The process behind automating 5G rollouts
5G technology is the fifth generation of wireless technology, increasing the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks globally. The 5G rollout will involve network densification, allowing businesses to enhance their coverage in dense regions high in customer traffic.
In 2020 we can expect to see the 5G rollout take place, however, there are still many challenges needing to be faced. To effectively deploy 5G, a rollout process must take place as current processes are outdated, inefficient and inaccurate for the advanced technology. This delay is likely to enhance the cost of deployment, damage initial customer expectations and experiences, as well as not be guaranteed to be completed within an opportune period. The rollout process requires a classic manual driven method involving tracking the process from planning to optimisation with a spreadsheet system, providing an opportunity for many delays to evolve.
5G Rollout Tracking and Accountability
The rollout process involves significant tracking and accountability to be efficiently managed throughout the whole process. With the process spanning from design to optimisation, it involves a great number of professionals to be responsible for particular points of the design and deployment. To list a few, some of these professionals include planners, designers, unique equipment vendors, tower and field crews, network operating technicians, site and drive test engineers, site acquisition and zoning specialists.
Organising all of these professionals and others to perform their role and take responsibility when required is a very time consuming and difficult process to manage. The operator needs to consider accountability, transparency and governance to identify who’s responsible for particular outcomes and whether their performance is adequate, to ensure the system moving forward is fine tuned.
Shifting this manual controlled system to an automated process will drive the 5G operating rollout. Currently the process is operating via a project manager, who is tracking everything from planning through to design, construction and optimisation. The project manager in charge is working across many spreadsheets and can often skim past errors or misrepresentation of data. There are a range of solutions for this system moving forward, with the ability of proper accountability and ownership at every step.
There are simpler ways to approve or deny every stage and swiftly move onto the next crew responsible. The solution is based on having more structured tasks which will provide timely notifications to ensure obligations are not forgotten, driving a fine tuned result. This allows the overseeing operator to track and see how the project is coming along.
5G Rollout Automation
There is potential for particular processes within the rollout cycle to be automated to enhance efficiency throughout it. Automation can be implemented from planning through to post construction testing, acceptance and fault fixing. Through the use of automation, construction crews have the potential to deploy and integrate sites at a more efficient rate. They are able to immediately run a test or check of the site and submit it to the process, rather than wait for a technician to approve steps throughout the site. What has been happening previously is that the site is constructed via a crew who then hands onto the field technicians, who then integrate, script and turn-up the site. Automation allows the tower crews to use their own tools to instruct and integrate the site a lot more efficiently.
By connecting to a digital platform, tower crews will be able to run the scripts and site checks and swiftly move onto the next step and panel responsible. A technician will no longer be required to approve alarms for sites through the use of the tower crews using remote clearing alarms. Prior to these remote clearing alarms, there was a lot of time wasted as tower crews had to troubleshoot when alarms that had not been cleared appeared.
Operators have the ability to streamline their deployment process significantly, with plenty of time still remaining to implement the necessary changes. Operators need to ensure they are maximising automation at every possible phase to be more efficient. It can often be a harder task than first anticipated as the operator is required to oversee the whole rollout process and make appropriate automation adjustments where necessary. Many issues and challenges such as site-turn up or post-deployment will appear and need to be resolved during the process.
Operators need to respond to the 5G rollout system immediately and improve their automation system considering it is currently in the introduction stage. To take the lead in the 5G development and deployment race, partner with VIAVI, who have been a driving force in leading the 5G rollout since 2013. VIAVI provides solutions needed to develop, test, enable, assure, and optimise 5G networks efficiently. As your partner, we can enable you to analyse and uphold performance among various network functions through our lab-based network test solutions.