The monitoring of the Telco network is experiencing a revolution that is due to the current pandemic crisis, too. The latest data released by the Agcom Observatory for the January-February 2020 timeframe, shows a strong increase in traffic which is presumably not going to decrease in the coming months.
"Even if the summer months have produced a decrease in consumption compared to the first months of the year - states the Agcom communication -, nevertheless the more intense domestic use of streaming video content, remote working and distance learning have produced, in the first nine months of the year, a strong growth in traffic, which increased daily by 44.4% in the fixed network and by 56.4% in the mobile network”. It is also the Communications Authority that estimates that in the first nine months of the year the traffic for broadband line in the fixed network reached 5.77 GB per day, with a growth of 40.2%, while in the network mobile data traffic per day is approximately 0.27 GB per day.
The requirements for network monitoring in Telcos
In this situation, for a provider that offers telecommunications services, being able to monitor the network in real-time is essential both to manage the current contingency and as a competitive lever in a highly competitive market. Monitoring platforms for Telcos must therefore possess some essential characteristics, starting with scalability to cope not only with access peaks that will now represent the norm but also with the technological evolution that will see, for example, the next entry of 5G as a transmission paradigm. The requirement of openness must also be added to the scalability of the monitoring platforms, given that the number and type of equipment from which to draw information are constantly changing. Suffice it to say that the detection of mobile network traffic recorded by Agcom refers only to "human" SIMs and excludes those M2M (Machine-to-machine) which, instead, play a central role especially in industrial 4.0 environments that use devices and IoT (Internet of Things) architectures.
The objectives of network monitoring for Telcos
In light of what has been said so far, network monitoring for Telco must perform a dual-task: one of a purely technical and infrastructural nature, the other one more related to performance from a business perspective. In the first case, monitoring is used by the Telco Operations team to know, through performance analysis tools, the functioning of the network and to prepare adequate capacity planning actions. In the second, it is the Telco customers themselves who advocate the need to have their systems under control on which the quality of the service offered to the final consumer depends. Keeping these two needs together is one of the changes in network monitoring models that Telcos cannot do without. In addition, since the amount of data and their heterogeneity require an organic approach much more than in the past, the monitoring solutions must be able to respond to this complexity uniquely.
The role of the system integrator for monitoring the Telco network
Today, advanced monitoring software on the market are adopted in various economic sectors, including the one in which the Telcos operate. Just to give an example, an open-source tool like Zabbix allows to monitor and collect the availability and resource usage metrics of servers, networks, database instances, hypervisors and storage. On the other hand, another one such as Splunk, is part of the SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) systems and allows to automatically aggregate large amounts of data, analyze it, identify patterns and offer summary insights in graphic format on special dashboards. Dynatrace and ServiceNow, in turn, provide real-time visibility on the technology stack, to get to the issue in a few seconds and to solve the outages in the Telco proactively, before they have negative repercussions on the service provided. Each of these products guarantees specific features, but it is from their integration that closed-loop automation is obtained, that is, an automatic optimization of the network thanks to the continuous cycle of feedback from monitoring, identification and remediation. This is why to monitor the network of a Telco it is advisable to use those system integrators who have the skills to operate in this area.