Nokia Solutions and Networks launched its NetAct 8 platform that the infrastructure provider said will virtualize its operating support system in a move to simplify its use. In addition to OSS integration, NetAct 8 will also include customer experience management, service fulfillment and service quality management products.
NSN noted that the platform is a “virtualized, single OSS for managing radio, core and transport networks,” providing “off-the-shelf management of network function virtualization.” The platform is designed to provide real-time performance information and with its virtulization is not dependent on any single hardware platform.
“Operators need a simpler way to run ever-more sophisticated networks as technologies like LTE and small cells are added,” explained Peter Patomella, VP of OSS for NSN. “In this latest version … we’ve brought OSS into the cloud age, using automation and virtualization to cut running costs, add greater flexibility and ensure superior network quality.”
Jane Rygaard, head of customer experience management, core and OSS marketing at NSN, said that the key features of the NetAct8 release are both the virtualization and the ability to offer an end-to-end view of services across various network technologies, including 2G, 3G and LTE.
“It doesn’t help to have to pull out whether a customer is sitting on 2G, 3G or LTE — I want to know how the service is working across technologies in a specific area,” Rygaard said.
She added that another aspect of the product is that it immediately provides security for newly configured base stations, rather than have the site provisioned and then adding security later and leaving the site vulnerable for some length of time.
Some of the present challenges for OSS, Rygaard said, include very little downtime for work on operational systems; layers of complexity within the network as new technologies are added; and lean operational teams in telecom after years of cost-cutting, meaning that automation, integration and simplification are key.
“If we can’t automate, we can’t free up the resources,” she said. “But if you have to do too much integration … you spend your time and money on the integration and not on the benefit of the automation.”
She said that NetAct8 is both a virtualized offering, as well as one that supports further future use of network function virtualization.
“It’s not enough just to virtualize, and talk about what we can do on the network,” Rygaard said. “If you can’t control it, it will never be operational.”