Service Assurance Solutions from VIAVI
Service Assurance is the application of policies, processes, and solutions through which an operator can monitor their network, the services running over the network, and their customers’ Quality of Service. The network is your most powerful data and analytics engine with a mass of data that can be turned into real intelligence and insight. Using smart technologies and machine learning, the VIAVI service assurance and analytics solution, NITRO Mobile, leverages unified RAN and Core data, providing an unparalleled 360o view of the customer experience across all mobile technologies.
Service Assurance: Educational F.A.Q.
What is Service Assurance?
Service assurance is defined as the application of policies, processes, and solutions through which a mobile operator ensures all network services meet predefined levels of performance and quality of experience (QoE). This includes ongoing visibility into network faults and service degradations that allows operators to respond proactively to potential issues.
At the dawn of the telecommunications era, the service assurance meaning was a simple case of basic voice services meeting "carrier-grade" performance standards. Since that time, text and data services have gradually increased the volume, velocity, and variety of mobile services, along with their associated complexity.
5G is creating a new paradigm for service assurance, as a cloud-based Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) model and thousands of diverse service use cases expand the challenges of RAN to Core visibility in unprecedented ways. Network slicing, higher bandwidth, and the millimeter wave will continue to raise the bar with 5G Standalone mode.
The singular voice use case has now been replaced by a virtually limitless combination of services originating from slices of the cloud. To maintain the visibility necessary to optimize service levels and monetization opportunities, a flexible, unbiased, third-party verification approach to network service assurance is essential.
What Should I Look For When Investing in a Service Assurance Solution?
As operators transition from LTE to 5G Non-Standalone mode, Network-as-a-Service models, and eventually full Standalone 5G deployment, virtual network elements will acquire the intelligence necessary to monitor, analyze, and diagnose their own performance. This benefit is counterbalanced by an inherent bias that can only be eased through independent, third-party verification. Advanced service assurance architecture should also be adaptable to the value and complexity of each use case. Services are no longer “one-size-fits-all”. Service assurance solutions must adopt this same level of flexibility and innovation to remain cost effective and competitive for cloud-enabled networks.
An experimental, short term, or low volume service does not merit the same assurance resources as a secure, high-throughput application with extensive user volume. The fundamental architecture of the VIAVI NITRO Mobile platform was conceived from the ground up to enable a unified RAN and Core model that intelligently applies assurance resources based on the value extracted.
Rapid application development fits within CI/CD processes for quick turn-around in the form of unbiased, valuable insight. NITRO Mobile innovation enables operators to reap the ample benefits of the Network-as-a-Service model, right now.
Is Service Assurance Only in Telecom?
The concept of service assurance is not unique to the mobile communication industry. Any type of business seeking to monitor performance, optimize customer experience, and grow revenue is likely to utilize some form of service assurance. What sets service assurance in telecom apart is the rapid pace of technical innovation coupled with a continuous deployment of new offerings. Service assurance provides a foundation for telecom operators to deliver next generation network services quickly, launch new business objectives, and support emerging technologies.
What Kind of Service Assurance Tools are on the Market?
Service assurance tools in telecom have evolved into advanced systems and solutions converting endless streams of big data into valuable insights. A typical mobile device user wielding an array of applications while streaming 4K quality sports over 5G represents just one of millions of data sources for mobile operators aspiring to flawless, reliable service.
The location, technology, apps, devices, network function performance, and radio conditions of each user form part of a larger puzzle that requires superior service assurance, analytics, and diagnostics to convert into seamless, reliable performance. No instrument or tool can perform this monumental task alone. Only a unified RAN and Core service assurance and big data analytics system can ensure operators deliver on the full promise of 5G.
- 5G Assurance
VIAVI provides industry-leading solutions for 5G Assurance with unprecedented real-time access to network performance and customer experience. The NITRO Mobile platform combines RAN, Core and Convergence applications into an integrated portfolio with always on visibility into service quality, app-aware 5G GEO Location intelligence, and 3D beam visualization. When deployed in tandem with an OSS, NITRO Mobile utilizes advanced, patented analytics to process and evaluate countless customer-generated trace data events each day.
- Virtualized Assurance
Network functions delivered by cloud-native software and decoupled from hardware restraints have quickly moved from the drawing board to the mainstream. The breakthroughs that are enabling new 5G applications require the highest caliber of NFV service assurance automation and analytics to support network and business priorities simultaneously. VIAVI Virtualized Assurance & Analytics solutions employ “virtualized visibility” principles to harness the power of user-generated data and address the assurance challenges of distributed architecture and cloud-based services.
What are the Benefits of Service Assurance for Operators and Providers?
The benefits of service assurance cut across a wide array of network, performance, and business categories. The development of advanced service assurance platforms with intrinsic analytic and diagnostic intelligence means business and network objectives are no longer mutually exclusive. As 5G revolutionizes the industry, operators are reshaping their businesses from the ground up. Service assurance is at the heart of this transformation.
Visibility is a central tenet of network service assurance, particularly for cloud-enabled virtual networks. Understanding what the customer sees at the micro level, and how they interpret it, are the keys to degradation awareness and minimized mean-time-to-repair (MTTR). Enhanced visibility also allows providers to strategize new offerings, optimize infrastructure outlay, and protect existing business.
- Customer Experience
The voice of the customer should always speak the loudest. Call centers, websites, and surveys are only trailing indicators of dissatisfied customers. Service assurance is a proactive solution for establishing and maintaining outstanding QoE. Data and feedback processed in real-time keeps the customer experience in sharp focus.
- Speed of Innovation
New network innovations like 5G and the IoT cannot be launched in a vacuum. Leading operators are redefining their organizations based on the diversity of 5G use cases and "currencies". As services like the IoT, wearable med-tech, and driverless cars drive new revenue streams, service assurance underpins the operator’s responsibility for safe, reliable, and secure application performance.
Service assurance drives improved bottom line performance in many ways. Increased awareness and diagnostics reduce troubleshooting time and resources. Consistent performance and user satisfaction establish the reputation needed to bring on new customers and opportunities. Providers are combining their portfolios and racing to 5G Standalone mode to gain a competitive edge. Service assurance safeguards performance in the face of this aggressive growth and transition.
How Will Service Assurance Evolve in the Future?
The pivotal role of service assurance in telecom makes it clear that the future is now. 5G and cloud-enabled networks are allowing mobile operators to offer highly granular services that span all verticals and the consumer market. Smart factories, self-driving vehicles, and broadband offerings tailored on demand are just a few of the advanced services changing the way we live, work, and communicate. Service assurance solutions adaptable to this highly dynamic and diverse new reality are ensuring its success.
Just as the arrival of 5G once seemed a distant ambition, new trends and innovations continue to emerge and reshape the service assurance paradigm. Open RAN (O-RAN) continues to gain momentum for the interoperability and standardization of RAN elements, including open source software components from different vendors. Artificial intelligence, still in its infancy, will continue to influence service assurance technology, improving response times through increased automation. Even as the industry rises to the challenges of 5G assurance, work on 6G has already begun, with the requisite quantum leap in complexity and possibility.
To navigate this intricate, changing environment, operators need innovative solutions, such as NITRO Mobile, to assure the differentiated services mobile customers expect are delivered without fail. With over 30 years of service assurance experience, partnering with operators to manage technology turns and maximize subscriber experience, VIAVI provides the industry-leading service assurance, analytics, diagnostic, and location intelligence capabilities that optimize network and business outcomes, now and into the future.