Active Assurance: Making service operations ready to assure quality in the 5G and cloud era

In today’s digital economy, when an enterprise is looking to purchase connectivity, they will first think about the characteristics of their applications and then look for a provider that can offer the service level that is able to support their needs. Assuring network service quality for these applications is extremely important because of increasingly strict performance and reliability requirements for real-time and high bandwidth applications.

For example, suppose that an enterprise is building products in a factory with robotic solutions driving them over a 5G network from an application hosted in the cloud. They will likely require ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), since any performance degradations might cost them millions of dollars.

If they are selling connected cars, they need to partner with a service provider offering a 5G URLLC service type or network slice. Even when there is high density of traffic on a highway, the 5G network must enable absolute safety through the highest service quality, while still allowing connected cars to continually access critical applications as well as infotainment.

Evolving operations and assurance to meet new service quality requirements is crucial to leading in the cloud and 5G era. It is more important than ever before to be very accurate about measuring service quality. Monitoring now needs to be highly fine-grained and proactively measuring so that issues are caught as they emerge and before they impact customer services.

Traditional performance management tool intervals of 15 minutes are no longer going to cut it when every millisecond and even microsecond of latency may count severely. Monitoring data supplied by the various infrastructure within the network may find network device failures and faults, but often performance degradations are not caught. Independent analyst research and surveying of 200 US enterprises served by communication service providers found that more than 60% of network problems are not discovered by network operations, but rather were caught by end users or not at all. This corresponds to multi-million dollar losses in reduced employee productivity for enterprises and customer churn for service providers.

Something more is desperately needed for service operations to assure quality in the 5G and cloud era. Service operations and IT/OSS are set for change.

As operators transform into competitive digital service providers, software and automation are key enablers to increase customer satisfaction and streamline operations. Service operations needs to identify, understand, troubleshoot, and resolve issues before they impact your services and customer experience.

It is a herculean task when today’s tools do not provide service quality visibility end-to-end across the whole delivery chain, but rather offer siloed monitoring for various domains with blind spots because of internal and partner networks and clouds that are not within operation's scope of management. Even with fast and robust telemetry collection, data aggregation lakes and network analytics, there is still a major issue in that it is extremely difficult to feed in all the right data required from all the devices which application service traffic passes through.

However, what if we were able to move to a different frame of reference and move away from thinking device-centric? Many in the industry do not realize that there is a different approach that is service-centric and provides a solution which is cost effective and easy to deploy across multivendor networks and clouds. It’s called active assurance and works by measuring end-to-end service quality through actively sending a small amount of traffic on the data plane to simulate an end user.

With active assurance you can continuously measure one-way delay and jitter on the end-to-end customer service and within each of the network segments supporting a service. This allows you to pin-point potential issues in the service delivery.

Active assurance provides a straightforward approach that can provide immediate results whether you have an existing modern service assurance framework or not. Learn more about how you can use active assurance to achieve a proactive, service-centric operations model that puts your customers in focus. Read our Juniper Networks Paragon Active Assurance white paper on “Service assurance in the 5G and cloud era” to learn more.

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