Almost every organization needs a dedicated network infrastructure to support daily activities. Corporate entities spend heavily on deploying network infrastructure in today’s era. However, networks aren’t as simple as they were a few decades back. People are now relying on network technologies like 5G for better results. As innovations are being introduced, network providers find it hard to maintain the optimum level of service reliability. Network providers and organizations prefer zero-touch networks to fight modern-day challenges. Read on to know more about a zero-touch network and how to implement it.
Understanding the concept of a zero-touch network
A zero-touch network can be referred to as an autonomous network that reduced the need for human interference. If needed, a zero-touch network can even heal itself to maintain the service availability. A zero-touch network continuously collects data to monitor the network activity without human intervention. Some characteristics of a zero-touch network are as follows:
- A zero-touch network can detect the emerging issues beforehand. With early detection of network issues, one can fix them proactively.
- Autonomous learning and remediation are also features of a zero-touch network.
- A zero-touch network also has decision-making capabilities. As a result, it can take some autonomous decisions to boost service availability without human interference.
- A zero-touch network can perform several network optimization activities without any human interference.
- Based on predictive analytics models, a zero-touch network can identify anomalies and their underlying causes.
Any monitoring system has three main functions: to observe, engage, and act. If any network offers these functionalities, it can be referred to as a zero-touch network. CSPs (Communication Service Providers) can minimize the manual effort required in service management for zero-touch networks. As more and more people prefer digital transformation services and solutions, CSPs need zero-touch networks to ensure high service availability and reliability. An end-to-end network with monitoring and automation capabilities is necessary for CSPs. It will help telecom operators leverage their network’s full potential and serve the consumers.
Challenges with zero-touch networks in 2022
Zero-touch networks still have a long way to go. Many CSPs and organizations are still figuring out ways to implement a fully zero-touch network. Some CSPs and organizations also fail to deploy a zero-touch network and are still learning. The challenges in deploying a zero-touch network are as follows:
- With a zero-touch network, there is a need for software that automates the entire lifecycle. Most CSPs integrate a monitoring system with their zero-touch network. The monitoring system may detect anomalies and collect network data from all sources. However, the system may not form a closed loop for the detection and mitigation of anomalies in real-time. There is a need for real-time user monitoring tools in the telecom industry.
- Fault avalanche is another challenge for telcos in deploying zero-touch networks. Every microservice depends on services at a lower level. If something at the lower level fails, it might affect the service at the higher level. In such a case, a single fault may disrupt the entire zero-touch network. There can be a thousand issues within a zero-touch network. However, after monitoring IT teams realize that it was only a single issue affecting the entire network. It is why telcos need AI automated root cause analysis solutions to get to the bottleneck of network issues.
- The traditional network orchestration and monitoring tools cannot handle the entire network problem. Instead, they report steps that they cannot execute themselves. As a result, human overseers often must interfere and get a solution. There is a need for a fully automated monitoring system for increasing productivity and saving time. With an effective monitoring system, telcos can achieve hyper-automation for zero-touch network management.
As you can see, there are several challenges for telcos to build a complete zero-touch network. Often, they need manual interference as the traditional management systems aren’t effective. It is why telcos are leveraging the power of AI/ML technologies to build a complete zero-touch network. AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) is the first choice of telcos to build a zero-touch network. Let us see how an AIOps based analytics platform will help develop an effective zero-touch network.
How AIOps based analytics platforms facilitate zero-touch networks?
How an AIOps based analytics platform will help build a zero-touch network are as follows:
- Faster anomaly detection
As said above, a zero-touch network should heal itself at times to preserve service availability. A zero-touch network can prevent itself from downtime if it discovers network issues/errors proactively. AIOps uses predictive analytics models to monitor the entire network data in real-time. To date, many CSPs monitor network data in silos which leads them nowhere. An AIOps based analytics platform will offer a single view of the entire zero-touch network. An AIOps-based system will monitor the data based on behavioural changes, trends, and other parameters. If any change is observed in the normal data behaviour, it can be identified in real-time by telcos. With a holistic view of the network, telcos can build a zero-touch network in the true sense with AIOps. Not to forget, faster and more autonomous anomaly detection will reduce the need for manual labour.
- Root cause analysis for zero-touch networks
Manual correlation of events across the network isn’t helping telcos. Telcos are bound to rely on autonomous event correlation in real-time. An ideal zero-touch network should correlate events in real-time to identify the underlying cause of network issues. Correlation of events and glitches is more challenging for newer technologies like 5G. AIOps based analytics platforms can identify the root cause of glitches/events in the zero-touch network.
- Offer remedy for network issues
Once an anomaly and its root cause are detected, AIOps has the power to take automated steps to resolve it. AIOps-based systems decide the action course based on previous incidents/anomalies. Anomaly detection, root cause detection, and remediation can be performed in a closed loop with AIOps. The cost of managing zero-touch networks will also come down with AIOps. Adopt an AIOps strategy to build zero-touch networks now!