With the recent hype around AI, predictive analytics, and digital transformative technologies, we can certainly understand why many companies in our industry are jumping on the “digital twin” bandwagon. We’ve seen several articles recently discussing the value of using digital twins to achieve ultimate networking nirvana, but we are inclined to point out – few companies have developed the technology to make that happen.
At Ceragon, we have been working behind the scenes for close to a decade developing our proprietary network digital twin technology. And our customers who have seen it in action will tell you – it is an absolute game changer. This is NOT simply a network management system (NMS) with a few bells and whistles tacked on; no, this is the real deal and we’ve proven it out with major operators around the world.
…and you thought we just did backhaul!
BUILT ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
The concept of the digital twin began in the ‘70s when NASA engineers created an earthly “twin” of damaged Apollo 13 space vehicles, and ultimately, engineered their way to bringing the crew home safely.
NASA first described the digital twin by name in 2010, and as “an integrated multi-physics, multi-scale, probabilistic simulation of a vehicle or system that uses the best available physical models, sensor updates, fleet history, etc., to mirror the life of its flying twin.” We’d say this description is still fairly accurate within our industry today.
From NASA’s early conceptualizations to full scale operations in the manufacturing sector already in motion, digital twins are proving to be the key technology that brings every operational “wild card” into focus: with scenario simulations, impact analyses, operational optimizations, and ultimately, financial benefits.
Now it’s our turn to get the ultimate grip on our communications networks with digital twin technology.
THE TIME IS NOW
So why should a network operator begin looking into digital twin technology today? What does it do, exactly, that a network management system (NMS) can’t do? Take our word for it – A LOT!
Operators today typically use a disparate set of tools and software to sort of…well…patch their networks together and [try to] keep them up-and-running. When something breaks, they see a failure point on the NMS, and must then hustle to react. This fragmented approach, unfortunately, often results in delays, costly service outages, and ultimately, customer churn.
As network operations continue to grow, this patchwork of tools used by siloed departments will not provide the comprehensive level of intelligence needed to manage and optimize the next-generation networks of the future. So, what if you could bring EVERYTHING together under one tool? With a network digital twin, you can.Benefits of a Network Digital Twin:
- Faster ROI – connect your network operations with the business. Understand where the business growth opportunities and requirements are. Enable better and smarter planning, while optimizing investments.
- Enhanced performance - improved value from optimized systems, reduced design/engineering time, and faster fixes to network problems (even before they become problems).
- Smarter operations with improved insights.
- A comprehensive view of all network assets and associated data, and how these assets work together.
- Proactive risk identification and mitigation.
- Better understanding of network behavior, and therefore, more informed decision making.
- Smarter predictive analytics with real-time data exchange from the physical network to the twin, and vice versa.
REIGNING IN COSTS WITH A NETWORK DIGITAL TWIN
The bottom line is this… Maintaining a healthy business comes down to maintaining a healthy bottom line. Proactive maintenance and sound decision making will help you stretch your budget further, and a digital twin of your network is the key to opening that door.
So what gives? Why is running a modern, optimized network so expensive these days? Two words…OPERATIONAL OVERHEAD.
“Historically, for every dollar a telco spends on equipment, it costs them five dollars to run the network.” Gone are the days of purchasing a “network in a box,” climbing a few towers, and crossing our fingers. Modern communications networks are complex and require much more active participation in their upkeep.
STREAMLINED BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE = BOOSTED ROI
How can a network digital twin optimize your business processes and help cut costs?
- Reduce Operational Overhead
Every aspect of life today has a digital component, each of which raises customer expectations and demand for faster, reliable connectivity. And as we modernize to meet this ever-growing demand, the sheer amount of data you must manage increases exponentially, as does the complexity of information. A network digital twin consolidates all data into one platform with a unified view for every department in your organization, rather than the siloed approach of the past. Planning, engineering, design, operations, and NOC personnel will all be looking at the same tool, and same data, saving huge amounts of time and costs.
- Enable “Smart” Planning & Decision Making
With a comprehensive, real-time, data-rich view of your network, the inherent guesswork involved in strategic planning and decision making becomes a thing of the past. Our network digital twin tool offers decision makers the ability to understand where opportunities for growth exist, where to invest in new equipment or markets, and how to optimize their network and run a smarter, more agile business. The tool also optimizes your network for best results and performance, ultimately cutting waste, increasing reliability and customer satisfaction, and decreasing churn and lost revenues.
- Proactive Network Maintenance and Eliminating Guesswork
With a network digital twin in place, your risk assessment capabilities will improve dramatically. With enhanced visualizations and real time data built in, you can predict and avoid problems before they arise…and avoid the costly guesswork of the past.
- Reduce Network Operations Inefficiencies
With a network digital twin, operators will have a better understanding of overall network and individual asset behaviors, and can therefore increase network efficiency, through:
- Reduced energy consumption
- Improved reliability of network assets
- Maximized investments with upgrades, when necessary
- Expose Hidden Risks, Over- and underutilization, and Network Self Optimization Opportunities
A network digital twin can help your team uncover and eliminate hidden risks and potential failure sites that may have gone completely undetected in the past. Besides spotting risk zones, you can gain a full picture of where link overutilization and underutilization are occurring. Overutilization causes slowed connectivity, negatively affecting the end user experience. Underutilized links can mean higher operation costs and wasted resources. A network digital twin works to layer all data together, ultimately enabling your team to better work together, plan, and maximize your assets.
Lastly, and what we feel most sets the network digital twin apart from common network management systems and modeling software you’re probably using today, is the NDT’s ability to self-optimize through the real-time exchange of data with its physical network counterpart. While an NMS operates exclusively based on initial inputs, a digital twin and its real-world network twin are constantly exchanging data in real time, effectively providing an accurate, interactive inventory of your network, and improving inefficiencies as it finds them.
Want to see our Network Digital Twin for yourself? Let’s meet at MWC Las Vegas!
Attend our Power Hour and hear from one of our customers, CellularOne!
When: September 27 at 11:00 AM
Location: W228, Level 2