Huawei UBBF 2018 Focuses on the Intent-Driven Network

Huawei held its 5th annual Ultra Broadband Forum (UBBF) 2018 September 10-11, 2018 with the theme of the Intent-Driven Network:  Maximize Your Business Value.  The Intent-Driven Network (IDN) is based on its ability to monitor, identify, and respond to changing network conditions in real time.

The event showcased a number of customers (operators) that were implementing solutions from Huawei as they migrate their networks towards IDN.  Speakers from Swisscom, Telefonica, TDC, Telia, HKT, Openreach, Orange and Vodafone were featured along with key Huawei executives who highlighted current activity in this area. In addition, the event featured a large demonstration exhibition along with a site visit to Swisscom’s ultra broadband deployments of G.fast.

The goals of IDN are to leverage technologies such as cloud, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide more intelligence in the network.  This will enable a premium user experience while also bringing more adaptiveness and automation into the network for more efficient network operation.

In today’s networks, operations & maintenance (O&M) remain antiquated – providing limited awareness of the entire network.  As such, resolution of network faults cannot be handled quickly, resulting in a unsatisfactory user experience.  This becomes a business problem, when an operator cannot meet the SLA requirements for enterprises and governments.  Additionally, as more and more users migrate towards mobile services and applications – this becomes an even greater challenge as the number of network connections will rapidly increase, leading to traffic distribution uncertainties while expanding the scale of the network .

By building more intelligence into the network – combined with AI which can analyze large sums of data quickly – operators can shift from a passive O&M environment (equipment-centric)  towards an active O&M environment that can sense user requirements in real time and dynamically configure network resources based on service operations.

Huawei provided some data on real-life examples that should excite operators:

  • 20 percent reduction in customer churn
  • 30 percent reduction in home visits
  • 50 percent reduction in trouble shooting time

In short,  IDN is driven by customers’ business intent and service policies, putting the  user experience front and center based on the following features: intelligence, simplicity, ultra-broadband capabilities, security, and openness.

From a personal perspective – it was a nice change to go beyond the standard discussion regarding implementation of SDN/NFV towards the next step – where users and services are the focal point.  While there was some discussion of ultra broadband technologies – the bulk of this was left to the operator presenters to discuss how they are leveraging these technologies for their own networks.

My only disappointment was the invite-only CTO Roundtable – which featured a more interactive discussion from leading operators.  This should have been part of the general conference agenda.

Overall, a worthwhile event and I thank Huawei for the invitation.