Intelligent RAN automation will turn your world upside down

If you are the Technical Director (CTO) of a Communication Service Provider (CSP), you think about automation a lot! Even when you aren’t consciously thinking about it, it’s still in the back of your mind. Automation is the fundamental driver of transformational change. It can increase spectral efficiency by up to 15%, improve power efficiency by up to 17%, and reduce network incidents by up to 95%. Automation is at the heart of some of the most innovative and disruptive technologies like Cloud RAN, breaking down your radio network.

Automation, automation, automation

But why this focus on automation, automation, automation? Because there are three ways RAN automation impacts your business.

Automation to improve network performance – The ability to automatically improve the performance of your radio access network is essential. Using automation technologies, such as Self-Optimizing Centralized Network (C-SON) to take full advantage of your spectrum assets; or network design and optimization (NDO) to automate planning and deployment, results in a high performing network. Using automation technologies such as closed-loop service assurance to identify, analyze, and correct network faults automatically improves network resiliency and availability.

Automation to improve customer experience – Network performance and customer experience are closely linked. More and more customers expect their experience to be tied to the type of services they use. Services like voice, video streaming, and lone worker monitoring have very different requirements for latency, bandwidth, and resiliency. Automatically delivering the right service or intent-based end-to-end network slices improves the customer experience.

Automation to reduce operational expenses – telecommunications networks are expensive to operate. Many operational tasks today are manual intensive, boring and repetitive. Boring and repetitive tasks are often prone to human error and error. The automation of operations has two major impacts. First, automation lowers the cost of activities allowing operational teams to do more, faster, and more precisely. Second, automation removes the “boring stuff” – repetitive manual operational tasks that people don’t like to do; allowing employees to focus on the “most important and interesting stuff” related to managing a complex telecommunications network.

These things are all about automation.

It’s time to prepare

You may ask, “Why is automation so important now?” We have been operating networks for years without automation, what is driving this concentration today? “

The reality is that communications networks today have reached a tipping point beyond which networks become unmanageable without automation or, to be more precise, cannot be managed profitably without automation. While the advent of 5G marks the beginning of the tipping point, 5G is really just one more technology stack that must coexist with existing 2G, 3G, 4G / LTE technology stacks, making the unmanageable operational workload. Many CSPs attempt to reduce complexity by generally removing 3G from the network, while retaining their 2G networks for coverage and meeting emergency service commitments. The irony is that 5G is designed for large-scale automation.


Figure 1. It’s time to prepare…. networks become operationally unmanageable

The other factor to consider is that 5G is just the most visible of the new transformational technologies that contribute to increased complexity and the need for increased automation. These include, but are not limited to, NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and cloud native functions, end-to-end network slicing, Cloud RAN, and new business services.

Ericsson internal research estimates that the “cost of doing nothing” will increase network operating costs by 100-130%. For most PSCs, this level of increase is not sustainable.

Conversely, the widespread adoption of automation technologies can lead to massive reductions in operational expenses driven by aspirations to achieve contactless network operations.

Why is smart automation the key?

We’ve established that automation is crucial to our current and future networks, but it shouldn’t be done just for the sake of it. Intelligent automation is much more important.

Intelligent automation is the widespread and growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to solve complex network operating problems. However, the broader implication of intelligent automation is being able to use the appropriate automation technology for the problem at hand.

For boring and mundane tasks, implementing software scripts can automate simple tasks, such as activating new subscribers and services faster and without error. Intelligent automation can also include outsourcing a task to a managed service provider that specializes in network operations, benefits from economies of scale, and has the tools and scripts to replicate non-essential tasks. more cost effectively.

Within 5G networks, some of the tasks will be too complex for humans to solve without significant AI / ML support, such as orchestrating all the conflicting demands of different services within a spectrum allocation. finished to always deliver optimal results.

Intelligent automation is about matching the right technology or service to the task.

What is the particularity of the RAN?

Why is Ericsson’s automation so focused on the Radio Access Network (RAN)? In all fairness, Ericsson offers automation solutions for all aspects of the service provider’s business: RAN, core, transport, OSS and billing, but among these, RAN is “special”.

Quite simply, RAN is the biggest area of ​​investment, by any mobile communication service provider. The GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association) said 4G / LTE networks account for 45-50% of total cost of ownership (TCO), reaching 65% in 5G networks. In the same report, they also estimated a reduction of at least 25% in the total cost of ownership through the widespread adoption of AI / ML automation.

In particular, 5G RAN is much more likely to benefit from large-scale automation: due to its wide range of spectrum bands, the huge increase in network assets, and dense indoor and outdoor base stations at small cells supplementing the traditional external macro-cells.


Ericsson examples of the impact of intelligent RAN automation from existing solutions

Figure 2. Ericsson examples of impact of intelligent RAN automation from existing solutions

Our intelligent RAN automation solutions have clearly established benefits and ROI profiles.

In some ways, RAN automation is the most accessible automation-based transformation program. With impacts such as 15% increased spectral efficiency and 95% fewer incidents, RAN automation can deliver huge reductions in total cost of ownership. This is why RAN is so special.

So what exactly is Ericsson Intelligent RAN Automation?

Intelligent RAN Automation is a series of technologies, solutions and services that use intelligent machine learning to automate repetitive tasks and reduce the complexity of the radio access network.

Intelligent RAN Automation improves network performance, improves customer experience and lowers operating costs. Smart RAN automation isn’t just one thing. It is a portfolio of products, solutions, tools and services designed to drive automation in all aspects of CSP networks, but in particular the Radio Access Network (RAN).

Want to find out how we can turn your world upside down?

Intelligent RAN automation is a key area for Ericsson because it is a key area for you, our customers. We believe the need for automation is a key driver of almost all industry transformations. Even when you don’t think about automation, you still think about automation.

To learn more about our smart RAN automation capabilities, visit our smart RAN automation page or contact your account manager.

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