New infrastructure is China's national strategy that has flourished since 2020. As the leader of new infrastructure, 5G has embarked on a fast track of deployment. Operators need to deploy their transport networks ahead of their 5G service launches. So the deployment of 5G slicing packet network (SPN) has also become a major concern of operators.
China Mobile Zhejiang took the lead in 5G deployment in China. Since the beginning of deploying 5G SPN in 2019, it has cooperated with ZTE to carry out in-depth exploration and research on how to fast build a 5G SPN and efficiently provide 5G new radio (NR) services. They put forward an automatic deployment solution for 5G SPN and made technological innovations such as easy and fast service provisioning and rapid network construction. The solution was verified and applied in the existing network of China Mobile Zhejiang, helping the operator improve its efficiency of deploying 5G transport network, quickly deliver 5G NR services on a large scale, and speed up implementation of the new infrastructure strategy.
Unlike the traditional 4G network, the 5G transport network involves complex configuration of protocols such as BGP-LS, PCEP and IGP, as new technologies such as SR and FlexE are introduced. If the traditional mode is adopted, the network deployment would be a heavy work, time-consuming, involving many steps, and easy to make mistakes. The management and control plane would also evolve from the traditional management of a single city to the deep integration of the management plane and SDN control plane, and to the centralized cloud-based deployment across the entire province. This would pose a severe challenge for network construction, implementation of basic configurations, and service provisioning efficiency. The existing O&M methods and concepts are difficult to meet the actual needs of 5G deployment, so it is necessary to develop a precise SPN-based deployment system to shorten the deployment period and improve the accuracy.
To address the above difficulties, China Mobile Zhejiang has partnered with ZTE to complete automatic 5G SPN configuration and deployment. The automatic go-live function of network elements (NEs) makes the deployment possible without site entry and configuration, followed by automatic topology generation as well as automatic discovery of NEs, boards and links. The technologies like modular basic configuration, flexible customized template and one-click configuration are adopted to enable fast deployment of 5G SPN basic data, remarkably raising the efficiency.
The automatic 5G SPN deployment solution includes:
—Global resource planning:
The network planning tool can be used to plan available configuration resources for the area that NEs belong to, including N-side IP addresses, NE loopback IP addresses, interior gateway protocols (IGP) and autonomous system (AS) numbers. It offers visual basic configuration planning, so that basic network resources can be managed and controlled visually.
—Automatic NE go-live:
New NEs allow batch configuration delivery, NE creation, NE go-live, NE attribute (e.g. NE name, management IP, device layer, and area) configuration, port mode switching, and automatic topology connection between old and new NEs. The devices can automatically go live without deployment and identify neighbor parameters. A user does not need to enter the site to commission the devices one by one, which significantly cuts the device provisioning cost.
—Rapid deployment of basic data:
Basic device configuration is based on templates, and NEs need to be deployed after the go-live. The deployment tool (including for batch deployment) is used to adjust FlexE interface configuration between old and new NEs, and to adjust basic data configuration (such as new NE IGP) and relative tunnel paths. In rapid network creation, batch deployment policies can be set by configuring data templates, including N-side port policy template, L3 link rule template, BGP template and PCEP template. The above templates can be flexibly customized to build basic network data quickly, and the one-click configuration enables the network to meet the requirements for service provisioning.
The automatic deployment function has a visual and flow-based interface, and wizard operation, making it easy to understand and control. This functional module is integrated into the new-generation intelligent management and control system ZENIC ONE (UME). The user can directly operate on the corresponding NM interface without installing a separate tool. It is applicable to the typical SPN expansion scenario, including new SPN NE go-live and single NE expansion. It also supports batch NE operation and basic configuration, facilitating fast and efficient 5G NR service provisioning.
The above functions were deployed and verified in the existing SPN of China Mobile Zhejiang in Huzhou, and NEs went live quickly and smoothly. Relying on the graphical interface of the intelligent management and control system, the relevant functional modules can be used to visualize global network resources and flow-based wizard operations, change manual network deployment mode to automatic one, and select data templates to operate NEs in batches according to the scenario. With the automatic NE go-live technology, the equipment O&M personnel do not need to enter the site for debugging, thus increasing the deployment efficiency of a single NE by 70%. The efficiency of network deployment is greatly improved, and the cost of equipment debugging and network deployment is also significantly reduced.
ZTE has continued to innovate and invest in the new technologies of 5G intelligent transport management and control. China Mobile Zhejiang will cooperate with ZTE to further build high-quality, high-speed, high-reliability intelligent 5G transport networks.