Embracing the intelligent era with the intent-driven network

22 May 2018 | Sponsored content

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There will be 100 billion connections worldwide by 2025. Kevin Hu, president of Huawei’s network product line, explains how the intent-driven network can be driven by customers’ business intents and service policies

Kevin Hu 350x350In an intelligent world, all things will be connected. Connections have infinite potential value and ultimately deliver a vast new range of user experiences. 

ICT is the foundation of the fully connected society, and it has to deliver the most universal and reliable connectivity to ensure a premium user experience. This will enable new technologies to spring up, endowing our networks with more vitality. 

Cutting-edge technologies, such as cloud, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are already making an impact beyond just the internet. They are transforming new IT and will go on to revolutionise communications, driving fundamental changes in the communications industry.

Huawei’s Global Industry Vision (GIV) predicts that there will be 100 billion connections worldwide by 2025. The internet will be available to 77% of the world’s population; broadband connections will be available to 75% of homes; and 80% of people will have mobile phones. This enhanced connectivity will be the foundation for the intelligent world.

Towards intelligent networks

The popularity of broadband in the next decade will increase the global GDP by about 4.5%, and it will greatly weaken the constraints of distance on economic activities. 

Today, fibre, copper, cable and microwave technologies mean that networks can grow even faster. We already have the core of a global network, and it is gradually being extended to every corner of the earth. 

The expansion of broadband coverage has been a major factor driving the incredible development of the ICT industry over the past 20 years. As one of the world’s leading ICT companies, Huawei has long been committed to the mission of building links between people and between things. 

Today, half of the world’s population uses Huawei equipment in some form, and benefits from the broadband services that our networks make possible.

During the rapid growth of broadband networks, cloud-based technologies led by SDN began seeing application, first in enterprise networks and then in telecom networks, to promote centralised control and management of networks. This accelerated carriers’ digital transformation. 

The core principle of network cloudification is to promote automation and vertically extend the value of network connectivity to support flexible expansion of new services such as 5G. 

Huawei launched its all-cloud network strategy as early as April 2016, and proposed the transformation of carriers’ ROADS experience by cloudifying devices, networks, services, and operations. 

By the end of 2017, Huawei had deployed more than 380 SDN networks for carriers and enterprises worldwide, covering data centres, campuses, and WANs. This helps customers solve some challenges they encounter in digital transformation processes. 

The continuous pursuit of end users for better service experiences, especially for intelligent services, is a pursuit fit for autonomous networks, which is the ultimate goal of network development. However, there is still a huge gap between SDN and autonomous networks. As a remedy, we introduced the concept of the intelligent network.

Intent-driven networks focused on users

Carriers now understand how crucial network intelligence is for service operations. 

In the home broadband service field, carriers have limited awareness of the entire network, and network faults cannot be handled in a timely manner. As a result, the quality of the broadband user’s experience cannot be guaranteed over long periods of time. 

Demanding service quality requirements in the enterprise and government fields pose great challenges to carriers’ networks, which find it difficult to provide services due to the scattered nature of resources. 

In the mobile service field, sudden traffic spikes pose a great challenge to the mobile transport network, which can be adjusted only after user complaints have been received.

All challenges in the core service operation of carriers boil down to equipment-centric network operation and maintenance (O&M). 

Executives from leading carriers around the world recognise that their networks are not designed to revolve around users or services. Carriers must build an intelligent network that can sense user requirements in real time and dynamically configure network resources based on service operations. 

At Mobile World Congress 2018, Huawei launched the intent-driven network solution. This enables the rollout of a digital twin world that connects physical infrastructure to business needs. The network is driven by customers’ business intents and service policies. 

With intelligence, simplicity, ultra-broadband capabilities, openness and security in mind, Huawei will help build a network that puts user experience front and centre.

Firstly, the intent-driven network has the capability of predictive analysis . Using big data and AI technologies, the network can predict network issues, proactively optimise network performance, and troubleshoot in advance. 

The network can also perceive the service experience of every single user in real time. With self-learning capabilities, it can continuously improve its intelligence and ability to perceive network issues and user experience issues. 

Secondly, the intent-driven network is a simple network in terms of architecture, protocols, sites and O&M – thus achieving full life-cycle automation and making the network more agile and efficient. This helps improve the utilisation of network resources and the flexibility of services. 

Thirdly, the intent-driven network introduces new ultra-broadband technologies to achieve massive number of connections, ultra-low latency, and ultra-high bandwidth.

Fourthly, the intent-driven network is always open and can be interconnected with various third-party platforms to build an open industry ecosystem.

Finally, the core of the intent-driven network is security. By identifying security threats in advance, the intent-driven network implements proactive defence to ensure network intelligence and automation. 

The intent-driven network will be integrated into various service scenarios and help carriers build solutions for future business scenarios. At Mobile World Congress 2018, Huawei launched a series of innovative solutions for agile private lines, 5G transport, premium broadband and enterprise campuses. These new options will help carriers reshape their business models.

Huawei believes that enterprises and carriers will go together into the intent-driven network era, and they will achieve the parallel development driven by the ICT industry.

Partnership and an open ecosystem

Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei works with partners to build an open, cooperative, and win-win industry ecosystem to move towards the vision of an intelligent world. 

In the field of network innovation, Huawei will work with upstream and downstream partners to promote the innovation of the intent-driven network industry.

Huawei has established R&D organisations in eight countries and established more than 10 network innovation centres with carriers including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, China Mobile, BT and Telefónica for incubation of joint innovations. 

At the same time, Huawei actively participates in the formulation of mainstream international standards. In the network field, Huawei has held nearly 40 high-end standard positions in standards organizations such as IETF, ITU, ETSI, BBF, OIF and IEEE. 

Huawei has taken the leading position in the industry standards of access and transport domains, entered the first camp of IP technology standards, and is the main contributor to SDN/NFV technology standards. 

In terms of SDN/NFV ecosystem construction, it is worth mentioning that Huawei has built more than 10 SDN/NFV open labs. By the end of 2017, Huawei amassed more than 40 partners in the SDN field and completed integration and test certification with more than 20 industry partners. 

In addition, Huawei is actively involved in building an alliance to establish an industry cooperation platform. The Edge Computing Consortium initiated by Huawei and its partners involves more than 150 members. Through open collaboration between operational technology and the ICT industry, Huawei has effectively promoted the sustainable development of the edge computing industry. 

In the future, Huawei will work with global partners to leverage strategic development opportunities that will be brought forth by the internet of everything. By building intelligent, simplified, ultra-broadband, open, and secure intent-driven networks, Huawei will enable global carriers in building user-centric intelligent networks to succeed in the intelligent era together.