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NTT achieve Japan’s first ETSI ZSM-based E2EO 5G network slicing

NTT DOCOMO, INC. announced that it collaborated with NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), NTT Network Service Systems Laboratories (NS Labs) and NTT Network Innovation Center (NIC) to successfully test end-to-end orchestration (E2EO) technology based on the Zero Touch Network and Service Management (ZSM) specification of ETSI, a European standardization organization. This first successful deployment of the technology by Japanese telecom operators is expected to clarify the degree of fulfillment of ZSM-specified management services and information models and thereby firm up technical requirements for commercial operation.

E2EO technology automates 5G network slicing to enable multiple networks to operate on common infrastructure. In the recent demonstration, which is being conducted from November 2021 to March 2022, a 5G mobile network built on a testbed incorporating NTT Com, NS Labs and NIC technologies has been automatically sliced with E2EO technology into multiple networks suitable for each application.

Once fully established, interface specifications for transport-network, core-network and data-network control domains will enable the automatic creation and deletion of 5G network slices. This will also enable service quality to be monitored so that processing capacity can be expanded whenever degraded quality is detected in any slice.

Technology deployed in demonstration

NTT Com
  • Qmonus®: Platform-as-a-service technology for cloud-native applications and enhanced delivery and operation
NS Labs
  • Multi-layer Transport Provisioning Engine: Design-optimization engine meeting the slice-quality needs of optical-to-packet transport networks, and software-defined networking-control technology
  • Automated CNF Provisioning Engine (ACPE): Optimization engine for designing server resources needed to implement 5G cloud-native network functions
NIC
  • One-stop construction agent technology (APIO): Builds multi-domain services in bulk through API integration
  • Slice gateway (SLG): Connections for end-to-end network slices, including inter-sliced closed networks, and network-quality control
  • High-accuracy Network Monitoring and Control (HANMOC): Accurately measures each network slice’s service quality (delay time, etc.)

Roles of participants

NTT DOCOMO
  • Overall management
  • Planning of scenarios and clarification of information flow based on ZSM specifications
  • Coordination with ETSI ZSM group
NTT Com
  • Provision of Qmonus SDK and other Qmonus orchestration platforms, for development environment
  • Implementation of ETSI ZSM-compatible functions
NS Labs and NIC
  • Implementation of domain controller-equivalent functions
  • Provision of test environment for operable 5G mobile network

Configuration of demonstration network

 Configuration of demonstration network

The ongoing demonstration, which has been recognized by the ETSI ZSM group for compliance with its PoC requirements, will further the development of required specifications. In turn, this will encourage vendors and operators to develop equipment and services based on the ZSM specification and thereby accelerate the realization of end-to-end orchestration for 5G network slicing. In addition, automatic network slicing demonstrated in the test will further the cognitive foundations of the NTT group’s IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network) concept for automating the control of ICT resources.

Going forward, the four participants plan to continue studying new technologies for advanced 5G networks.

DOCOMO, a core member of ZSM since 2018, has been pursuing the standardization of E2EO specifications. The company aims to apply E2EO technology for centralized network control, from radio access to core network facilities, including 5G network slicing across entire mobile networks, which would realize high-quality, low-cost networks that flexibly meet the needs of diverse customers .

ETSI, established in 1988 as a European standardization organization for telecommunications technology, has more than 900 member companies and research institutes from 65 countries. In ZSM, one of its working groups, participating companies are discussing the standardization of automation technology for network operation.

CT Bureau

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