Service providers today face a myriad of complexities and challenges as they’re confronted with an increasing amount of hybrid workers that require remote, stable, and highly secure access to business applications. These partly remote workers are interacting with customers, suppliers, and partners in a highly dynamic and always-on work environment. This, together with the introduction of new technologies like 5G, require service providers to optimize fulfillment and assurance processes and remove as many repetitive, manual tasks as possible.

Service fulfillment activities of new connectivity often involve sending field engineers to the customer premise to perform a site survey and install Customer Premise Equipment (CPE). Depending on the type of CPE, field engineers with different skills might be required to go onsite, which will increase the number of costly truck rolls. Depending on the customer location, a typical truck roll can take a few hours for the onsite work, and then a decent amount of driving time. The same applies when the service is failing. An onsite intervention from a field engineer might be needed to trouble shoot and fix the failing CPE and bring the service back to normal operating conditions.

In the table below we take a closer look at a generalized “back of the envelop” calculations of assumed CO2 emissions per field intervention. Calculations are based on Cisco internal studies of interacting with service providers across the globe. Average CO2/km emissions vary by vehicle type and age, so the 120gr/km considered here is an optimistic scenario. They’re meant to be illustrative as each service provider will have different scenarios and numbers.

network automation

If you multiply these numbers with several hundreds of field interventions typically run per day you can quickly see that there are tons of CO2 emitted per month.

Now add to that the tens of thousands of 5G radio units service providers will have to the deploy to deliver 5G services, which will dramatically increase truck roll-triggered CO2 emissions. Therefore, it’s very important to automate the deployment of large amounts of network devices and aid in the sustainability efforts by saving energy, money, and time.

Cisco Crosswork Network Automation for a healthier planet

Improved sustainability can easily be accomplished through solutions like the Cisco Crosswork Network Automation portfolio. This close-loop, outcome-driven software suite delivers efficient mass-scale network operations across the services lifecycle. It’s designed to be scalable for operators of networks both large and small to accelerate mean-time-to-value by monetizing agile new services and minimizing mean-time-to-remediation to proactively prevent issues that most impact customers.

There are many benefits of Crosswork that help service providers achieve sustainability goals, such as:
• Reduces time to launch new services by 85 percent
• Greatly lowers truck rolls, manual operations, and field interventions to save on emissions
• Optimizes real-time network capabilities that allow operators to effectively maximize network utility through fewer hops and less hardware/racks/space
• Minimizes resources through cloud-based automation
• Drives higher utilization by using virtualized resources instead of higher quantity of premise compute to run these tasks at each customer

The Crosswork suite of products includes the Network Controller, a turnkey solution that offers the ability to provision, maintain, and optimize intent-based, multivendor network services using a common user interface and API. It also includes the Network Services Orchestrator for multivendor, multi-domain network orchestration with programmable controls and Evolved Programmable Network Manager for simplified, multilayer element management for converged packet and optical networks, among others.

Zero Touch Provisioning keeps trucks off the road and IT hands free

Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) is a key tenant of Crosswork’s functionality that bridges your devices and the network to automate and streamline configuration management. It offers a simple, hands-free device configuration process that ensures your operations staff can focus on more important tasks at hand.

With a ZTP-enabled deployment there’s no need to send skilled field engineers onsite to perform the installation of the network device(s). It’s the end customer that performs the plug-in and power-up of the device in place prepared during the site survey.

When a new device is powered up, ZTP provides the automated ability to download and apply the initial
software load and configuration to complete the provisioning of the device. This automated process delivers faster activation of new services or quicker restoration of failing services. It also minimizes the possibility of configuration errors which are often the root cause of service outages or degradations. Another added benefit is reduced instance of sending highly skilled personnel onsite. In summary, ZTP brings the following benefits:

• Significant reduction in CO2 emissions
• Faster service deployments
• Quicker onboarding of customers
• Reduction in configuration errors
• Faster service restorations
• OpEx avoidance
• Better allocation of field engineering skills

Low complexity CPE devices which are typically deployed in large numbers are the ideal opportunity for service providers to reduce their environmental impact through automation. ZTP can save millions of dollars on OpEx, avoid large submissions of CO2, deliver services faster with higher quality, and position service providers at the top of green companies. That’s a quadruple win!

Zero Touch Provisioning through Cisco Crosswork is one of the most critical automation solutions service providers can embark on. It’s relatively easy to implement in an existing operating environment and will deliver immediate and tangible benefits. Skilled resources can then be allocated to more pressing needs that require human intervention.

Learn more

We encourage you to get better acquainted with Cisco Crosswork Network Automation and Zero Touch Provisioning to see how these solutions drive substantial business benefits while supporting green sustainability efforts that are growing in importance around the world.


Tony Verspecht

Systems Engineering Lead

Mass Infrastructure Group (MIG)