AI is everywhere. It’s trending in your social feeds, it’s on the lips of your coworkers worried about their future employability, and it’s at the center of discussions about ethics and the creation of sentient intelligence. While there are certain aspects of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that call for care and caution, there are also countless real-world positive applications.
In relation to the telecom industry, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are powerful tools that can help alleviate backlogs and bottlenecks caused by shortages of skilled personnel in Network Operation Centers. AI and ML can provide expert guidance to new engineers working onsite installing the millions of new links required to meet the densification needs of 5G. But perhaps the most impactful use of AI will be in the realm of automating network monitoring and management. AI adds predictive and preventative capabilities enabling enormous cost-saving opportunities while increasing efficiency and sustainability in ways we are just beginning to comprehend.
Jeremy Ladner: Managing mobile networks has never been simple, but the massive densification required by 5G increases the complexity exponentially. So many more links, so many more devices, so many more potential points of network failure. Fortunately, there's been major advancements in intelligent network management. Advancements that not only simplify monitoring and management, but provide expedited planning, analytics, and automation tools that can save network operators substantial amounts of time and money. We're going to learn all about it in this episode. Let's get started.
My guest on today's show is Noam Mori, Product Line Manager for Software Applications at Ceragon. Noam, thanks for joining us.
Noam Mori: Jeremy Thanks for having me.
Jeremy Ladner: So, we all know that necessity is the mother of invention. Maybe you can talk a little bit about some of the network challenges that necessitated these new management technologies that we're going to discuss today.
Noam Mori: It really all starts with the shortage of skilled engineers. Don't get me wrong, the engineers that are around are incredibly talented with lots of valuable experience. There is just not enough of them. So as new engineers join teams, we want to equip them with the best tools that will help them to reduce any human error while they're gaining their experience.
Jeremy Ladner: right. From what I understand, in terms of the amount of densification required, they are going to get a lot of experience and they're going to get it very quickly. I know the number of cell sites is going to be several multiples of what it is right now. Can you tell us where we stand currently with the number of global cell sites and where we are targeted to end up in the next few years?
Noam Mori: We are at a bit less than 1 million cell sites and we are going to increase to more than 6 million cell sites in the year 2027.
Jeremy Ladner: That's incredible.
Noam Mori: If we are thinking about all the new links that are being added, it introduces an enormous amount of additional data, and that data can be seen as a problem. Most of our customers see it as a problem and overhead. Or it can represent enormous potential.
From my perspective, the challenge is that traditional NMS (Network Management Systems) are limited to monitoring and have no predictive capabilities.
Jeremy Ladner: All right. So those are the existing challenges. We’ve got millions of new cell sites that need to be added. That’s going to create mountains of data for Network Operation Centers (NOCs) to manage. We've got a shortage of skilled personnel and the challenge of onboarding new personnel as efficiently as possible. What about disaggregation? How did the team address Open Network Architecture?
Noam Mori: One of the main areas of focus for Ceragon Insight is Open Multi-Vendor Networks - which are much more common today. Being able to provide seamless communication and control is a must. We talked about the capacity, right Jeremy? so the demand for the capacity continues to grow. We want to provide our customers with all the best tools they will need to meet those demands.
Jeremy Ladner: So, we've covered the legacy challenges. We talked a bit about Open Multi-Vendor Network Management, and I see all of those things as the must-have features and functionality for any new Network Management Software. But I know you and the rest of the team would not be satisfied stopping there, and I'm kind of guessing that's just where the fun begins. How did you and the Ceragon team take things to the next level?
Noam Mori: Jeremy, you're so right. That is where the fun begins. We are going to be vendor agnostic by complying with industry standards. We already have a very good planning and provisioning tool which simplifies the onsite installation. We are talking about configuration and even maintenance for our customers. We now have a powerful analytic tool. Now, this is fun. The Advanced Analytic Tool predicts and provides proactive analysis of potential issues before they even occur. This makes it easy for the customer to identify and quickly address network PMs, alarms, and even trends in the network.
Jeremy Ladner: Okay, so that concept sounds remarkably powerful. Can you give us some real-world concrete ideas of how that would work?
Noam Mori: Yeah, sure. Just imagine that you have a tool that on one side can monitor and analyze your network and on the other side can generate a proactive action. But it's much more. The customer now has the power to self-define and automate use cases that will allow him to monitor every status, define any threshold, to create any policy according to his needs.
Jeremy Ladner: It seems as if there is enormous potential for increases in operational efficiency. Certainly, cost savings and even automating network resources. I'm curious to know, have you heard feedback from the early customers? What are they saying about the automation tools? How are they using it? What are they finding?
Noam Mori: Yeah, sure. So one of the best examples for our use case approach is, for example, the ability to monitor radio throughput and then proactively mute or disable unneeded radio carriers. This creates a massive potential for cost savings and increased energy efficiency. We know that the price of energy is very high today. Our goal is to provide cost savings in every aspect of the Network Management Solution.
Jeremy Ladner: Yeah, I think that is a great example. The cost of energy is certainly top of mind for every operator and CSP. Any opportunity to cut energy costs and OPEX would be a welcome relief.
And obviously, the predictive and preventative maintenance capabilities that AI enables open near-limitless possibilities for automating network management and maintenance.
Noam, I am sure you guys are very proud of what you created, and rightfully so. It sounds like Ceragon Insight will revolutionize how network operators plan, monitor, and manage their networks.
For people who want to know more, what's the best way to get in touch with you? People can contact me on LinkedIn at Noam-Mori or visit us on the website - www.Ceragon.com. We have a new section for our Ceragon Insight Solution. Or reach out to your local Ceragon representative.
Thanks again for joining us Noam, and thanks to everyone watching. Until next time, I'm Jeremy Ladner.