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The Digital Transformation Comes With A New Approach to Service Assurance

The Digital Transformation_Image 1NFV and SDN are past their hype cycle and way into gaining significant traction since their initial introductions into the market. Many of our customers who have deployed or plan to deploy our solutions based on these technologies understand that an important factor for realizing the full benefits of NFV and SDN is service assurance. Service assurance is crucial in the era of digital transformation and in effectively operationalizing NFV and SDN enabled networks, towards offering your customers an outstanding, end-to-end digital experience. However, in today’s virtualizing network, service assurance requires a whole new approach and one that greatly differs from what traditional systems can provide.

First, let’s take a look at some of the important characteristics of the changing cloud infrastructure on which services are offered and what this means for assurance systems.

  • Complexity and scale: Cloud infrastructures are extremely complex due to the large number of distributed network elements across multiple technologies and service domains. The multiple layers of the infrastructure stack which include the underlying physical elements, the virtual overlays, and service components creates critical inter relationships and dependencies. In order to rapidly isolate problems and proactively resolve them, first, the assurance system must holistically understand these links and dependencies and second, it must be scalable given the significant number of services it must support
  • On-demand services and elasticity: NFV and SDN help deliver services agility and enable more flexible service consumption models such as the “pay as you go” option which is increasingly adopted by customers whose service requirements change over time. In this model however, the time between service turn-up and turn-down is much shorter compared to that of traditional services. This means the assurance system must be aware of the dynamic changes to service topologies, in real-time, in order to proactively assure services. Additionally, in NFV based infrastructures, service placement can also dynamically change, such as in failure scenarios. In such instances, the assurance system must again, quickly recognize and adapt to the associated changes.
  • Multi-tenant environment: More and more businesses are turning to the cloud to experience new applications, collaborate on mission critical projects and utilize IT resources more efficiently. Here the service elements (compute, network, storage) that support these functions are virtualized on a per customer and per tenant basis. Therefore, it is essential for the assurance system to have an accurate and contextualized knowledge base on a per customer/tenant perspective in order to understand the potential impact a network issue may have. This is especially important for supporting those customers who rely on your services to run their most critical business functions

With traditional assurance systems, Read More »

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Sky Turns Its Vision of the Next-Generation TV Experience to Reality

Yves PadrinesBy Yves Padrines, Vice President, Global Service Provider EMEAR, Cisco

It’s official: Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company with 21 million customers across five territories, is set to launch Sky Q, a next generation TV home entertainment system that will reinvent the way customers watch TV. Sky Q combines live, recorded and on-demand TV, accessible on multiple screens anywhere around the home or on-the-go, in a seamless experience Sky calls Fluid ViewingTM.

It’s also official that Cisco is Sky’s choice to secure that offering, with our VideoGuard Everywhere (VGE) video service protection solution.

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This is not the first time that Sky has innovated with a combination of broadcast, broadband and advanced video technologies to provide premium TV experiences to its customers. Nor is Cisco a newcomer to this arena. We are a long-standing technology partner, working closely with Sky to define and implement video software solutions that help turn Sky’s vision to reality.

So what makes Sky Q different?

Consider the Read More »

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SON Isn’t Just Network KPI Improvements (Part 1)

Learn how Cisco SON helps MNO lower CAPEX and increase network efficiency

The Challenge:
In discussions with Mobile Network Operator (MNO) CTOs, the need for automation and simplification is a recurring theme.

Legacy manual optimization methods are not keeping up with the network complexity and growth. RF engineers only have time for a minimum or “maintenance” level of activities and are unable to perform detailed, wide-scale network optimization. Solutions intended to improve network performance go unused by field technicians due to their complexity and the time required for proper operation:

• For instance, we have found numerous examples where Remote Electric Tilt (RET) antennas have not had tilt changes since their initial deployment optimization. The process to tilt RET antennas is extremely time intensive and therefore only the most egregious sites are tilted. This results in less than optimal user experiences.

• Another example is the limited use of a RAN vendor’s dSON (distributed SON) functionality. We have seen several instances where field engineers have disabled dSON tools meant to improve neighbor-relation lists. They have found the tool can create more problems than it solves, such as “ping-ponging” of neighbor relations or creating distant neighbors. This also results in a poor experience for customers.

To remedy this, many RF engineers manually create and maintain their own neighbor relation lists. They spend over 30 minutes per day, every day, performing basic maintenance activities on neighbor lists.

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As a result of these complex operating environments, RF engineers maintain high network performance levels through the easiest, but less than optimum, practice of capacity expansions. The time and effort required to highly optimize the network becomes so challenging that engineers add macro sites, small cells, or carrier additions to address problem areas earlier than required. This results in accelerated CAPEX and inefficient use of network capacity.

The increasing network complexity driven by VoLTE, small cells, continued carrier adds, and site additions will only accelerate the trend described above. MNOs will either need to add more field engineers or come up with a solution that automates and simplifies their network operation, enabling their current workforce to manage a greater number of cells.

The Solution: Read More »

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Looking Back at 2015 – A Tipping Point for the Internet of Things

2015 will be remembered as the year of the Internet of things. The tipping point when IoT went from the back rooms of the technology world to become mainstream.

2015 a tipping pointThe consultancy McKinsey estimates that the Internet of Things – a world where up to 50 billion things (or devices) will be connected to the Internet – could create up to $11 trillion per year of new economic value to business and society. The term Internet of Things traces its origins to 1999, but it is only over the last year or so that the realization of its transformational potential has reached the business community and the general population. The number of research reports, conferences and media articles devoted to the topic has exploded. With the media making the connection between the smart home and the connected automobile IoT has begun to become part of the popular parlance.

In fact, a Google search for Internet of Things reveals 725 billion results.
Google Trends also reveals that Read More »

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Join Us at CES 2016

It’s that time again — time to join 101,000 like-minded gadget and innovation enthusiasts for the “main event” in consumer technologies: The Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.

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We’re coming in heavy this year, in terms of news and announcements, all under the banner of “transformation through innovation.” At our demos showcase at The Wynn Hotel , we will be displaying our “Infinite” suite of cloud-hosted and managed video solutions, designed for service and over-the-top video providers who want to get up an running super-fast — without building out an entire lineup of on-premise gear. We will reveal new features and capabilities of our Infinite Video solution enriched by the recently announced acquisition of 1 Mainstream, featuring a white label UI running on iPads, Android-based devices, Apple TVs and OTT boxes, plus roadmap items that I won’t detail here, but will gladly show you when you come by.

We will also introduce new solutions for Read More »

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