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    Virtualisation, automation and network slicing increasing operators’ focus on network testing to meet new user demands globally

    Viavi Solutions Inc. has revealed that virtualisation (78%), automation (70%) and network slicing (70%) are the top technology trends increasing the need for test, monitoring and assurance, according to communications service providers (CSPs).

    These findings are explained in The 2021 Network Test Survey,” a new industry report commissioned by VIAVI that explores insights into how the pandemic and other trends are shaping test and assurance priorities in 2021 and beyond.

    The past year has been a proving ground for both wired and wireless networks worldwide, with hundreds of millions of people working remotely and educating their children from home. Despite substantial increases in network traffic, today’s networks in large part met the global challenges created by the pandemic.

    In the survey, 85% of respondents stated that in-person network technician visits had been reduced or eliminated as a result of the pandemic, although 78% said that the change was temporary. More than 55% of service providers report a transition from instrument-based testing to remote, virtualized testing, with 7% saying the change is permanent. In order to maintain quality of experience during the pandemic, at least 30% of service providers increased reliance on contractors for network quality assurance.

    More than two-thirds (70%) of CSPs identify access network performance as the primary factor that most impacts subscriber experience, with transport network performance (41%) and core network performance (37%) also of concern. An overwhelming majority (93%) believe that testing improves customer satisfaction and reduces churn.

    The study also finds thatd,espite challenges presented by COVID-19, only 22% of CSPs temporarily reduced the number of test cases performed, demonstrating the value placed on test and assurance.

    Nearly 80% of service providers agree that testing on the front end reduces the amount of operational expenditures needed to correct issues later.

    When asked about sources of test, measurement and assurance solutions, 89% of respondents agreed that vendors specializing in this area were essential to performance of the network.

    Furthermore, 78% strongly agree that network monitoring and assurance using artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are necessary to optimise networks.

    “Prior to the pandemic, service providers had begun turning to technologies like automation, AI and virtualization to control costs while improving the customer experience. The current situation has only accelerated the adoption of these advanced technologies,” says Kevin Oliver, Vice President and General Manager, Converged Instruments and Virtual Test, VIAVI. “To ensure performance of more complex, next-generation networks, service providers need advanced test and assurance solutions and automated workflows, particularly when they are increasingly relying on contractors for crucial field testing.”

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