With more service providers using automated network tests to control centrallylocated distributed nodes for hyperscale data centers, vendors of test and assurance solutions increasingly look for ways to remove costly humans -- along with their propensity for errors, procrastination and paychecks -- from the equation.
Eliminating people from more testing processes also allows these professionals to advance into more interesting and business-critical roles. While testing is vital to a network's peak functioning, the process itself rarely is viewed as glamorous by individuals tasked with performing repetitive tests, patches and updates.
"CSPs will ultimately face one stark reality: Automate or die," wrote Heavy Reading analysts including Steven Bell, senior analyst of Internet of Things, and James Crawshaw, senior analyst for CSP IT and automation, in "Telecom Automation: Heavy Reading Perspectives," released in October 2017. "Rather than focus on virtualization and automation as solely a cost and efficiency strategy, operators need to understand that automated networks are an essential requirement to service the growing automation of industrial, enterprise, healthcare and government customers."
In part, this requires the entire network must operate as a "closed-loop control system," the report continued. Zero-touch networks require great sophistication, dependent in part on machine learning, Heavy Reading said.
Want to learn more about network automation? Register today for Light Reading’s Automation Everywhere on April 4 in Dallas. We will be tackling the business and technology challenges behind driving network automation. The event is free for communications service providers – don’t miss out!
This means the whole ecosystem of network infrastructure providers must deliver automated systems -- something that has not escaped the notice of test vendors that continue to develop offerings less and less reliant on human intervention.
At OFC earlier this week, for example, VIAVI Solutions demonstrated its MAP 2100 for hyperscale data centers typically used by service providers, cloud providers and others offering managed services. The rack-mounted bit error rate tester lets users remotely check the transmission quality of the links connecting data centers, central offices or head ends, according to VIAVI Solutions. Designed for centers with few if any personnel, the VIAVI MAP 2100 is controlled from a central location to test physical and virtual test points across a network, Guylain Barlow, senior product line manager at VIAVI Solutions, told Broadband World News.
"In general, service providers tend to be more prepared for testing because of their industry’s strong legacy of high reliability -- especially compared to companies born of the Internet," Barlow added. "Demand and customer bandwidth increments are both growing, so there is a greater need to test at 100Gbit/s as well as lower speeds. Platforms tailored to hyperscale data centers, such as the VIAVI MAP-2100, meet this requirement as well as the need of field technicians to test against other data centers or the central office. The MAP-2100 means they don’t need a human at the other end, which makes testing quick and easy with lower costs."
For its part, Telebyte -- which now focuses its new development efforts on physical layer testing for VDSL Profile 35B and Gfast devices -- offers a fully automated and integrated Gfast test solution, Victoria Twomey, director of sales and marketing, told BBWN.
The University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL) uses Telebyte's equipment for the Broadband Forum's Gfast certification testing. UNH-IOL also made the Gfast test automation software commercially available; it controls Telebyte's test and measurement equipment so vendors can pre-test in their own labs and service providers can regression-test vendors' updates. (See ADTRAN 10G-EPON Virtual R-OLTs Bridge Old & New Worlds.)
While Tier 1 carriers make up the vast majority of those deploying fiber to North American homes, other provider types are making their mark, RVA's study for Fiber Broadband Association finds.
Tier One ILECs primary providers for fiber deployment surge to North American homes, but
The FCC's unscientific measures under-represent the number of Americans without broadband, making it imperative for the public and private sectors to work together on bridging the digital divide, says Microsoft President Brand Smith.
Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!