ETSI Zero touch Group starts to work on 5G network automation


ETSI’s Zero touch network and Service Management Industry Specification Group (ZSM ISG) has elected its leadership team, held its first meeting and started work on future network and service management.

With over 40 organization that are a part of the ETSI’s Zero touch network and Service Management Industry Specification Group (ZSM ISG), founded in December last year, it does not come as a surprise that we will see some important names in the leadership team.

During its first meeting held at the ETSI on 10-12 January, the ETSI group elected its leadership, started discussing the first topics to work on and initiate collaboration with other standards bodies.

The team elected Klaus Martiny, senior program manager from Deutsche Telekom as the chair of the ZSM ISG, with Nurit Sprecher, senior specialist at Nokia Siemens Networks and Christian Toche, head of France wireless standards department at Huawei as vice chairs.

In addition to the top brass from Deutsche Telekom, Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei, the team also appointed Ashiq Khan of DOCOMO as chair of the Network Operators Council (NOC), which is an advisory group to the ZSM ISG and Serge Manning, senior technology strategist of global standards at Sprint, as a vice chair of the same group.

The first meeting was also an opportunity for the group to agree on five working topics, which include the development of use cases, network requirements, and reference architecture with an end-to-end view of a zero touch system. It also will focus on an analysis of automation techniques and the management of network slices.

The group agrees that networks need to evolve into programmable, software-driven, service-based and holistically-managed architectures, by using well-proven technology like Network function virtualization (NFV), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).

The group will also focus on new business models, like Network Slicing, which is a form of virtual network architecture which uses the same principles seen with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in fixed networks and allows a creation of multiple virtual networks on top of a shared infrastructure. Especially important with 5G networks, it allows for a single physical network to be “sliced” into multiple virtual networks with support for different radio access networks (RANs), with different service running on each of those virtual networks.

The goal of ETSI’s ZSM ISG group is, according to an official press release, to provide “an end-to-end solution to have all operational processes and tasks – delivery, deployment, configuration, assurance, and optimization – executed automatically, ideally with 100% automation”.

“While 5G and its building blocks are being developed, it’s time to offer an end-to-end view focusing on automated end-to-end network and service management”, says Klaus Martiny, ZSM chair. “We want to offer the market open and simple solutions. A continuous feedback from all stakeholders will lead to the first implementations of the specifications which will be tested through Proofs of Concepts, the outcome being fed back to improve existing specifications. A strong collaboration and cooperation with others standards bodies and Open Source projects is important for the ISG.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact will the ETSI’s Zero touch network and Service Management Industry Specification Group (ZSM ISG) on network evolution and the advancement of 5G networks.


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Slobodan Simic is foremost an IT enthusiast who discovered his knack for writing, which lead to becoming both an IT journalist and later an Editor for a number of publications. He has been covering anything from the consumer- and professional-oriented hardware to software markets and networks. With a focus on chasing down leads, making sure that fresh content is ready for publishing, as well as keeping up with the evergrowing and evolving IT world, writing has become more of his passion rather than just a job.