve a number of significant issues that cannot be addressed at scale today," she said. "Next-generation technologies -- IoT services, fixed mobile convergence, hybrid cloud, network slicing, 4K video and 5G -- all create specific challenges that require new approaches to network management, including greater automation, virtualization and real-time analytics."
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.