Nokia recently announced it is the first vendor to offer extreme automation of 4G and 5G network slicing across all network domains, including RAN, transport and core. The company introduces new network management, controller and orchestration capabilities to its solution, enabling mobile operators for the first time to rapidly deliver and assure network slicing services within minutes instead of hours or days.
Nokia’s new automation capabilities, which comply with the 3GPP and IETF slicing specifications, are an extension of its 4G/5G end-to-end network slicing solution announced in February1 and the slice orchestrator announced in June. First deliveries are planned by the end of 2020.
Slice automation enables operators to streamline operations, thereby reducing operational costs and meeting expectations for service velocity. Delivering slicing services quickly and efficiently requires operators to automate the life cycle management of slices in real time across different network domains. Automating the network slice creation and update becomes a key success factor for operators as the number of services, customers and slices continue to surge.
Nokia’s new slicing management solution consists of radio, transport and core domain controllers and assurance tools. Controllers support real-time slice operations and automation for the creation, modification and deletion of a large number of slices in their respective, multivendor domain.
Operators can create different customer policies and group profiles for slices with different network performance, quality, routing and security capabilities. This enables them to provide new slicing services for small, medium or large enterprises, private wireless, Internet of Things, fixed wireless access, content and applications.
Janne Koistinen, 5G Program Director, Telia Finland, said, “Telia is a global forerunner in 4G/5G network slicing, working for end-to-end network slicing since 2019 with Nokia. Our customers require flexible, reliable and secure slicing services, available when and where needed. End-to-end network automation and assurance are critical for us to enable best performing slicing services with efficiency and high quality.”
Sasa Nijemcevic, Head of Network Automation for Nokia’s IP/Optical Networks business, said, “Nokia is the first vendor to provide slicing in LTE and 5G networks in a multivendor network environment. By adding extreme automation capabilities, we are offering operators a single, modular solution that helps them deliver a new wealth of services at unprecedented speeds.”
Nokia’s network domain controllers and assurance tools simplify operations by abstracting the complexity of network functions for the services layer:
- The service orchestration sends declarative instructions to the domain controllers through open APIs.
- Each domain controller then determines how the network slices will be implemented and operated within its domain to support the end-to-end SLAs.
- Each domain embeds assurance capabilities to automatically collect, monitor, analyse and report Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) data per slice and apply closed-loop optimisation to ensure continuous SLA adherence.
This enables operations teams to work together more efficiently in providing end-to-end slicing services, while enabling them to also focus on each teams’ core expertise.
The new capabilities consist of software packages for Nokia’s existing NetAct and SON/Self-Organising Networks (radio) and Network Services Platform/NSP (transport and core) operations and assurance products. These capabilities work in conjunction with Nokia’s Digital Operations Center service orchestration software to complete the round-trip process to design, deploy, optimise and assure slice-based services.