The European Telecommunications Standards Institute, ETSI, has set up an industry specification group to investigate how artificial intelligence (AI) could help tackle the growing complexity of networks.
“With the advent of network functions virtualisation and software-defined networking, we can see the eventuality that network management is going to get very much more complicated,” says Ray Forbes, convenor of the ETSI Industry Specification Group, Experimental Network Intelligence (ISG-ENI).
In current networks, a large switch may serve hundreds of thousands of users but with NFV, virtual network functions will be at many locations. How to managed and control this distributed deployment is one issue the ETSI group will tackle with the help of AI, says Forbes.
The group has started by inviting interested parties to bring and discuss use cases from which a set of requirements will be created. In parallel, the group is looking at AI techniques.
The aim is to use computing to derive data from across the network. The data will be analysed and having “context awareness”, the machine intelligence will compute various scenarios before presenting the most promising ones for consideration by the network management team. “The process is collecting data, analysing it, testing out various scenarios and then advising people on what would happen in the better scenarios,” says Forbes.
ETSI’s goal is to make it easier for operators to deploy services quickly, reroute around networking faults, and make better use of networking resources.
The ISG-ENI’s initial document work will be followed by defining the architecture and specifying the parameters needed to measure the network and the ‘intelligence’ of the scenarios.
“ETSI has a two-year project with the possibility of an extension,” says Forbes, with AI being deployed in networks as early as 2019.