Amid the 5G ramp, vendors offer up new testing, service assurance platforms

5G is hitting the ground running this year, with nationwide deployments rolling out in various countries around the world.

In light of that momentum, and interest from service providers in building service assurance into their new networks as they are built, vendors are burnishing new offerings aimed at supporting the speedy, efficient deployment of 5G and making sure those capital-intensive new networks actually provide the service quality that customers are expecting. Multiple vendors are emphasizing the integration of machine learning into their service assurance offerings, while field testing solutions focus on simplicity and automation.

In the vein, Viavi Solutions today announced OneAdvisor ONA-800 to support what it’s calling the “aggressive” roll-outs happening this year.

“As 5G becomes more ubiquitous in 2020 onward, network operators are aggressively scaling
and commercializing this technology using large workforces of technicians or contractors to
install and activate tens of thousands of cell sites,” Viavi said in a statement. ONA-800 includes support for fiber testing, radio frequency testing and Ethernet/Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) testing form a single instrument, with the ability to guide technicians through a pre-configured common test process so that “everyone completes the job in the same way and to the same specifications” and that automated job certification reports are sent to close out jobs.

“5G represents a quantum leap in network complexity, from the frequency bands used, to
diversity of the x-haul technologies, to the possibility of multiple radio vendors,” said Kevin
Oliver, VP and GM for converged instruments and virtual test at Viavi Solutions. He went on to say that the company “designed OneAdvisor so a technician of any skill level can efficiently execute tests to certify and close out cell site deployment, expediting time to revenue for contractors and service providers, and optimizing subscriber satisfaction.”

Viavi is showcasing the new test tool at a “Viavi Xperience Day in Mexico City on Thursday, as well as at the upcoming National Association of Tower Erectors conference.

Meanwhile, network planning, assurance and analytics company Teoco today released the latest version of its service assurance platform, Helix 11. Teoco, says it works with more than 300 service providers globally, said that Helix 11 represents a major product expansion to enable 5G service assurance: it offers containerized remote collection agents, and full network function virtualization support, as well as “real-time monitoring of network slices sand support for autonomous closed-loop self-healing of underperforming services and parts of the network while using machine learning analytics to identify these automatically through real-time analysis of the relevant network data.”

Teoco said that in the new release, Helix’s ML-powered Root Cause Analysis (RCA) models can be tuned by adding user feedback, and that its Sentinel data visualization tool has been tweaked with streamlined performance monitoring and improved ML-based predictions of network behavior changes.

“Service assurance no longer means simply ensuring connectivity to the network user. Availability alone is no longer enough, and 5G means that specific network slices and service levels have to be met,” said Shachar Ebel, CTO of Teoco. “The evolution of Helix reflects this new reality where service assurance needs to do so much more—integrating directly with the network, utilizing machine learning to understand its performance and availability, predicting faults and degradations and automating their resolution, all designed for infrastructure that can cope with the data sets and enormous amounts of data and complexity that 5G networks create.”

The launches from Viavi and Teoco join that of EXFO, which last week announced what EXFO CEO Phillippe Morin called “a new breed of service assurance” aimed at addressing challenges in 5G and current 4G networks.

EXFO says its Nova Adaptive Service Assurance, or Nova A|SA, is the first intelligent automation platform enabling mobile network operators to deliver high-quality service experiences in a 5G world by integrating information from relevant network layers, domains, and data sources—both from EXFO’s own solution portfolio and from third parties.

Morin added that while Nova can handle 5G, “it’s really not just targeted for 5G, because we think there are already challenges in terms of better visibility in today’s networks.”

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