Why a systems integrator is key to accelerating private network deployments – Amdocs
Please Sign In to read the complete article
in the 5G Magazine
With enterprises evolving their network needs and re-evaluating their connectivity requirements, private LTE/5G networks have emerged as the preferred option for supporting a wide range of use cases more effectively, while ensuring lower latency, greater security, and higher reliability. The prospects for organizations looking to deploy private wireless networks more easily and cost-effectively have improved significantly due to the convergence of several factors.
These include shared spectrum via CBRS in the US (with active progress elsewhere in the world to adopt similar models), the improvement in 5G standards and technology, and an expanded open ecosystem for RAN and core network components (e.g. TIP/OpenRAN, O-RAN, Open Source Core). At the same time, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has driven enterprises and institutions to develop innovative solutions using private networks to either drive efficiency or provide an alternative means for a connected user experience.
While the challenges and complexities of deploying and operating a private wireless network can become overwhelming, an evolving ecosystem of equipment suppliers, software providers, and systems integrators makes the task entirely feasible.
The essential role of systems integrators
But it is the role of the systems integrator (SI) specifically that ties it all together, helping enterprises across all stages of the lifecycle of deploying and operating private wireless networks. The process starts with working with the enterprise to fully analyze planned use-cases, specify network requirements and shortlist which technologies and solution characteristics are needed to meet the requirements.
The SI also helps identify the right radio access and core equipment/software providers (including network cloud options), and in many cases, also sources/procures them as part of the overall engagement by leveraging existing reseller agreements with technology providers.
While on the surface, such tasks may seem simple, the devil is in the details. A myriad of choices and decisions must be made to best match the requirements to the eventual network design. This includes the type of end-user device or customer premise equipment (CPE), indoor vs outdoor coverage, type of backhaul, and whether the core network functions need to be on-premises or centralized (and possibly on the cloud). Additionally, beyond just supporting data, the SI determines whether other communications applications such as push to talk (PTT) or VoLTE need to be supported and if critical SLAs exist that need to be monitored and actively assured. And finally, the SI answers questions of how the new network will integrate, interoperate and connect with legacy IT systems, or how WAN/ Wi-Fi will complement the new private network.
Once network design, technology selection, and equipment/software procurement are complete, the SI utilizes their expertise to install the network components, configure the network, test, validate and turn it up. This is done from end to end across the RAN, core and where relevant, the SAS. The SI also provides, as needed, software and integration support for workflow, orchestration, inventory, SIM management, automation, and QoS/ policy management.
After the end-to-end private network is turned up, the SI provides the critical support and infrastructure to monitor the systems from end to end. The different types of monitoring are based on the types of use cases and level of support needed, including level 1 through level 3 monitoring solutions, depending on the criticality of the use cases.
This is essential, as there must be continuous monitoring for certain types of use cases, as well as automated triaging where faster identification and turnaround time for resolution is needed – such as in the event of an alarm, fault or where availability of service is affected.
System Integrator – A reliable partner
Overall, the SI provides the expertise and services needed to lead the enterprise through this entire process – helping them to not only embrace the private network journey but also accelerate their digital transformation footprint and reduce their total cost of ownership. The SI also drives the process of upgrading existing configurations, as well as integrating newer technologies into the ecosystem to enhance end-user experiences.
Ultimately, the SI is the partner enterprises can rely upon to evaluate all available options, integrate complex systems and technology and provide a seamless end-user experience to the enterprise along their journey and align them with their needs.
For enterprises, engaging the right systems integrator is key to realizing a successful private wireless network. While do-it-yourself remains an option, the unique converged “wireless + network + IT + cloud” skillset required for the new era of wireless technology, means partnering with a proven and experienced SI is the best way to minimize risk and ensure success.
Amdocs is an experienced system integrator with advanced software capabilities, deep network expertise, and a robust ecosystem of vendors to address the unique communications and connected applications requirements of utilities, manufacturers, healthcare organizations, and other enterprise verticals across the entire spectrum.