Optical network automation reduces network and service management costs, says new study

Feb. 1, 2024
A new joint study between Nokia and Analysys Mason was developed to quantify the real-world benefits of automation for service providers.

A joint study by Nokia and Analysys Mason found that service providers can achieve up to 81% in cost savings after deploying optical network automation for network and service lifecycle management. 

As a critical enabler for service providers to maximize optimization, efficiency, reliability and scale, as well as TCO savings and asset monetization for revenue generation, the advent of optical network automation comes amid surges in data traffic from sources such as AR/VR, AI/ML and IoT, as well as the growing trend of more programmable optical networks.

However, the study found that adoption needs to be faster due to new challenges with increasing operational costs.

To quantify optical network automation’s benefits across capital and operational and revenue generation opportunities, Nokia and Analysys Mason interviewed global operators who have deployed network operations and service automation processes with Nokia WaveSuite.

Nokia’s WaveSuite is an example of a platform that automates optical transport to lower costs, increase reliability, and go to market faster with new services for increased revenue.

 

“Optical network automation is providing tangible benefits in real-world deployments,” said Justin van der Lande, Research Director at Analysys Mason. “The technology is now moving past the early adopter phase, and network operators who don’t implement optical automation will be at a considerable disadvantage in cost, ability to generate additional revenue, and time to market for new services.”

Accelerating service delivery

Analysys Mason found several benefits of optical network automation spanned multiple areas of network and service activation and support.

Optical network automation offers several advantages for service fulfillment, including simplifying network operations using service provisioning and wavelength optical route selection. These tasks traditionally require complex manual configurations, extensive testing and provisioning procedures often spanned across multiple systems.

Nokia’s WaveSuite Service Enablement (WS-SE) enables service providers to abstract service definitions, service definitions, service virtualization, and automate network connectivity fulfillment, which results in shorter deployment timelines for new services and a faster time to market.

By leveraging automation, service providers can shorten service order fulfillment times, contributing to around 90% savings in operational costs. One provider cited in the study already said they are seeing these benefits.

“Service automation has allowed us to reduce the response times for a new quote from 10 days to 24 hours, contributing to a 5-times increase in the win-to-lose ratio,” said a senior software engineering manager for a Tier-1 operator in North America. “We have reduced the service provisioning time to minutes using WaveSuite.”

Realizing cost savings

One of the key highlights of the Analysys Mason study was how optical automation can reduce costs for service providers.

By simplifying complex network operations tasks through optical network automation, shorter time to provision, configure, deploy, and manage optical networks. Optical network automation reduced network lifecycle management operational costs by up to 56%.

The study revealed service providers can gain cost savings on two fronts from optical automation:

·       Opex: Operational cost savings of up to 81% for service delivery by reducing the labor to complete service order orchestration, service fulfillment, and service assurance processes.

·       Capex: Automation can reduce capex 26% by optimizing network resources and retiring legacy network equipment.

Additionally, the research firm found an up to 10% uplift in anticipated revenue from the improved win rates, with an accelerated time-to-market for services and the ability to offer differentiated services through optical network slicing and network-as-a-service business models.

“Operators are seeking automation solutions to minimize the total cost of ownership of optical networks and to maximize the efficiency, scalability and profitability of their optical network deployments,” wrote Analysys Mason in the study. “Simplifying the management and control of next-generation optical networks by automating manually intensive and repetitive tasks (such as provisioning, configuration, and troubleshooting) will help reduce operational expenditure because skilled technicians are needed to carry out this process to avoid costly errors, and to support new revenue growth.”

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