Supporting a Gigabit Society with
Unified Resource Management

By: Ulrich Schalling

Emerging trends and technologies are disrupting the telecommunications industry and impacting all areas of business. Communication service providers (CSPs) must keep pace with mobile 5G rollouts, IoT devices, and sensors needed for new business applications, smart cities, and Industry 4.0 use cases—all while continuously delivering uninterrupted, high-quality services fast enough to meet the requirements of today’s gigabit society.

How can service providers successfully adapt to changing market dynamics, support these disruptive technologies, and stay ahead of the competition? A critical cornerstone for success lies in how they manage their infrastructure.

To keep pace with this data volume surge, CSPs need to roll out more fiber for B2B and B2C market segments as well as additional fiber connections to mobile sites. This needs to be done in combination with the introduction of new technologies, virtualizations and cloud applications requested by today’s gigabit society. Consequently, CSPs need to operate a hybrid network infrastructure based on a mix of physical, logical, and virtual resources, and passive inside and outside plant infrastructure provided by many different suppliers.  

While hybrid infrastructures offer service providers more possibilities and greater agility than traditional infrastructures, they also increase complexity. This is due to different telco technologies that are now merged with IT and data center techniques, in combination with resources provided through partner ecosystems, for instance based on cloud models. All these different resources and dependencies between the individual infrastructure elements need to be managed properly throughout the entire lifecycle.  

The three most common challenges that arise when managing hybrid infrastructures are outdated inventory management systems, poor data quality, and a lack of visibility throughout the network.

Outdated inventory tools

Many of the infrastructure documentation and resource inventory systems in use today are based on legacy database implementations, spreadsheets, and operations dashboards that can only answer questions about the individual infrastructure domains for which they were originally designed. These tools simply do not have the capabilities to deliver a transparent and holistic view of the entire infrastructure, which is precisely what is required to manage a modern hybrid digital infrastructure. Legacy inventory and resource management tools typically fail because they are not able to provide the required level of flexibility and configurability to support the introduction of new technologies such as 5G or IoT, or the use of new virtualized or cloud-based resources and IT techniques. A new resource management solution for hybrid infrastructure management is needed to support today’s requirements.

Poor data quality

CSPs typically use a range of vendor and technology specific management systems to operate their multi-vendor, multi-technology network infrastructure. When several database tools and spreadsheets are used for inventory management, there is usually no data reconciliation between the network and the different management systems. Although inventory synchronization has been under discussion for decades, most inventory systems today are still not synchronized with the network, or are only partially so, which leads to inconsistent information and poor data quality. This in turn creates delays, errors, costly reworking, and ultimately, profit loss.

Lack of visibility

It’s difficult to determine which services will be impacted by changes made within the network without full transparency across all passive cable and active network hierarchies and dependencies. CSPs usually still have separate inventories of active network and passive cable infrastructure for historical reasons, but for the required orchestration and automation of today's use cases, operational needs and design, planning, rollout or network transformation requirements, these siloed inventory approaches are no longer viable.

Without accurate as-is documentation, extensions cannot be planned properly, which can lead to errors and manual reworks. The same applies in case of failures or


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