Faced with the numerous complexities of today’s networks, carriers constantly strive to provide service solutions that satisfy increasingly demanding subscribers while minimizing financial risk and improving the return on investment (ROI). During network evolution, carriers must pay special attention to the following three aspects.
Many current networks involve multiple vendors, and this is unlikely to change in the years ahead. Telcos also have to consider problems such as surveillance system migration and operational support system (OSS) integration when new equipment is added,creating a need for smooth network O&M solutions where evolutionary processes & risks can be controlled, with time-to-market (TTM) shortened.
More and more carriers are participating in the early solution discussion & verification process so that project quality and first time success are ensured. Remote connection to the vendor’s laboratory & platform for verification, discussion, and simulation is a must.
Carriers need their verification tools & platforms to actually accommodate their requirements. They also need accuracy from their algorithms and network service simulations so that network problems are nipped in the bud.
Along with solution maturity, rich experiences, strong support teams, and automated tools, successful network evolution re l i e s on a professional testing environment that simulates networks accurately, verifies integration solutions, manages the evolutionary process, and guarantees user experience. Such reliability can mitigate the risks inherent to network evolution, and improve its efficiency to boot.
As such, Huawei has established its Global Network Evolution and Experience Center (GNEEC) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art facility covers an area of 1,500 square meters and is equipped with an array of multi-generation E2E network systems with more than 200 sets of equipment supplied by eight mainstream vendors who specialize in all domains of network infrastructure. Multi-vendor interoperability tests can be performed for over 30 kinds of network evolution plans, while independent testing and professional services areas can be configured to ensure simulation & support for all the major network evolutionary paths in use today. This center also interconnects with other Huawei lab resources to form a GNEEC cloud platform.
Huawei can provide an operator-specific network e volutionar y plan t h rough our consultation and system integration services, based on customers’ strategic business plans & requirements. The GNEEC can simulate both current and target networks, and carry out network traffic simulations, enabling accurate planning of each phase of the evolutionary process, as well as the analysis of subscriber behaviors, traffic volume, and services carried over the network during implementation. This information is further enhanced through in-depth ROI analysis to ensure accurate network construction simulations for, perhaps, traditional models or on-demand integration models. Armed with these measurable & predictable insights, Huawei can guide operator selection of the best possible evolutionary plan, based on current conditions.
At the GNEEC, carriers can participate in the verification process, determine the testing scope, and even build test beds together with Huawei, either remotely or on site. Data can also be shared securely by different customers through rights- and domain-based management with access control listing (ACL). The center can also readily verify proposed solutions for more than 30 evolution plans through a proof of concept (POC) capability – a single node confirmation process that ensures system compatibility from an E2E perspective and can validate the accuracy of integration plans while mitigating the risks of service-impacting issues during later implementation. Testing models include:
POC testing – Verifies the feasibility of important technical features in the design plan to ensure that the architecture and main functions are achievable.
Single-node system testing – Primarily a series of tests on function, performance, stability, and operations, administration & maintenance (OAM) to determine equipment limitations and performance under abnormal circumstances.
Compatibility testing – Protocol-level interoperability problem (IOP) testing and interface-level IOP testing for equipment from multiple vendors to ensure smooth interoperability and prevent network interruption.
E2E testing – A series of tests on E2E function, performance, reliability, scalability, stability, OAM, and exceptions, which finds undetected issues with the IOP and verifies service operations.
Each operator’s challenges are unique, and so must be each network’s evolutionary process. Huawei’s GNEEC is capable of developing a highly-customized migration strategy that includes detailed handover steps for each phase of the plan.
To determine the advantages & drawbacks for the various migration strategies for an operator’s IP bearer network, the GNEEC first simulates the current network and then compares the individual migration strategy with the post-construction migration model. Based on the results, the center identifies five potential handover scenarios, each of which is individually simulated in the GNEEC facility to determine the best possible implementation option. An added benefit is that this process can also accurately provide a
recommended inventory of tools & applications for field activity support. This exercise has been proven to increase migration efficiency and reduce TTM for services by at least 30 to 50%.
Moreover, the GNEEC can launch a GNEEC Portal, where customers can log-in to learn more about solutions and monitor project progress. They can ask questions online to which GNEEC engineers will respond promptly, making for greater project transparency and more effective management.
Huawei’s GNEEC can accurately simulate and address both fixed & mobile network service migrations. Its network evolution simulation uses a Huawei analysis platform to monitor the real-time service quality changes across the various network domains during each phase of implementation. By analyzing these changes along different network domains, the center can determine the critical points of change for each phase of implementation to ensure that maximal service coverage is provided with user experience improved during actual network evolution implementation. Furthermore, the GNEEC will also develop a highly-optimized fault location process, baseline database, and management platform for quick & easy troubleshooting while user experience assurance.
One year post-launch, Huawei’s GNEEC has had over 100 customer visits, with over 40 projects tested & verified. For example, GNEEC helped China Telecom Shanghai complete the IPv6 reconstruction of its MAN, IDC bearer network, user authentication/authorization/accounting systems, domain name system (DNS), network monitoring system (NMS), and source tracing system in a certain target area, after dozens of cutovers. Thanks to integration verification, six major potential risks were prevented, accelerating the progress for the entire project.