Ericsson injects intelligent data analytics for 5G core

Ericsson on Wednesday launched a new network data analytics function for the 5G core, which it says can reduce costs and enable automation capabilities for better service quality.

The Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF) helps on the 5G automation front by ensuring AI and machine learning-based models get the right data at the right cost to support a range of simple to complex tasks.

NWDAF is a set of microservices that are part of Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G core and integrated in its multi-vendor big data analytics offering called Expert Analytics.

5G NWDAF aims to streamline how core network data is produced and collected, while generating insights that drive actions for service providers to deliver better experiences for end-users. It’s based on 3GPP Release 17.

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Data created in the network is used to identify and solve network problems at different levels for more data-driven operations. Ericsson called out enabling automated closed loops as an example. It involves data retrieval, analytics processing, generating insights and action enforcement, on various network and application levels.

“Everything 5G, especially 5G Core networks, must be automated. Automation will improve operational efficiency, reduce time to market for new services and is required to handle the magnitude of tailor-made services that will be introduced with 5G,” said Monica Zethzon, head of Solution Area Packet Core at Ericsson, in the press announcement.

According to the vendor, its NWDAF product can reduce service providers’ opex and capex costs by up to 45% compared to third-party NWDAF implementation. The data-driven network feature boasts easier integration and simplified orchestration.  

BT Group Chief Architect Neil McRae, in the announcement, gave kudos to the launch and the importance of automation for customer experience. BT, owner of mobile operator EE in the UK, is using Ericsson for its cloud-native core, which can support both 4G and standalone 5G.

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“With Ericsson we are working on cloud native solutions for 5G Core architecture to support multiple generations of technologies and we see the need for greater automation and analytics to manage complex networks and ensuring the best quality experience for our customers,” McRae stated. “I’m pleased to see that Ericsson is launching NWDAF building upon Ericsson’s built-in software probes and Expert Analytics (EEA), a natural next step development to enhance closed loop automation and service assurance that could benefit BT’s Customer Network Experience (CNE) platform.”

As Ericsson reported third quarter earnings this week, the vendor touted momentum for its 5G core and digital services business. To date it counts 45 standalone 5G core contracts, with eight live networks.