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Crosswork SON for 5G

Mobile service providers are under stress to support the exponential increase in traffic demand and the upcoming surge in the number of devices. Consumers are expecting more bandwidth for less, wherever they are, and operators simply can’t support this cost-effectively with the traditional deployment models and operational practices of the last 20 years.  

As illustrated in figures below (based on IHS Q217 report), operators are making huge capital investments in their radio access network - $6.6 for every $1 spent in the core, and are struggling to reduce their OPEX which is 4 times the CAPEX.

5G means much more to operators than a new radio equipment operating in new bands. It’s a paradigm shift in the way networks would be built and operated to support the required massive densification while reducing CAPEX and OPEX. This includes virtualizing the RAN, with VNF base-stations running in centralized or regional private clouds, connected to radio PNFs distributed outdoors and in enterprises.

Cisco Crosswork SON is a critical enabler for 5G deployments - it supports the automatic configuration, integration, and optimization of the 5G layer (NFV or Non-NFV) as part of the 4G and 3G networks. It enables the operators to commoditize the RAN by seamlessly integrating 5G from any vendor into their current vendor mix.  

To grow revenue and profit, operators must evolve their business model from selling bandwidth with bundled Voice and Text, to offering new types of services. Operators are faced with the challenge of supporting the exacting requirements of these services, including mission-critical ultra-low latency (URLLC, e.g. for connected transportation), massive low-throughput IoT (mMTC), and enhanced high-throughput mobile broadband (eMBB) for consumers.  This takes on an even greater importance as operators go after enterprise revenue opportuntities.


Cisco Crosswork SON 5G offering

Cisco Crosswork SON is the only product in the market supporting all RAN technologies (2G, 3G, 4G and upcoming 5G) and all RAN vendors. Crosswork SON product portfolio offers dozens of closed-loop automation and optimization applications already optimizing millions of cells worldwide.

Cisco Enhanced Crosswork SON introduces user-centric optimization, based on new data sources such as Customer Experience systems, geo-location, crowdsourcing and big data analytics. It enables operators to offer differentiated QoE to their subscribers. It also introduces machine learning capabilities, enabling Crosswork SON to become pro-active, predicting performance degradation and the most effective action to address it.

Crosswork SONFlex APIs open Cisco Crosswork SON platform to 3rd party and operator-driven innovation. It enables hassle-free SON development, obscuring the complexities of the underlying vendor equipment and management systems. It also provides the conflict management services, essential to enable multiple SON applications optimizing the network simultaneously.

Crosswork SONFlex Studio is a GUI-based environment enabling non-programmers to create light-weight automation applications using Crosswork SONFlex APIs. It reduces OPEX by boosting the effectiveness of the radio engineers who can automate their routine tasks. The resulting apps can be shared across markets and customized to the market-specific challenges and practices. 

Cisco’s 5G-ready Multi-Domain Service Optimization (MDSO) provides e2e visibility and automation framework for network slices and service optimization. MDSO optimizes user-level service KQIs across all service domains - application servers, packet core, backhaul and RAN. MDSO assures that network limited capacity is utilized in the best possible manner according to operator’s policies.

xRAN open APIs enable Crosswork SON to receive user-level visibility in real time and implement a control loop directly with the xRAN controller. This enables real-time optimization at the edge while being orchestrated by Cisco Crosswork centralized SON to assure optimal network performance.  Cisco Crosswork Cluster SON can be deployed on any local vRAN cloud, including ONAP at the edge.


Cisco Crosswork SON Architecture

Cisco Crosswork SON is a software-based cloud-native virtualized solution that can be deployed on virtual machines, on operator’s private cloud, or be hosted on an ONAP automation platform.

As illustrated in the figure above, Crosswork SON is disaggregated into micro-services implementing the different SON functions and services. The different micro-services exchange information via a shared pub/sub service bus and use a common store for data services.

The Crosswork SONFlex APIs allow flexible deployment of SON application containers, either on Crosswork SONFlex local cloud, or on any micro-services platform such as ONAP.

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