Assuring 5G and cloud edge applications

17 December 2021 | Research

Michelle Lam | Justin van der Lande

Perspective | PDF (15 pages) | Automated Assurance

"CSPs should make automated active testing a key part of their network automation strategies."


Next-generation 5G networks will have a huge impact on the telecoms industry because they provide communications service providers (CSPs) with new opportunities for digital transformation. 5G connectivity promises to support diverse industry use cases that have varying demands, such as service dynamicity, quality of service and latency requirements. In addition, enterprises across different industry verticals will demand specific service-level agreements (SLAs) based on differentiated services. These demands will introduce significant network and operational complexity, and present new challenges for CSPs to guarantee high-quality network performance.

The launch of 5G is a revolutionary point for CSPs to migrate from legacy networks to a disaggregated, virtualised, cloud-native infrastructure to support the delivery of new digital services. CSPs are deploying a service-based architecture for 5G networks that is enabled by network function virtualisation (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN), edge clouds and network slicing technologies. The delivery of 5G services using edge clouds will bring high-performance computing closer to the point of service in order to support low-latency and IoT applications for enterprise and consumer use cases.

To ensure high quality of service (QoS), CSPs must achieve real-time, end-to-end visibility across multiple network domains (core, transport, RAN) and across different cloud infrastructure (public, private, edge). As virtualised network functions (VNFs) are being migrated to public clouds, CSPs that rely on network and monitoring systems alone will lose insights into customer data and face challenges in identifying faults in application service performance.

This perspective describes the key role that active assurance plays in enabling end-to-end monitoring of application performance throughout the service network lifecycle. Always-on active testing solutions involve synthetically injecting test traffic into the network and use virtualised or containerised test agents, which allow CSPs to validate SLAs before and after service activation to guarantee a superior quality of service. CSPs that deploy network automation with active assurance stand to benefit from real-time visibility of performance, automated testing and validation of VNFs in the edge cloud environments, and immediate identification and resolution of network issues before customer experience is affected.

Assuring 5G and cloud edge applications

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Michelle Lam


Justin van der Lande

Research Director