With Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) architecture being adopted by telecom operators and equipment manufacturers worldwide and Optical cabling becoming increasingly crucial for today’s communication infrastructure, testing of equipment and networks for seamless network performance is pivotal. Niloy from BIS talks to industry veteran Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India. Monojit wipes the slate clean around many aspects, including the current scenario of networks, CSPs facing connectivity and bandwidth challenges, End-to-end (E2E) network testing and the need to test and monitor OFC networks. Delightful insights in these edited excerpts are below:
“We see demand related to broadband network installation, turn-up and maintenance, requiring stringent test methodology and validation.”
Q – Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) architecture is being adopted by telecom operators and equipment manufacturers worldwide? VIAVI’s instrumental role in this space?
A new level of collaboration is widely expected to drive greater adoption of O-RAN architecture; however, disaggregating radio access network (RAN) infrastructure creates complexities that must be addressed for Open RAN networks to succeed. Operators and integrators need to validate that the technology works together before it goes into the live network, which requires more than testing the interoperability of various vendor components. Operators also need to validate how the technology interacts with legacy equipment in the network, as well as how it responds to different user equipment environments. Another challenge that operators face is how to solve network issues after the network has been deployed. Unlike a traditional single-vendor network, it’s more difficult to identify product-related network performance issues in a multi-vendor environment. VIAVI works closely with equipment manufacturers and network operators to help ensure interoperability, service verification, manageability, optimization and end-to-end performance of networks based on Open RAN architecture.
Q – Network performance demands precision testing of equipment, what are the challenges faced by network technicians in testing next-generation network components?
Telecom service providers, network equipment manufacturers (NEMs), data centers, and large enterprises are facing huge demand for more capacity and new services, driven largely by the massive consumption of video, mobile broadband, and cloud services. Performance requirements are more exacting, and the need for proper testing procedures is more important than ever before. Emerging network architectures require precise timing to synchronize distributed equipment for high-quality network operation. This applies to mobile, cable and fiber networks. In all cases, the move to next-generation 5G, remote PHY and other distributed technologies means even more stringent synchronization targets, which must be met to prevent service degradation. VIAVI offers a range of solutions optimized for fiber characterization, multiprotocol service activation, troubleshooting and maintenance to address the critical requirements of next-generation network architecture.
Q – The need for Optical cabling for today’s communication infrastructure, defining precise Fiber monitoring systems in place?
New technology and network expansion continue to push the boundaries of fiber optic monitoring capabilities. Maintaining optimal fiber condition and performance requires advanced fiber monitoring practices to identify and react to problems quickly. A robust fiber optic monitoring system accurately finds fiber faults from the source all the way to the subscriber, leading to earlier detection and precise fault location in order to reduce reaction and repair times. An integrated fiber monitoring and management system is key to facilitating the detection of faults, fiber degradation and security intrusions, alerting the system administrator in real-time when threats to fiber optic network integrity are detected. Monitoring systems can also be used for demarcation and isolation of issues arising due to faults in network elements, and to proactively analyse depletion and other fiber optic performance metrics over time, enabling higher bandwidth and improved data integrity. As the leading test and measurement supplier for fiber networks, VIAVI offers a range of optimized solutions engineered specifically for all phases of the fiber network lifecycle.
Q – Need for the high-bandwidth broadband fixed lines across residential areas has increased given the current pandemic situation. On the other hand, 5G rollout is making headlines all across, in your view is India ready to enjoy the next network capabilities.
As service providers strive to deploy ultra-fast residential broadband, the pressure is on to deliver reliable speed and quality. We see demand related to broadband network installation, turn-up and maintenance, requiring stringent test methodology and validation. Not only that, but also rigor in operations and maintenance with network monitoring and optimization are becoming more prevalent.
India and most of the countries in South Asia are still 2-3 years away from 5G rollout. 5G technology will revolutionize connectivity throughout the world including India. The growth of 5G and the disaggregated RAN presents challenges with interoperability of various components and VIAVI is working with network operators throughout India to help them address these challenges.
Q – Key know-how for operators helping manage their network effectively?
As enterprise network technology continues to evolve, the need for businesses to effectively manage and optimize the performance of their networks is increasingly critical to business success. In these challenging times, communications service providers (CSPs) should follow test and measurement processes that speed and simplify deployment and activation, reducing time spent on customer premises and limiting return visits, as well as leveraging process automation and remote troubleshooting solutions to maintain service assurance while reducing time spent in the field. CSPs can leverage technologies such as virtual activation, fiber monitoring, test process automation and remote instrument access to help reduce or eliminate time on premises.
Supporting service providers and network equipment manufacturer customers, VIAVI is providing remote configuration and deployment support, as well as offering complimentary remote access through Smart Access Anywhere on supported instruments. Supported instrument families include VIAVI OTDR, OneExpert (CATV and DSL), and T-BERD®/MTS.
Q – The challenges and way out for E2E network testing for service providers?
End-to-end (E2E) network testing is critical for service providers. With E2E testing services providers can replicate real end-user scenarios to ensure that their network is able to withstand high demand. As 5G deployment gathers momentum, service providers must ensure that networks can concurrently support the number and variety of use cases technology will enable. They’re not just testing to deliver superior services for subscribers – they’re bound by service level agreements and key performance indicators (KPIs) which must be met in order to realize return on investment (ROI) on their network. E2E network testing requires service providers to check hardware and software components and how they work within the wider network infrastructure. It involves validating network performance as experienced by end users, across multiple cells and different radio access technologies, from RAN to core, including emerging cloud-based architectures. The diversity of E2E testing can reduce costs in finding and troubleshooting issues and helps operators deploy and monetize new products and services.
Q – Industry 4.0 and private 5G networks, trends shaping up beyond traditional consumers to enterprises and industries?
Excitement over the disruptive nature of 5G has spurred interest in private infrastructure. As 5G networks continue to roll out, the development of private networks over 5G—something that started in LTE—will create the infrastructure needed to expand the industrial IoT and machine-to-machine interaction, ushering in the next industrial revolution. These private networks generally will consist of a wireless local area network (LAN) that uses 5G technologies to deliver dedicated bandwidth, providing massive connectivity to support defined automation and IoT needs.
The release of unlicensed spectrum for industry verticals is a key driver behind the surge of private 5G networks, enabling deployment of private 5G networks without going through a mobile operator. This development is expected to give rise to a new class of business-to-business service providers, changing the competitive landscape for today’s network operators.