Reliance Jio (Jio) has launched one of the world’s largest 4G LTE network startups, aimed at changing the lives of 1.3 billion Indians and propelling India into a global leadership role in the digital economy.
This revolutionary launch, in partnership with Cisco, aimed to build a first-of-its kind, 5G-ready network, transforming the digital services space and creating an ecosystem of network, devices, applications, and content at affordable cost. The launch revolutionized the Indian mobile communications landscape by offering voice calls to Jio customers absolutely free, across India, to any network at any time for life. This launch propelled India to number one in mobile broadband consumption by automating the world’s first all-IP network.
First and largest exchange-to-exchange all-IP network in the world, from cell site to data center, delivering the most affordable services to the Indian population.
With this launch, Jio also announced a completely new process of mobile SIM activation for Jio customers. Whereas SIM activation previously took three to five days, Jio announced that SIM activation will occur within 15 minutes after you get a Jio welcome offer SIM. This SIM activation process is known as Jio eKYC SIM activation and is done using an Aadhaar card.
Aadhaar card digital data document verification (like fingerprint and iris verification) is done at Jio stores. This is another Jio first of reducing the time for a customer to be onboarded onto the network at Jio speed, the largest SIM activation movement globally.
This launch was the first time globally that a network of this size, scale, and capacity was being rolled out. Deploying network elements, integrating the network, activating services, onboarding subscribers, and managing network operations and service uptime could only be achieved with mass-scale automation. The complete lifecycle management of all the building blocks of an IP/MPLS backhaul network had to be automated to minimize human efforts and errors. (See Figure 1.) The Jio automate initiative was crucial to transparent buildout, integration of various network elements, onboarding of subscribers, and operating the network to provide uninterrupted network coverage and service to all subscribers. Built on the following primary tenets, the whole network was built extremely rapidly, resulting in a faster time to market.
Figure 1. Key building blocks of mass scale automation framework
To accelerate rollout of the network, Cisco developed a modular, microservices-based platform for network buildout, integration, and operations digitizing tasks, including but not limited to:
This platform has enabled Jio to digitize configuration of devices based on golden templates, automatically onboard and integrate cell-site routers after installation, minimize human intervention, and eliminate errors during integration along with automated acceptance testing and remediation of devices failing tests.
In managing the network lifecycle, reporting and resolving of faults, planning for growth, controlling changes in the network, and providing rapid service activation on day 2 are equally important as the day 0 build and day 1 rollout. For a network of Jio scale, an equally agile and scalable framework was required for network operations. Keeping in mind the fundamental principles of openness and programmability, this framework needed to have open and standards-based APIs for:
Jio used a complete stack of the following platforms with a purpose-built automation platform as the front end to provide aggregated pan-India views:
Cisco and Jio teams used the APIs to integrate these platforms with various elements of Jio OSS/BSS and data lakes for big data analysis. The complete tool set has enabled Jio to accelerate fault reporting and remediation and minimize disruption to network and services, optimize the network, and activate new services or modify existing ones in seconds or minutes with minimal human intervention and zero human errors.
Cisco and Jio have thus built a strong and sustainable foundation for an agile, future-proof, scalable, secure, and intuitive network (see Figure 2). This unique approach uses a common intelligence foundation with customizable learning that evolves over time. Following are the primary applications developed to automate the world’s largest IP/MPLS LTE backhaul network:
Figure 2. Lifecycle – mass-scale network automation
Jio has embraced mass-scale automation during the build phase of the network using a robust, scalable, microservices-based purpose-built platform by Cisco for network rollout. By further building a complete automation stack for full lifecycle management using various best-in-class tools and integrating the same with the build platform as well as OSS/BSS, Jio and Cisco have together achieved the desired outcomes. The framework also became a proof point of how mass-scale automation can help service providers stay competitive, while profitably adding new services and subscribers, thus leading the curve in a rapidly changing technology landscape.
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