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Swisscom opts for Ericsson, Orange rethinks network performance measures

April abounded with AI and automation announcements. Contributing Editor Annie Turner takes a whistlestop tour

Orange has collaborated with the Canadian start-up LatenceTech to develop a software probe that measures the quality of connectivity in any location, from any kind of terminal.

The tool they developed measures network throughput, latency and reliability in real time. “This real-time software solution based on multiple protocols, including Two Wire Active Measurement Protocol (TWAMP), is simple to install and use,” according to LatenceTech’s Co-founder and CEO, Benoit Gendron who formerly was an Ericsson exec.  

He continues, “It is an automated container-based solution that runs autonomously on any type of terminal, including mobiles, modems, robots and cars. It is also scalable and can be deployed in multiple locations on the same network”.

The intention is to rethink performance metrics, stressing the quality of network experience instead of depending on the usual quantitative data metrics. The approach the reduces the amount of data needed for tests from 100-150MB to a 5-10MB.

Orange aims to cut NOC alarms

Orange has added the Augtera Network AI platform to its network operations centre (NOC) tools, to bring AI and machine learning to its everyday network operations. The aim is to reduce the number of NOC alarms by 70% using Augtera’s auto-correlation which is based on its knowledge of network topology.

In addition, Augtera’s Anomaly Detection predicts incidents so they can be fixed before they affect customers.

The integration into the Orange Global Network started in April and should be complete by the end of this year. It follows a two-year trial of the Augtera tech in a several Orange networks including the French backbone, the Orange Global Network and SD-WAN Network.

The trial involved thousands of backbone and providers’edge routers, and thousands of pieces of customer-premises equipment for SD-WAN. It evaluated Augtera Network AI technical capabilities along with quantifying the business value of AI and machine learning in multiple use cases.

Augtera is directly integrated with Orange International Networks in Orange Private Cloud to capture network topology and various network related data.

Swisscom picks Ericsson for more automation

Gerd Niehage, CTIO at Swisscom

Swisscom turned to its long-term partner Ericsson to increase its levels of network automation. In 2023, the operator began a trial of the Ericsson 5G Core applications running on AWS in 2023 to investigate hybrid cloud to augment its private cloud, using AWS to help with high volumes of traffic during maintenance, for instance.

The two said at the time they would explore migrating Swisscom’s 5G Non-standalone Network to 5G Standalone using AWS’ platform. Now Swisscom is to introduction of Ericsson Intelligent Automation Platform (EIAP) to provide multi-technology network management and automation, leveraging Ericsson’s expanding portfolio of rApps.

Gerd Niehage, CTIO at Swisscom, explained, “We’ve been working closely with Ericsson for over 10 years with a great amount of trust and success. We are now taking the next step in this long-standing strategic partnership as we endeavour to turn Switzerland’s best network into its smartest one.”

Nokia backs network APIs, automation

Despite the tough market, Nokia’s CEO, Pekka Lundmark, was upbeat when he reported the firm’s first quarter earnings in mid-April. The mobile division suffered its first quarterly loss since he took the helm in August 2020 due to a 39% drop in mobile sales compared to the year before, in large part due to missing out on a contract worth up to $14 billion with AT&T in December.

It’s worth noting that Ericsson, whose equipment will replace Nokia’s in AT&T’s mobile network, saw its mobile revenues fall 19% in its equivalent quarterly earnings.

Still, Lundmark is bullish about making its stated numbers for the year, expecting things to pick up in the second half for the [fixed] network infrastructure unit, propelled by automation and APIs. He pointed out that, “To fully benefit from the emerging network APIs, CSPs need their operations to be fully automated because the API paradigm assumes an application interacts directly with the network in real time.”

He stressed that Nokia already supports zero-touch operations across all network domains, including autonomous operations across multi-vendor infrastructure, adding, “We have customers who are purchasing our autonomous operations specifically to accelerate their API exposure strategy.

“Our holistic solution is what also enables network programmability and the ability for CSPs to expose their APIs to developers using our network as code platform. This is a key point and we already have 11 operator agreements for our platform.”

e& UAE’s publishes AI white paper

e& UEA has published a multifaceted blueprint for the strategic application of AI in the telco sector and beyond. The paper offers a behind-the-scenes look at e& UAE’s AI and data-driven vision and a blueprint for itself and others navigating the future of telecoms with AI.

The paper explores e& UAE’s strategic integration of more than 400 AI use cases and 160 machine learning models across its operations. The company said in a statement that the paper provides “a meticulous overview of how AI is ushering in a new era in which telecom players like e& UAE transcend their traditional role as connectivity providers to become architects of complete digital experiences”.